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"Edge of Victory 1: Conquest": Book 7 in The New Jedi Order

chapter discussion thread

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#1
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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Prologue:
 
Dorsk 82 rushes his charges aboard his ship.  A protocol droid urges him to join them quickly. Dorsk 82 wants to talk to the mob of Aqualish headed toward them first.  They are destroying all the droids in the city because they are frightened.
 
The Yuuzhan Vong hate machines.  No one knows why, but they are causing people in their path of invasion to lose their senses.  The droid wants to know why he’s helping them.  Even though they are droids, Dorsk 82 explains that they don’t deserve to be destroyed.
 
The head of the Aqualish mob tells the Jedi to move.  The owners of the droids don’t mind their destruction so no one else should intervene.  Dorsk 82 appeals to him:  the Yuuzhan Vong will not stop their invasion just because Ando destroys all of its droids.  
 
An officer arrives, verifies that Dorsk 82 is the only Jedi here, then has his ship destroyed.  The Yuuzhan Vong have offered to stop at the planet Duro if all Jedi are turned over to them.  
 
Dorsk 82 tells them that the Yuuzhan Vong will not keep their word.  They only want the frightened citizens of the galaxy to get rid of the threat the Jedi pose to them first.  The officer is willing to take the risk.  For a moment, the Jedi successfully stops the crowd with a mind trick, but one is more strong willed than the others and fires.  That jolts the rest of them out of the suggestion.  The air lights up with blasterfire.
 
Uldir picks up the automated distress signal from the Winning Hand, telling his copilot Dacholder that he had a hunch.   
 
Dacholder wonders why Uldir didn’t try for the military when the Vong came along.  With his skills, he would be a flying ace.  After all, didn’t he once attend the Jedi Academy?  Uldir laughs, tells his friend that he went there for a short time, caused a lot of trouble and turned out to not have any talent for the Force at all.  He supposes he just decided to emulate the Jedi and carry out rescue missions.
 
Uldir notices that Doc seems a bit nervous.  The copilot asks if he thinks they can win this war.  Uldir is sure they can.  It’s true they were a surprise, but the military and the Jedi will soon be on the same side and the two forces together will get rid of the invaders.
 
Doc isn’t sure they will win or that they should be fighting them at all.  He thinks they will be at Coruscant soon.  After all, the Vong say they have as many planets as they need and will stop at Duro.  Uldir cuts him off when the distressed ship starts to come alive.
 
Doc tells him to make this easier so he won’t have to use the blaster.  Uldir reminds him that he’s not a Jedi.  Apparently the copilot belongs to the Peace Brigade and Uldir’s name is on a list of Jedi.  It doesn’t matter if he’s not really one, the Vong will accept him.  Not even pointing out the treachery on Ithor sways Doc who believes that Corran Horn was responsible for that.
 
Doc begins a countdown which prompts Uldir to engage a feature he never told him about.  The chair holding Doc is punched through the ship and into vaccum.  Uldir hits the hyperdrive and winds up somewhere.  He knows he has to warn Master Skywalker.
 
Swilja Fenn had been left by the Peace Brigade on a moon somewhere and was picked up by the Vong.  She wishes she could use the Force on Tsavong Lah like stopping his heart or snapping his neck.  All she can do is throw herself at him and try to claw his eyes out.  He admits that she is more worthy a sacrifice than the cowards who gave her to them.  The Peace Brigade will eventually be wiped out, but he will not dishonor the gods with them.  
 
He wants to know where Jacen Solo is.  She will not help him.  Lah has her dragged off to be convinced of the truth.
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  • Uldir, Uldir, Uldir.  That kid who tried to befriend Anakin and Tahiri in the Junior Jedi Knights books.  Yeah, the one who stole Ben Kenobi’s lightsaber and tried to join up with that Sorceror of Tund rip-off.

  • I’m a bit confused as to what the Jedi can do when it comes to the Force and the Vong.  Can they not use the Force to throw other objects at them?  Or is anything Vong-created immune, too.  Because the yammosk certainly don’t seem to be.

 


#2
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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Part I: Praxeum
 
chapter 1:
 
Luke stands before a large group of Jedi.  Anakin can tell through the Force that hope is breaking in his uncle. It’s not something he ever thought he would feel and is probably the worst thing he’s ever felt.  He’ll never forget it. 
 
Right now, Luke and Kyp Durron are a planet’s poles apart.  Though Luke assures Kyp that he knows how the other man feels, Kyp argues that he certainly does not.  He wants to know if Master Skywalker is planning to do anything to help the Jedi who are being hunted.  In his mind, they’ve done their best to help the galaxy citizens only to have them turn against their protectors.  
 
Kyp feels that it’s time the Jedi defended themselves first.  He wishes they could emulate Luke as he was battling the Empire.  Luke reminds him that he skirted dangerously close to the dark side.  Kyp reminds him that he himself fell.  Luke knows that too.  But it’s a huge risk and coming back to the light is not a guarantee.  
 
Kyp doubts that Luke has enough knowledge to be able to determine where that line is.  If he is allowed to defend himself when attacked by another lightsaber and then press the attack, what is the difference then?  If Jedi shouldn’t take the fight to their enemies, why are they taught to battle with lightsabers?   He thinks the only defense is an attack.
 
Each time, Luke defends and steps back, allowing their enemies to multiply.  Opportunities lost again and again while Corran Horn is forced into exile and Jedi after Jedi from Daeshara’cor to Dorsk 82 are killed.  Who knows how many will be dead tomorrow.
 
Jaina steps up to argue that Kyp doesn’t know how hard Luke has been working quietly behind the scenes.  Kyp points out how well that worked out on Duro with five or six Jedi sitting around playing nursemaid and not a single one of them could sense the plot brewing there.  And,of course, Jacen who refused to use the Force at all.
 
But, at least, he considers Jacen honest about his beliefs, despite being so wrong headed about them.  When he had to use the Force, he did.  
 
Luke points out that it’s no victory if they use the dark side.
 
Kyp throws up his hands, believing this whole discussion is a waste of time.  He had hoped that, at last now, Luke would act and lead the Jedi in a just cause.  All he hears are the same excuses.  He knows people are frightened, but they keep reacting in the same way: throwing whatever the Vong want at them.  Now they’re turning over Jedi.  
 
Jacen argues that Kyp’s squadron hasn’t accomplished much besides harassed a few supply ships.  The other Jedi have saved tens of thousands.
 
Kyp counters that all those lives have been saved for is to run across the galaxy from planet to planet until there’s nowhere else to go.  As for the allies Cilghal claims they have in the Senate, Kyp thinks they’re only allies in the sense that they don’t have the spine to turn them over themselves.  Give them time and it will happen.  He’s not waiting.
 
Jaina rushes out after him, Anakin behind her.  
 
Kyp doesn’t think they can tell him anything else.  He believes Luke has gotten too old to be able to act.  Jedi Masters must become inert when as they age, contemplating light and dark so intently that they cannot make a decision. Maybe that’s why Obi-Wan Kenobi let himself be killed, so that Luke would have to take all the risks.  But now Luke is Kenobi.  And Jacen is headed that way, too.
 
Jaina reminds him that Jacen did save their mother.  Kyp isn’t sure that’s proof of anything.  He may have used the Force, but it was only to save his mother and he took a long time deciding to that, too.  Since his philosophy was too important to use it before to save nameless Duros and other aliens, it’s pretty clear that universal respect for life had nothing to do with changing his mind.
 
Anakin has to admit that he’s right.  He’s glad Jacen saved their mother, but he knows that Kyp has a point.  Kyp hopes that Master Skywalker makes a decision soon.  He cannot wait for it.
 
Alone, Jaina and Anakin debate the situation.  Jaina thinks Luke is already working on protecting Jedi. Their parents and the droids have been sent somewhere she thinks may be in preparation for helping Jedi escape.  Anakin thinks that this is just another example of the defending that Kyp was complaining about.  They need more than that.
 
They need to know which Jedi are at risk.  Clearly any planets that are held by the Vong.  But  planets that are near there will be the most desperate to make deals. 
 
Jaina doubts that will work.  The Vong will kill you if you don’t cooperate and kill you if you do, only they will laugh at how stupid you are for doing the latter.  Anakin thinks that it’s obvious, though, how desperate people will believe lies.
 
Jacen comes out to retrieve them.  The debate inside isn’t going well.  They explain their thoughts about identifying Jedi in danger.  Jacen isn’t sure they can.  The Peace Brigade is everywhere and they’re very well informed.  Jaina admits she doesn’t trust Kuat Senator Viqi Shesh.
 
Anakin suggests that the Vong might jump at the chance to get a lot of Jedi at once.  They would be crazy to attack Coruscant now only to face a large group of very powerful Jedi   But they might choose a more vulnerable target.
 
Jacen realizes the praxeum on Yavin IV is in danger.  Neither the Vong nor the Peace Brigade seem to care about going after children.  The Jedi had been using the Force to maintain an illusion around the area that there’s nothing there, but so many are gone off the moon that it may be visible now.  Only Kam, Tionne, maybe Streen and Ikrit are there.  The rest are kids.  They should talk to Luke at once.  
 
Anakin agrees.  He doesn’t mention his nightmare of the night before, waking up to a nameless dread in his chest, the image of his best friend, Tahiri.
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#3
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 2:
 
Mara joins Luke in his study where she jokes about her pregnancy woes before moving on to the problem with Kyp.  Luke reminds her that this whole thing really isn’t Kyp’s fault.  She had told him once how Luke was the one ultimately responsible. 
 
Mara admits she set Luke straight on some things, but that doesn’t mean that Kyp is right.
 
Kyp has given the Jedi an answer to their problem.  It’s just the wrong answer.  What Luke hasn’t done is give them another answer.  He’s only told them what they cannot do, not what they can.  
 
She sensed his weak moment today. Luke knows Anakin did, too, and it upset him.  Anakin has carried around so much of a burden.  He blames himself for the death of Chewbacca, believes his father blames him, too, feels responsible for the destruction of the Hapan fleet and losing Daeshara’cor.  He’s reckless and young enough to feel immortal.
 
At the same time, he’s losing faith in all he believed in.  Most children do, but most are not Force adepts.  Anakin once killed a giant snake by stopping its heart.  Using the Force is a tool to him, like his lungs. It’s natural.
 
Jacen sees the Force as more mystical. Both boys have problems, they are just different ones.  Neither of them thinks Luke’s right about this.   Luke believes at least one of them is, but he can’t be sure who.  He’s seen several futures.  Whoever ends this with the Yuuzhan Vong won’t be him.  It might be Anakin; it might be someone else.
 
Mara thinks he worries too much.  He admits he sometimes doesn’t worry enough. She takes his hand and holds it to her belly.  She tells Luke how she wonders if she will make a mistake.  If her sickness will come back.  She can protect the baby by protecting herself, but after the birth, it will be much different.
 
It’s the same with the Jedi.  Luke cannot keep them close to him forever.
 
The Solo kids arrive.  They explain their concern about Yavin IV.  Luke admits he’s known for a few days that the place might be vulnerable.  The New Republic is stalling on sending a ship to evacuate them.  He’s tried to get Booster Terrick to bring the Errant Venture to pick them up and keep the students for awhile, but can’t reach him.  Mara suggests Talon Karrde.
 
In the meatime, they’re going to have to wait.  Jacen argues that the academy’s existence is not a secret and Kam Solusar cannot do much against a warship. Luke will not hear of them going to help with bounties on their heads and having to explain to their parents.
 
The meeting will reconvene tomorrow.  He hopes they will come with ideas of other areas vulnerable to Jedi.  Anakin shrugs off saying anything else, but Luke can sense something there.
 
After they leave, Mara tells him she thinks they’re right.  Luke agrees they could be, but there will have to be a force going to Yavin IV.  He couldn’t tell them that or else they would go anyway.
 
Anakin checks his system, communes with his droid and sets course for the Yavin system.
 
He knows he has to go.  He knows Talon Karrde will not arrive in time.  He cannot tell Luke that and risk someone else being sent.  He knows that if he doesn’t go, he best friend will suffer a fate worse than death.
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  • Anakin stopped a giant snake’s heart in the Junior Jedi Knights book Lyric’s World.

  • Of course, Ikrit was a character in the Junior Jedi Knights books, too.

 


#4
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 3:
 
Anakin arrives in the Yavin system, knowing someone is here who shouldn’t be.  It might just be Karrde and his people, but he’d rather not bet on that.  He senses the fuzzy presences of Kam, Tionne and Ikrit.  
 
A nearby ship approaches sensor range.  Anakin hails them.  They claim to be Corusca gem miners, but he doesn’t believe them.  They open fire on him.  Having his droid perform evasive maneuvers, Anakin heads toward the planet, avoiding proton torpedoes.
 
The ship is soon joined by a flotilla of Peace Brigaiders.  
 
On the moon, Anakin finds Kam Solusar who has been trying to confuse the ship in orbit for several days.  Anakin tells them there are more ships and none of them are confused.  They will be down in about an hour and Talon Karrde won’t be here for days.  
 
Kam admits they cannot hold out that long.  If they try, they’ll lose students.  
 
Tahiri rushes in and throws her arms around Anakin, chastising him for staying away so long and for forgetting her 14th birthday the week before.  Anakin feels odd looking at Tahiri who looks older than she did before.  
 
She asks Kam why Anakin is here because he certainly didn’t come to see her.
 
When they reach Tionne, Kam asks Tahiri to fetch Master Ikrit for him.
 
Tionne finds it hard to believe that New Republic citizens would come for children.  There are no ships here as Streen went with Peckhum on a supply run.  They won’t be back now.  There will have to be a way to delay until Karrde’s people can arrive.
 
Tahiri suggests the children hide in Master Ikrit’s old cave underneath the Palace of the Woolamander. Anakin offers to stay behind and mount a defense from the temple so that the Peace Brigade will think they’re all here.  When everyone is safely hidden, he’ll slip out in his X-Wing.
 
Kam would rather he stay behind than Anakin, but Master Ikrit believes that it is Anakin’s destiny to do this, and Ikrit is part of this, too.  Tahiri wants to stay with Anakin, protesting that she’s only two years younger than he is and only one year younger than he was at Sernpidal.  Anakin reminds her that’s where he got Chewbacca killed.
 
She thinks he doesn’t want her with him, that he thinks she’s just a kid.  Anakin cannot tell her about his fear that she will be killed.  
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  • Ah, old Peckhum and his supply ship from the Young Jedi Knights and Junior Jedi Knights books.

 


#5
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 4:
 
Ikrit warns Anakin that his anger will burn him.  He keeps it in check now, but it will melt over if he isn’t careful.  Anakin tells him it’s hard not to be angry when the Yuuzhan Vong kill people he loves.  
 
Ikrit thinks that Anakin makes himself angry because he can’t save them.  He did not cause the deaths of Chewbacca and the others.  He mourns those deaths because he feels them through the Force.  That’s what makes him different from Darth Vader.
 
Anakin tells him how he used to have nightmares that he’d turn to the dark side like Vader.  Now he knows that the Force is just a tool.  It doesn’t make anyone good or evil.
 
Ikrit tells him it’s Anakin’s feelings that will turn him, not the Force.  Anakin believes feelings are tools too if he can control them.  Ikrit doesn’t believe they can always be.  After all, how does Anakin know when a feeling isn’t controlling him?
 
Anakin doesn’t really want to have this conversation now, but Ikrit thinks it’s the best time…maybe the only time.  He thought he came here to free the Massassi children; he now wonders if there’s another reason.  After all, the task wasn’t sufficient for him.
 
He sees something new born in Anakin and Tahiri.  He thinks he was meant to come here to nurture that and see it born.  
 
The Peace Brigade arrives.  Anakin frets that he couldn’t do as much as he wanted to.  He’s got a weak energy shield up over the compound and he’s got an intercom rigged so that it sounds like a bunch of people are running around in here.
 
He hopes the Brigadiers will come for the Temple first.  Ikrit suggests they will because they want to believe the other Jedi are here.  The group approaches with a man named Kot Murno in charge.  Over the intercom, he promises that they will not be harmed if they surrender now.
 
Anakin reminds him that the Yuuzhan Vong are unlikely to honor his promise regarding the safety of the children he’s trying to kidnap for them.  Murno admits it’s an ugly thing, but it’s the price they must pay for peace in the galaxy.  After all, the Jedi have provoked this war from the beginning to embellish their power and control everyone.  
 
Anakin tells him what he thinks of that and then challenges him to come and get them if he can.  They begin to fire.  He fires back, but bolts come from everywhere.  Ikrit is giving the illusion of more blaster bolts coming, but Anakin needs to keep sending a real one every so often.
 
When they find the generator, he knows the shield won’t last.  He considers the ion cannon in the hangar where some of the Peace Brigade ships are facing.  Leaning out, he’s nearly grazed by a bolt above him.  It’s Tahiri.
 
He sees two others with her, too.  His X-Wing doesn’t have room for all those people.  He’ll have to find another way.
 
Tahiri, Sannah and Valin Horn have barricaded the door of the refectory and are holding blasters.  Anakin explodes, demanding to know what they’re doing.  They insist they can help, but he points out that they now have to find an escape ship that will fit all of them.
 
They’ll have to improvise now.  Taking the turbolift down, they realize they will be stopping where the Peace Brigade can get them.  Anakin hits the button as soon as it opens and leaps out with his lightsaber. He’s surprised that Tahiri comes with him.  He uses the Force to tell Valin and Sannah to find Master Ikrit.
 
More Peace Brigadiers arrive.  Anakin tells them he doesn’t want to hurt them, but will at the next blaster fired at him.  The woman doesn’t think they can take all of them.  He uses the Force to push her and her comrades down, cuts into the turbolift shaft and tells Tahiri to jump.
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  • The last Sannah I knew of was in the Junior Jedi Knights books.  She was a Melodie like Lyric.  If this is the same Sannah, how long does she have before she morphs?

 
 


#6
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 5:
 
Through the Force, Anakin and Tahiri click and slow their falls, even allowing Anakin to push up a couple of grenades tossed down the shaft, before they land.
 
The car suddenly starts up, forcing Anakin to cut through the power couplings and casings.  No one is on the lift which means Valin and Sannah got off somewhere.  Someone obviously called it back up.
 
They are forced to evade blasters and grenades until they reach the old hangars once used by the Rebel Alliance.  Anakin tells Fiver to fly the X-Wing out and avoid pursuit.
 
Anakin asks Tahiri where she got the lightsaber.  She asks if he doesn’t think she could build one. 
 
They follow the path to an underground hot spring that all the students knew about but never spoke of to anyone else.  They find Ikrit there with Valin and Sannah.  Anakin says that he and Tahiri will climb up to the hangar level and wait until dark when they can commandeer a Peace Brigade ship and get them all out of here.
 
Ikrit looks older than he used to and that makes Anakin sad.  He asks if the master is sick, but Ikrit says he feels sad, but not to worry about it.  He tells Anakin and Tahiri that they are more together than they are separately.
 
They reach the top and wait while Tahiri chastises Anakin for thinking she was going to mess things up because she is just a kid.  He never said good-bye when he left the academy with Mara and never sent a single message.  She cries that he was her best friend a year ago and now he acts like she doesn’t exist.
 
He hasn’t wanted to talk about the things that have happened to him.  She falls asleep on his shoulder and he doesn’t move her even when his arm falls asleep.
 
He wakes her up before dawn and tells her it’s time.  Anakin uses the Jedi mind trick on a guard who nearly walks all the way away before he comes to.  Anakin is forced to bind him and take him along on the ship to keep him quiet and to make sure the ship doesn’t have any booby traps.
 
Under the circumstances, Remis Vehn, isn’t impressed with the high-minded ideals of the Jedi that cause them to threaten him, but Anakin points out he’ll be glad to have the discussion the next time he plans to kidnap children and hand them over to the Yuuzhan Vong to sacrifice.
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#7
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 6:
 
The Wild Karrde arrives in the Yavin system.  Talon Karrde tells his associate, Shada D’ukal, that it appears their simple baby-sitting chore has become more complicated.  The ships in orbit are not Yuuzhan Vong, but the hodgepodge mix would indicate Peace Brigade.
 
He will need reinforcements but can’t wait for him as it is clear the people he promised Luke Skywalker he would protect are now fighting for their lives. 
 
He evades the Peace Brigade as long as he can until spotted.  He then has an interesting conversation with Captain Imsatad who was with Thrawn on Wayland and remembers Karrde betraying him.  Nevertheless, that makes it easier for Karrde to bluff that he has resources to defend against Jedi that Imsatad may not.  In exchange for helping collect the bounty on the Jedi, he wants the captain to put a word in with the Yuuzhan Vong for him.
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#8
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 7:
 
Remis Vehn is unhappy with the way Anakin is flying his ship.  After picking up Ikrit, Valin and Sannah, he tries to lift off, but forgets to pull up the landing ramp.  Determined to worry about that later, he lifts and Tahiri notices their escape hole has been covered by ships.
 
Ikrit says he will take care of that and they soon realize he has jumped down the open hatch and is using the Force to lift the ships out of the way.  Anakin tells Tahiri to grab him on the way out.  She goes to the hatch and Anakin watches as a blaster bolt hits Ikrit.  Two more hit him, but Tahiri still jumps down the ramp with her lightsaber.
 
He sees her grab Ikrit’s body and yells for Valin or Sannah to get to the laser turret.  Spinning the ship around, he is pursued by other ships while trying to find Tahiri.  She’s still alive, but he knows Ikrit is not. 
 
The ship continues to be hit by its pursuers and he knows he can’t make it back down.  He heads into the atmosphere, swearing he will be back for Tahiri.
 
In the cave, Kam Solusar and Tionne hold each other as some of the children cry.  They know that Master Ikrit is dead. 
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#9
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 8:
 
Talon Karrde knows that he’s supposed to be a hostage as Imsatad has many more people on the surface than he does.  But he’s content to let Imsatad think that.  He explains how the vornskrs can hunt Jedi through the Force and implies that Shada has ysalimiri in a covered cage.
 
Following the vornskrs, Karrde moves forward into a cave.  The Peace Brigader in charge complains he doesn’t see anything.  Karrde doesn’t either, but does turn around the stun him with his blaster.  His associates do the same with several others before some of the Jedi handle the rest.
 
Karrde explains he was sent here by Master Skywalker to pick up the children and couldn’t do so without the interference of the Peace Brigade.  He used his vornskrs to find the Jedi and pretended to have an ysalamiri so it would be thought the Jedi couldn’t use their powers.
 
Solusar isn’t sure he trusts Karrde.  Far too many people are joining the Peace Brigade and Karrde has switched sides before.  Karrde notes that Solusar has, too.
 
When they exit the cave, however, the forest is full of Peace Brigaders.  Karrde warns everyone to cover their ears as the Wild Karrde lands nearby, firing its turbolasers.  Karrde and his crew provide cover fire while Kam and Tionne get the children aboard. 
 
They head off with Peace Brigade ships in pursuit.  Karrde decides to head for the biggest one and has his crew release torpedoes but not fire them.  He also perplexes them by allowing a tractor lock on the Wild Karrde, which also pulls in the torpedoes which he then has armed.  They explode as they reach the other ship.
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  • Yavin IV is really out of the loop here.  It seems to take time for galactic events to reach here which I’ve always found weird anyway.  Must be a communications problem which may explain why Luke couldn’t have picked up a comlink and told Kam that he was sending Talon Karrde out to pick them up.

  • Ah, yes! The old use-the-other-ship’s-tractor-beam-to-pull-proton-torpedoes-into-it-trick that we’ve seen used several times before.

 


#10
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 9:
 
Anakin finally lets Vehn take the ship’s weapons when it’s clear that Sannah has never done this before.  Having no real loyalty to his Peace Brigade comrades and fearing for his life are strong motivators.
 
In the end, the ship crashes and Vehn tries to pull a blaster on him which Anakin easily uses the Jedi Mind Trick to get back.  He isn’t losing any tears over the ship which was shot by the Peace Brigade who are responsible for killing one of his friends and taking another captive.  Vehn tells him he was only in it for the money and had been told they were taking adult Jedi, not little kids. 
 
Anakin forces him into the jungle with Valin and Sannah.  He can sense Tahiri is still alive and demands to know where the Peace Brigade was planning to take the children.  Vehn explains the Vong were planning to come here themselves, but the Peace Brigade decided to get here first and make a present of the Jedi.
 
He was hired to be a pilot, that’s it.  Anakin tells him that the other Jedi won’t be found.  When that happens, the Vong will assume that the Peace Brigade came here to hide the children instead or, at best, are just incompetent enough to allow 30 Jedi to slip through their fingers.
 
It’s possible they may try to bluff with the one Jedi they do have.  Sannah cries that they have to rescue Tahiri.  Anakin reminds her that all three of them should have been safe.  They should have gone with Kam and Tionne instead of treating this like a game.
 
Sannah knows none of this should have happened.  If it hadn’t, Master Ikrit would still be alive.  Anakin is almost glad she’s crying, understanding how wrong she was, but he tells her that this was the Peace Brigade’s fault and the Vong’s fault.  There are still ships here looking for stragglers so they’ll have to be careful.
 
He assigns Valin to look for food and medicine, Sannah to guard the camp and neither of them to approach Vehn or listen to his suggestions.
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#11
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 10:
 
The Wild Karrde does take damage and may not be able to jump.  Fortunately, H’sishi is able to report that the rest of their fleet will be here in two hours.  That gives them that long to hold out.  Karrde gives Shada the bridge so he can speak to Solusar.
 
Four hours later, Imsatad is in an unfavorable position.  Karrde questions him about the four young Jedi who are missing.  Imsatad insists he doesn’t know anything about that, but the Vong won’t stop until they have all the Jedi.  This is a gesture of good faith.
 
Karrde points out that an unprovoked attack on their galaxy doesn’t obligate any shows of good faith.  Imsatad explains he was serving with the New Republic military on Dantooine and saw what they can do.  They can’t be stopped.  The Jedi started this war and are the ones who keep provoking it.
 
Karrde doesn’t know or care if Imsatad actually believes that, but his sense of self-preservation surely should appeal to him now.  Kam Solusar knows that none of the Jedi students are aboard Imsatad’s ship so nothing can stop them from vaping him.  They demand a ship-by-ship search for the children.
 
Solusar knows he’s hiding something, but can’t say what.  Anakin and Tahiri are alive which means Valin and Sannah probably are, too. Karrde is going to arrange for the children they do have to be transferred to another vessel bound for Coruscant.  Luke Skywalker will take over from there.
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  • H’sishi was a crew member in Spectre of the Past/Vision of the Future.

 
 
 


#12
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chapter 11:
 
In a tree, Anakin watches ships leave.  Valin joins him.  The Peace Brigade is under a time limit.  They have to have the students when the Vong get here or be gone themselves. 
 
Valin doesn’t understand why the Vong want them.  Anakin guesses it’s because they don’t understand the Force and because the Jedi have impeded their conquest of the galaxy.  It probably didn’t help what Jacen did to their warmaster.
 
The Peace Brigade thinks that turning Jedi over to the Vong will get them to stop.  Elegos A’Kla tried to negotiate with them and they ended up killing him instead.  Valin knows this.  His father killed the Vong commander who did that.  Instead of hating the Vong, everyone hates his dad now.
 
Anakin tells him that politics gets in the way of people’s sense.  People who know better realize that Corran is a good man.  Those who have no sense believe those who lie.  The point is that the Vong have not shown they are able to keep their word.  The only terms of peace they understand are that everyone surrenders and lets them do what they want.  The Peace Brigade doesn’t understand that and thinks they can bargain for something in the middle.  The problem is that, while Elegos’s decision was wrong, it was his life to risk. The Peace Brigade would rather risk the lives of the Jedi instead of their own.
 
He asks why they didn’t go with Kam and Tionne when they were supposed to.  Valin tells him that they want to be like him.  Everyone does. 
 
Anakin looks over the ship parts around them and thinks he can cobble something together.  Vehn doesn’t think so and calls Valin names for defending him.  When Vehn is then set upon by bugs, Anakin chastises Valin for using the Force to torment a captive. 
 
He gets a com from Fiver who reports the X-Wing is badly damaged.  He has the droid lock onto this signal and come down. 
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#13
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chapter 12:
 
Anakin’s dreams offer him promises of power.  It’s his oldest one that probably originated when the Emperor’s clone touched him through his mother’s belly.  The dreams only grew stronger when he learned who he’d been named for.
 
He’d made peace with that but it doesn’t mean the dreams never return, especially here on a moon stained with the Dark Side.
 
He hears a laugh and turns to see Tahiri multilated and wearing dark armor.  He wakes up screaming her name only to have a hand put over his mouth.  He leaps up only to see a man with a blaster who stops him and tells him he’s a friend.  His name is Qorl and he’s lived here for many years.  He saw fighting and ships come down.  He came to look.
 
Anakin knows who Qorl is:  A TIE fighter pilot downed during the Battle of Yavin and stranded here for years until he fled after forcing Jacen and Jaina to fix his ship.  He returned later to stay for good.  Uncle Luke had been content to leave him alone.
 
Qorl doesn’t really know what’s going on.  His last visitor was Old Peckhum who dropped off supplies about 3 years ago.  He asked him not to come back.  Anakin decides to bring him up to speed on what’s happening, especially when Qorl mentions that he’s seen strange ships.
 
Later, he goes to Vehn and tells him the ship is nearly finished.  He’ll show him how to do the rest and he’ll have Fiver’s help.  Anakin wants him and Qorl to take Sannah and Valin off this moon and get them to safety.  The Yuuzhan Vong are here. 
 
He is counting that Vehn will not fully rest on their understanding.  He also warns him that Qorl will probably blast him if he tries anything. Anakin himself is going to find his friend.  After making the final arrangements with Qorl, he goes to talk to Valin and Sannah.
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  • Qorl was the TIE fighter pilot we met in the early Young Jedi Knights books.

 
 


#14
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chapter 13:
 
Commander Tsaak Voothuh questions Captain Imsatad about why there are no young Jedi left on this moon.  Imsatad explains they came here to keep the terms of the peace offered by Tsavong Lah.  They were able to grab one, but the others were taken by Karrde.
 
Vootuh is not interested in the details of his failure to get all the Jedi, but he does wonder why this Karrde is still skulking at the edge of the system, hiding.  Imsatad guesses that it’s because there might be a few more Jedi left on the moon, including Anakin Solo, the brother of Jacen.
 
He offers to go down and use his ships to look.  Vootuh calls his ships abominations and says they will be destroyed.  Imsatad doesn’t understand how they’ll return home without them.  Vootuh isn’t concerned about that and demands to see the one Jedi who was caught.
 
When Imsatad still thinks he can bargain, Vootuh has him killed.
 
 He then orders the landing on the moon.
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#15
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Part II:  The Shamed and the Shapers
 
chapter 14:
 
Borsk Fey’lya is apologetic that he cannot retake the Yavin system just to save four Jedi.  They would lose more than they gain and end the truce with the Vong.  Luke points out the truce has already been broken.  Despite the fact that the whole galaxy seems very eager to turn over Jedi to them, the Vong still took Yavin IV after promising they would attack no other worlds.
 
Fey’lya reminds him that Yavin IV is not a New Republic world, but Skywalker’s pet project.  He’d wanted the Jedi to remain unbounded by the Senate’s laws and now he wants their aid.  Anakin Solo took off without orders and breaking several laws to do so which is exactly the type of behavior that has the senate upset.  Now that Skywalker can’t handle the situation on his own, he’s asking for help.  To top it off, he didn’t even come here first, but made inquiries of friends, such as Wedge Antilles.
 
Further, Han and Leia are missing, too.  No doubt, they are off helping undermine the New Republic government even more. 
 
Luke prevails on him to at least consider a diplomatic solution.  Fey’lya tells him negotiations have and are happening.  The Vong have explained that they’ve occupied the system temporarily in search of raw materials and didn’t know the Jedi were there.
 
Luke is angry to learn that Fey’lya had to know they were headed there and gave him no warning.  The Chief of State is not interested in warnings.  He tells Luke to stay away from the Yavin system and recall any forces he has there. If he heads in that direction or sends any other Jedi there, he’ll be arrested.  Luke answers that he won’t forget that Fey’lya sold his students out.
 
Jacen makes Jaina angry when he tries to explain Fey’lya’s point of view.  They aren’t any more impartial than he is, considering their brother is trapped on the moon.  Luke points out that he believes the Vong arrived, found Karrde fighting the Peace Brigade and then Karrde turned on them.  Fey’lya couldn’t have controlled that.
 
Jaina thinks they should go out and help Karrde who will stay out there until he has no more ships left.  Neither Jacen nor Luke think that Jaina’s X-Wing will make much of a difference, but Luke wonders if they could get the Errant Venture out there.
 
Someone will have to find it and Booster Terrik will probably be more than happy to help since his grandson is one of the missing students.  Shada is taking Karrde’s ships back to help him.  Luke and Mara make arrangements to put the Jedi students on the Jade Shadow.  It’s better that Fey’lya not find out they’re here or that it was Shada who brought them, lest he realize that Luke was responsible for sending Talon Karrde to the Yavin system.
 
Luke really doesn’t want Mara to leave Coruscant which prompts her to question whether or not her condition is influencing him.  Jaina realizes what this means and Jacen admits he had a feeling something was off on Duro.
 
Jaina and Jacen agree to take the Shadow to go find the Venture.
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#16
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chapter 15:
 
Using a small repulsor speeder he put together from spare parts, Anakin speeds over the horizon and senses Tahiri calling him.  Then he senses Jaina.
 
He travels for days and days, after using the last of his rations.  After a long time, he finds himself facing an unusual Yuuzhan Vong craft. He uses his lightsaber to try to disable the dovin basal before falling to the ground.
 
He wakes up in the morning and sees the craft laying there.  His lightsaber is on the ground but it is nonfunctional.  His speeder is irreparable.
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#17
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chapter 16:
 
Nen Yim is a shaper and she is rejoicing in this real world where she can smell the wind.  Her master, Mezhan Kwaad, asked if this is the first world she’s seen.  Nen admits she’s never been anywhere but their worldships which, though they can last for centuries, are not like planetary bodies that Yun-Yuuzhan created to last for millions of cycles.
 
Kwaad explains that she had Nen brought here because of her innovative thinking.  It’s important to recognize tradition in their work, but that can sometimes lead to narrowness of vision.  She needs adepts who can use the sacred knowledge in new ways.
 
Nen Yim secretly fears her master knows she has been dabbling in heresy.
 
Kwaad tells her it’s time for her hand. They have one Jedi right now and Overlord Shimrra is watching their work carefully.
 
Then Nen goes through the pain of losing her natural hand and replacing it with a shaper’s claw.
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#18
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chapter 17:
 
For days, Anakin avoids the Vong searchers.  He knows now not to try to cut into a dovin basal, but that doesn’t help his warped crystal. Though crystals can be found in the Massassi Temples, there really aren’t a lot of them here.
 
He is immersed in water right now and doesn’t notice a creature coming up on him that seems to be a huge crawlfish.  It battles with him over his staff until Anakin uses the Force to push it away.
 
He then sees a Warrior standing at the side of a Vong craft.  The warrior hesitates and steps back into the ship which flies off.
 
Anakin grabs his pack and runs.  The flier keeps up but at a distance.  Eventually, he battles several warriors before being hit in the back with a bug.  Sinan Mat, the commander, salutes his bravery and laments that he cannot give him to the embrace of pain. 
 
Anakin compels piranha-beetles down on the warriors and hobbles off to hide.  He is soon discovered by two more warriors.  A third Vong arrives but has no armor and seems quite disfigured. He deals quite well with the other two before approaching Anakin and telling him that he is Vua Rapuung.  He can help.
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#19
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chapter 18:
 
Mezhan Kwaad and Nen Yim watch the young Jedi fall into convulsions.  Kwaad finds this interesting, but her superior, the newly arrived Master Yal Phaath, does not.  She explains that the provoker spineray ausing her pain has been designed to do so selectively one nerve at a time.  It appears there is a reflex in the Jedi unknown to the Vong.  They can now map a part of human nervous systems previously undiscovered.  This will help in their shaping.
 
He doesn’t think this is helpful.  They should already have the knowledge they need.  All life comes from Yun-Yuuzhan and he knows them all.  It is heresy to say that knowledge can be created.  If the gods don’t share certain knowledge with them it’s for a good reason.  Trying to seek further is an attempt to steal from them.
 
He has noticed that heresies have surfaced over the years, often connected to Domain Kwaad. 
 
They are interrupted by their inability to breath.  Nen Yim realizes that the Jedi is doing it.  She staggers to her master and grabs the ol-villip that controls the provoker spineray and activates it.  The Jedi screams and the pressure to breath increases until it stops. 
 
Yal Phaath was given to understand that the Jedi cannot affect the Yuuzhan Vong with their sorcery.  Nen Yim explains that the Jedi didn’t affect them, but the molecules of the atmosphere.  She compressed them.
 
In earlier interrogations, she claimed to be able to manipulate an energy field.  Plaath thinks it’s ridiculous as such a power would not be denied the Yuuzhan Vong by their gods.
 
He tells them he is leaving for a shaping project that will end the Jedi threat forever.  The infidels who are helping them have revealed a beast that can sense the Jedi and hunt them.  The beast is not native to this moon, but their contact in the senate has told them that they are located on the planet Myrkr which is already in their possession.  He will be overseeing the shaping of these beasts.
 
Karrde is told that one of the warships is breaking orbit.  He has Solusar come up and asks if he should let the ship go.  This warship has a considerable escort and he may lose ships if he tries to prevent it from leaving.   He needs to know if there are Jedi aboard it.
 
Kam can’t be certain, but he believes there are no non-Yuuzhan Vong on any of those ships.  This is too important to rusk that belief on, however.  TheVong can’t just be absent from the Force, they also make his Jedi senses murky.
 
Karrde suggests he concentrate on the moon.  Kam reaches out and senses Anakin, Valin, Sannah and Tahiri on the moon, but Tahiri’s been tortured. 
 
Karrde decides to let the ship go and hope that Terrik shows up before they actually have to fight.  He considers looking into getting his own Star Destroyer.
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#20
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chapter 19:
 
Vua Rapuung is disgusted that Anakin hates pain.  He treats the young man, confirming a thud bug hit him.  The warrior has been living under a waterfall for a few days.  Anakin doesn’t understand why he saved him.
 
Vua asks why Anakin has been fighting his way to the shaper compound.
 
He explains that he is trying to rescue his friend. Vua thinks that’s a pitiful goal.  His personal goal is revenge.  He will explain no more, save that they can be allies for now.  He will help with Anakin’s stupid goal because it serves his purposes, too.
 
Anakin asks why he is estranged from his people which earn Vua’s anger.  Anakin uses the Force to toss a rock at him.  Vua laughs and says he saw what Anakin did to the hunters, but it’s different when it’s done to him.  He says there are rumors the Jedi abilities come from mechanical implants.  Anakin tells him it isn’t true and their scientists should know that by now.
 
Vua points out that Master Skywalker has a machine hand.  Anakin tells him it has nothing to do with his power.  If Vua doesn’t want to tell him why they are fighting together, he can at least tell him how.
 
Vua tells him that there are five damuteks on this moon planted by the shapers.  His friend is there.  The shapers are a caste that is closest to the god Yun-Yuuzhan who shaped the universe from his body.  They know how to bend life to suit their needs. 
 
Anakin asks if they will try to break Tahiri with a yammosk the way they tried to do with Miko Reglia and Wurth Skidder.  Vua tells him that shapers do not break, they remake.  Those who do the breaking are warriors who think they can do the job of shapers.  Anakin’s friend will be re-made.
 
Anakin asks how many Vong the damuteks hold.  Vua is incensed and tells him the use of the word Vong alone is an insult.  There should be a thousand warriors on the planet, but maybe only twelve shapers in the damuteks.
 
Anakin tells him he can walk and will soon be able to run.  It will hurt, though.  Vua tells him life is suffering.
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#21
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chapter 20:
 
Anakin and Vua Rapuung argue over the best way to go.  Anakin wants to go up to get a lay of the land and to see where they are. 
 
At the crest, Anakin can’t help but tear up at how the the landscape has changed.  The Great Temple, which stood unchanged for thousands of years, is gone.  There are five compounds near the river.  There are little shanties down there, too. Vua explains that’s where the slaves and Shamed Ones live.
 
The Shamed Ones are cursed by the gods and work as slaves. 
 
Vua tells him that the fliers in the air are going to seed the netting beetles soon.  Those will draw fibers from tree to tree and come in waves that overtake each other.  Anakin doesn’t have a working lightsaber to cut them with. 
 
Anakin decides to toss flares to catch the trees on fire and prevent the progression of the beetles.  Vua knocks him over and Anakin tosses another rock at him.  Vua tells him using a machine to cause a fire is the first abomination. 
 
Anakin tells him that he doesn’t understand Vua’s religion and doesn’t want to.  The warrior has chosen to ally himself with Anakin and that means he must put up with some of the machines Anakin uses.  Vua explains that he knows the gods do not hate him, but he fears they will have reason to if he soils himself with machines.
 
Then they are forced to flee the flames.
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#22
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chapter 21:
 
Anakin uses the Force to create an oxygen bubble to help them.  Vua isn’t happy that he’s been saved from death yet again.
 
It’s hard walking through the burned forest, knowing the life he’s snuffed out here.  He admits to Vua he was wrong to kill innocent lives to save theirs.  Vua tells him killing and dying are the way of the world and part of the embrace of pain.  He wasn’t wrong to start a fire, only by how he started it. 
 
Anakin tells him he’ll kill only to defend himself.  Vua finds it ironic that Anakin forces him to accept abominable machines and a childish fear of killing.  All life ends.
 
For a long time, Anakin considers his actions here.  He knows he hasn’t been thinking of the larger issues here.  Mara had tried to tell him that.  Then there’s Vua who is obviously out for revenge and Anakin knows that’s of the Dark Side. 
 
Something comes up the river.  It’s an organic boat carrying a Yuuzhan Vong warrior but no scars or tattoos at all.  Vua goes out to speak with him while Anakin stays hidden.  He comes out when Vua calls him.  The other Vong is gone, dead of a broken neck and tossed into the river. 
 
Anakin wonders how many more will die to save his life.  Vua dismisses his concerns as this was just a Shamed One.  He explains that he had to disappear and faked his death.  He will return on the water beast, telling them that he survived and was lost until he came across this pilotless vessel, not knowing what happened to its driver.  Since he was a Shamed One, no one will care.
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#23
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chapter 22:
 
Nen Yim goes to Mezhan Kwaad and tells her she’s finished mapping the nervous system.  How they proceed from here depends on the results they want.  Kwaad asks her what she would do from here if there were no protocols to follow.
 
Carefully, Nen says she would modify the provoker spineray to give them fine control over the nervous system.  They agree that the protocols are based on knowns which are not what they are dealing with.  This is very close to heresy and Kwaad warns her that they must speak to no one else about this. If they are successful, no one will look closely at their methods.
 
The Jedi girl watches them.  Kwaad tells her not to try to attack them as the provoker has been told to cause pain if she does.  Tahiri realizes when she speaks that she’s speaking in their language.
 
Kwaad explains that she does not understand them and there are things they do not understand about her.  But understanding will come and she will make it possible to link the Yuuzhan Vong and the Jedi.
 
She is the path to peace.
 
Tahiri knows they are twisting words to confuse her. They’ve obviously implanted language skills she never learned.  The Jedi can implant memories, too.  Kwaad know this and questions how many of her memories are real and how she can tell the difference.
 
She thinks of herself as Tahiri, a Jedi raised by a tribe of Sand People, but she will soon remember her true identity as Riina of Domain Kwaad who has always been one of them.
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#24
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chapter 23:
 
In the beast, Anakin rides in the reeking belly to hide.  Suddenly, it stops and he finds himself expelled onto the shore.  They are inside one of the damuteks and Anakin will have to be disguised.
 
Vua puts a growth on him that is fake, but Anakin will have to pretend like it’s real if he’s to pass as a slave.  He hides his lightsaber in the muck of the succession pool.
 
He soon finds himself wearing a a loincloth and working among many Yuuzhan Vong and non-Yuuzhan Vong slaves.  He recognizes the hopelessness on their faces.  A warrior storms up to Vua and tells him he’d heard about the return.  Some thought that he’d fled his shame and were glad not to have to look upon it.
 
Vua tells him that the gods know there is no shame on him.  The other, Hul Rapuung, tells him he should spend some time in sacrifice and penitence.  The slave does trouble him as he’s not seen him before and there are rumors of Jedi in the wilderness.
 
Vua tells him this one has been here for some time.  Hul tells him there are also stories of a Jedi who is actually a Yuuzhan Vong driven mad by their powers. 
 
Anakin realizes that Vua is a Shamed One.  He tells Vua that he cannot act the part if he doesn’t know what’s going on.  Vua explains that the Shamed Ones are cursed by the gods because their bodies reject proper scarring.  They don’t heal.  Since the implants of rank that set the castes apart are rejected, it makes them useless. 
 
He was once a great warrior until his body betrayed him.  This was not the gods doing but the shaper Mezhan Kwaad’s.  She will be forced to admit what she has done so everyone will know that he was never shamed. 
 
Anakin asks if the warrior they spoke with was a relative.  Hul turns out to be his brother.  Vua will ask that Anakin be assigned to lambent growing as those slaves tend to live longer.  He must play the part of a slave until he can find where the other Jedi is.  Vua will return in seven days.
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#25
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chapter 24:
 
Anakin is brought down by pain for his forehead not inflicted on his own body, but on Tahiri’s.  He feels it on occasions, sometimes itching, sometimes burning, but it’s always real to him.  He can smell and taste everything. 
 
He is handed over to a female Shamed One to help with her work.  She demands his name and he tells her it’s Bail Lars.  She saw him fall a few moments ago and so did the overseer which is why she’s stuck with him.
 
Someday, Yun-Shuno will grant her redemption and she will become a true caste.  Anakin isn’t sure she really believes that.  She slaps him and tells him that he says filthy things.  He points out that the fact that he doesn’t understand her beliefs is what makes him an infidel, after all.
 
She agrees and thinks it might be nice to speak with him about his world.  Her name is Uunu.  She takes him to a field and has him split lambent casing with a small living creature that forms a spur on his thumb. 
 
Inside, he finds a gem.
 
She will not explain things until they have a rhythm going and she’s sure she can make her quota.  Anakin finds that there is something telepathic about the gems.  He wonders if they are relatives of the yammosks.
 
When uunu strokes them, they become more distant to Anakin.  He wonders if she is bonding them to herself and if he can do the same. 
 
In the small dormitories, he finds several different species.  By and large, the Peace Brigaders had been captured and sacrificed to the gods. Most of the troublemakers have been weeded out here, too.
 
A Twi’lek slave named Poy explains that the old implants are largely used on battle slaves now.  The trouble with those is that it does a number on the mind so they aren’t much use as skilled slaves, just cannon fodder. He warns Anakin not to act up or they’ll put one on him and send him to the front.
 
Uunu comes for him again before dawn and uses a lambent as a portable light source that she can control with her mind.  She tells him that it is mostly silicon and metal from the soil and get most of their energy from the bioelectrical fields of other living things. 
 
They work for several hours without stopping.  He tells Uunu that he’d been on a freighter crew and describes Coruscant and Corellia to her.  Since she finds such high-tech worlds disgusting, he changes the subject to the lost world of Ithor and the moon of Endor.
 
She is fascinated by all the space she has here.  She grew up on a poor worldship with little room.  He tells her that there are plenty of uninhabited worlds here that the New Republic would have been happy to share.
 
She doesn’t think her people should be for what the gods have ordained they have.  Anakin asks her how she knows this is true.  By now, she knows he’s only ignorant, but warns him others will not think so.
 
 She tells him that their worldships spent centuries in space and began to die.  Much unrest caused fighting between castes and domains. Lord Shimrra had a vison of a new home in a galaxy corrupted by heresy.  The priests confirmed this, then the shapers and the warriors. In this new galaxy, Yun-Shuno has promised the Shamed Ones redemption.
 
She looks off into the horizon, enraptured by it until she turns to him and asks if he’s a Jedi.
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