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"Star By Star": Book 9 in The New Jedi Order

Jedi Cool

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chapter 26:

The Exquisite Death speeds insystem and swings into Myrkr’s gravity well while Lowie wears the cognition hood. Em Teedee has to remind the others that constant questions just make it harder for Lowie to do this.

The strike team had studied most of the systems, but the sensors are still a problem. Tahiri is doing her best to translate, but it’s still difficult for Lowie. There’s a large worldship around Myrkr and Anakin can feel the stirring of voxyn. He’s also stunned to feel the clear presence of Jedi.

He tells the others there are Jedi down there. Ganner muses that Plan A is out now. That plan had been for them to sneak into the cloning facility and destroy it with a missle. They’ll have to do something else now.

Alema points out that it would be brave, but they cannot forget their primary mission. Jacen reminds her that Anakin knows the stakes. Anakin interprets this as a dig about being wary of the Dark Side and sends everyone to their battle stations.

No one makes contact with the vessel as it moves closer to the worldship. Ulaha notices that the landing pads are stacked with pods and cages. Anakin realizes they are being led into a trap. He has Jaina turn toward a complex that looks like a spaceport and the otheres to ready the missle. Everyone is to secure their vac suits.

One of the villips comes to life and a Yuuzhan Vong head greets Ganner, demanding that they surrender. If the Vong have to fire, the hostages at Talfaglia are forfeit. Anakin cuts the villip in half and orders the missle fired.

The gunner try to hit the target and the Exquisite Death shakes under the shock wave fo the cruiser that vanishes. Anakin has another plan and starts to explain it before Ulaha gives him her datapad and tells him she has to stay with the ship. She is a pilot and her injuries make her a liability on the ground anyway.

She asks for some metal tubing from the droid kit left for her. Anakin tells her no funny stuff. She just drops one of the YVH droids and goes. The others pack the termal detonators.

Anakin goes with Tahiri, Eryl, Raynar and Zekk in one cargo pod. Ulaha comms that there are ships coming out to meet them but they are not firing. Anakin doesn’t understand why they’re still trying to take the Jedi alive.

Ulaha tells them to start the drop now. A decoy is sent out which is captured by the enemy tentacle which Anakin detonates. He wants the Vong to think the pods contain bombs and not people.

The land and cut their way out of the pod. The war droids are on their way down, but Anakin is disappointed that the Vong are still going after the Death.

One of the droids is destroyed. They all think of Ulaha alone in the ship, but cannot find her. Her presence fades but she’s not dead yet. They all hear a song through the Force and wish they could record it for Tionne.

The music repeats and rises to a crescendo before it stops and Tahiri gasps.


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chapter 27:

On Myrkr, Alema finds a trap near the security field. Anakin begins to wonder if they are really prepared for this. Tahiri warns him about a negative attitude. They sneak across the spaceport, unable to see the battle. The voxyn are easy to sense to Anakin, but the Jedi prisoner, whoever it is, is not.

It’s possible that he or she could be surrounded by ysalamiri. Anakin turns to call for the ysalamiri mating pheromones Cilghal provided, but Jacen already has them. Jacen wants to speak with Anakin, but his brother doesn’t want to listen right now.

He tosses the capsule to the landing pit. The last YVH reports that an incoming vessel is arriving. They stay hidden until a group of Yuuzhan Vong start chasing escaping ysalamiri.

The plan is to go straight to the ysalamiri house then to the rescue shuttle. Ganner and the droid will cover the descent. Using holoshrouds, the Jedi team heads toward the airlock and spot the rescue vessel. On the way, they are confronted a couple of times by Vong whose language Tahiri translates.

Inside the ysalamiri house, they begin cutting down the trees. They are confronted by warriors which they quickly try to dispatch, leaving only one shaper who is soon encompassed with energy generated by one of two prisoners who are hung nearby. A woman with dark hair is mouthing words Anakin doesn’t understand. He realizes this is darkness and starts to tell her to stop.

The shaper dies brutally. Jacen’s voice comes over the comm. to tell him that the frigate is sending down a shuttle.

Alema is fascinated by the technique used to kill the shaper and wonders if she could learn to use it. Anakin tells her it was cruel. Alema says he can lecture her about cruelty when his sister is murdered by a voxyn. She wants to be cruel.

The woman tells her there’s nothing wrong with vengeance. Zekk recognizes the male prisoner as Welk, who was trained at the Shadow Academy with Zekk. He was one of Tamith Kai’s best students.

Tesar is upset to find out that they have deviated from the mission only to rescue Dark Jedi. The woman tells them there are no other living ones here. She and her companion would be glad to hunt the voxyn through. She is Lomi Plo and she will tell them what she knows of the place.

Anakin is surprised they aren’t going to bargain for it. After all, she cannot be sure he will leave them here. Lomi points out that it would make him the dark one, then. They know who he is and what he’s doing here. Anakin is still trying to decide when Ganner reports that the shuttle has Nom Anor aboard it.


  • The Shadow Academy reference refers, of course, to the YJK storyline, but neither Welk nor Lomi Plo appeared in them. This is the first reference to both, despite Zekk’s assertion that Welk was Tamith Kai’s second-best-student after Vilas.

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chapter 28:

At Talfaglio, Han watches the distant star wishing he could have gone back three years to when this star first generated the light he’s seeing. At that time, there was no war, no uncertainty and he still had Chewbacca.

He doesn’t blame anyone for the death anymore, but he just wants his friend back, his children safe and his wife able to sleep. Leia hasn’t really done that since the strike team left.

She tells him Anakin and the twins are in the middle of things now as she expects she and Han will be, too, soon.

He sends the two Noghri bodyguards to the gun turrets. They will be helping Lando with the yammosk hunt. Corran comes over the comm. and tells everyone it’s time. A Vong assault fleet is moving into the system.

Half the pilots in the new XJ3 X-Wings are Jedi. Luke should be nervous but he’s not. He knows the Force is with him in a way he’s never before experienced. Mara tells him not to be too calm. He wants to tell her there’s nothing to worry about.

The light coming from the bonded Jedi is powerful. Luke wonders if the Jedi Council of old used to focus on the Force like this. She thinks it might have had its drawbacks.

Luke notes the number of enemy in the area and comms the others to call off the yammosk hunt, but Corran warns him there are more ships coming. Two Star Destroyers enter the system, the Mon Mothma and the Elegos A’Kla. Both ships are sending X-Wings and E-Wings into space. Generals Bel Iblis and Antilles explain they are on shakedown cruises and happened by this route when Talon Karrde recommended they stop by here to test some weapons.

Wedge offers to send Rogue Squadron to help the Wild Knights, but they need to stay off the ‘Net. Leia is suspicious that this is some plot of Chief Fey’lya. Saba, on the other hand, would be delighted to fly with the Rogues.

The plan is to save the refugees. Kyp’s Dozen approaches the blockade. The Shockers are out here and so is Luke’s personal squadron, the Sabers, consisting of himself, Mara, several non-Jedi pilots and a few newly trained Jedi pilots. They are flying cover while the Shockers drive off the assault fleet.

Han warns him to be careful as he’s just finished raising three Jedi and doesn’t want to get stuck with another one.

Luke and Mara use the Force to propel bombs toward the ships. Tam Azur-Jamin gets another. Despite the fact that three of his squadron are EV, Kyp is still upset over having to cover the refugees.

Rigard Matl’s X-Wing explodes which confuses the Shockers until Rigard confirms he’s only EV and to tighten up. The battle continues to rage, but the Jedi have lost none of their own thus far.

Meanwhile, the Wild Knights are flying near Talfaglio’s orbital plane. Danni finds a yammosk on a nearby Vong cruiser that seems to be shying away from the battle. The Knights, Rogues, the Falcon and Lady Luck go after it.

It turns out that one of the Star Destroyers is an interdictor, but one that does not have the projector domes on older ships. By timing the attack to coincide with microjumps, they have put the ship out of control. Danni asks Lando to send his droids aboard to confirm the yammosk is still alive.


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chapter 29:

Tsavong Lah is eating when an aide comes to report that the Jedi have attacked at Talfaglio and rescued most of the refugees. The fleet was defeated.

She offers to let him see the visuals, but Lah isn’t concerned. He says the Jedi have allowed their emotions to lead them astray. He wants her to ask the readers of the priest caste if the gods favor attacks to take Borleais and Reecee.

For now, they will bypass Bilbringi to move against Coruscant.


chapter 30:

Nom Anor is recognizable to nearly everyone, but Jacen has no idea who the avian creature coming alongside him is. Yet, he feels he should know.

It turns and looks in Jacen’s direction and then hopes off. Both he and Ganner are uncomfortable to realize they’ve been touched through the Force. Jaina tells them that NRI provided Rogue Squadron with some holograms and identifies the creature as Vergere.

No one really knows whether she is a friend or an enemy. On the one hand, she was part of a conspiracy to assassinate the Jedi, but she also provided the mysterious tears that healed Mara.

Anakin and the rest of the team arrive, with Welk and Lomi Plo in tow. Jacen is almost ashamed when he wishes they’d known who the Force-sensitives being held were before going to rescue them. There are too many warriors for them to fight now.

Lomi suggests they escape into the training course where the voxyn are trained to hunt Jedi. It will be dangerous, but not as bad as the spaceport.

The conversation between Nom Anor, Vergere and the warrior on the field is growing more agitated and the warrior points in their direction. Anakin decides they will have to follow Lomi.

Zekk warns him they cannot bring her with them, much less trust her. Jacen points out they don’t have a choice and it would be wrong to abandon them here.

The group walks through the corridors, planting detonite mines and turning corners. The YVH droid confirms the presence of of a ship, destroys the lead one and then Jacen spots a coral skipper coming by, spreading black mist.

They pull on breath masks while the droid launches and destroys the ship at the cost of its own life. With the loss of the last droid, the group feels more exposed than ever. Anakin senses a voxyn nearby, so they start moving forward again.

Ganner and Alema take care of the beast when it goes after Bela. They start moving through the water. Alema moves quickly, but Welk is slower and jumps beneath the surface. He bobs up a few seconds later, limp.

Tekli looks over him. He is breathing fine, but she can’t go further when everyone senses panic from Alema. They see her lightsaber ignite and she jumps out of the water, telling everyone it was another voxyn.

Ganner and Bela start plunging their sabers to search for it, While Anakin tells Tahiri to take Alema, Tekli and Loma to dry land. They toss grenades into the water and ahead on the trail, getting three voxyn bodies. Jacen senses half a dozen more ahead, some stunned.

Tahiri rushes them to tell them that Nom Anor and Vergere are coming this way with about a hundred warriors. Anakin has them jump up into trees to ambush them. Lomi points out that she and Welk are not without weapons even if they don’t have blasters or lightsabers. If he won’t give her a blaster, she can use the Force.

Over Zekk’s objections, Anakin gives her a weapon, knowing the alternative is for her to use the Dark Side. The attack surprises the Vong, but they are well trained. Jacen doesn’t fire instantly at Nom Anor because he feels it’s wrong to single out someone for killing because it feels like murder.

Vergere uses the opportunity to step out between Jacen and Anor. She locks eyes with Jacen and pulls Anor to safety behind a tree. Jacen uses the Force to calm the voxyn ahead and make them think there’s nothing wrong. They come running, attacking some of the Vong. Jacen feels guilty about causing the creatures’ deaths. He wonders if the presence of Lomi is enough to taint the entire team.

Tahiri congratulates him and Anakin tells Jacen he saved a lot of Jedi today.


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chapter 31:

On Coruscant, in the Solos’ sitting room, Han, Leia, Mara with Ben, the Wild Knights, the Rogues are gathered and it still seems empty. It’s been a year since all five family members were here together.

Leia feels badly because she was partly responsible, sending her family into dangerous assignments. Most of their lives, the children had spent in hiding or in training. Now they are fighting evil as bad as Palpatine.

Han asks her if she’s sure she doesn’t want to be with Luke. There’s a hovercar hanging around in case she does. Leia assures him she’s through with the Senate.

Izal is thrilled that the Holonews is labeling him a hero. Luke is hoping to prevail upon the high command to censor battle images for fear it will give away tactics. Watching Mara with Ben moves Leia to tears as she remembers baby Anakin. Mara tells her that they are all here because of her work. The children know that, too.

Lando calls out that the news is on and they watch Luke address the Senate.

Chief Fey’lya is surprised that Leia is not here since she was invited as well. Luke explains she is occupied. Noting that she is likely worried for her children, Fey’lya assures him that the New Republic is doing everything it can to find them.

Luke knows this. In fact, the New Republic is doing so well that he had to ask Wedge to contact Wraith Squadron and have them slow down. He does tell the Senate he appreciates all efforts to find the missing Jedi. Fey’lya also thanks him for the great victory at Talfaglio.

Viqi Shesh notes that they had the support of two new Star Destroyers which the HoloNet has apparently spread word about throughout the galaxy. She is interested to know how those two just happened to be at the battle. Fey’lya brushes her off by explaining they were on a shakedown cruise.

She presses that that both General Bel Iblis and General Antilles are too experienced to be wasted on such an exercise. She expresses her belief that both generals were influenced by the Jedi to involve themselves in this attack.

Several senators are siding with her as much as are opposing her. Leia had warned him to be surprised by nothing that happens here, but he even doesn’t understand how anyone would see the rescue of the hostages as anything but good.

He realizes that it isn’t really about that, but about alliances and power. He realizes why Leia refuses to set foot here again. Shesh insists that the Jedi disarm which Luke refuses. She then decides that the senate must prohibit the New Republic military from having any contact with the Jedi at all.

Fey’lya tells her that she is exceeding her authority and to return to her seat. Luke realizes how she has managed to turn a happy senate into one divided. Leia had accused her of misconduct in dealing with SELCORE, so she’s hardly trusted by the Jedi now anyway, but, to Luke, this is something more than vengeance. If he hadn’t felt her through the Force, he would have been trying to remove her ooglith masquer right now.

Fey’lya just watches his vidconsole until the hubbub dies down. When Shesh suggests a resolution to identify Jedi as dangerous persons, Fey’lya tells her he will make a statement first. Several holoimages appear. Among them are Generals Antilles, Bel Iblis and Rieekan, as well as Admiral Kre’fey and many other senior commanders. They have contacted him within the last few minutes. Based on what they have to say, he is authorizing the New Republic military to cooperate with the Jedi.

If she feels he is exceeding his authority, she is welcome to call for a vote of no confidence. Otherwise, she can sit down and he’ll talk to her later about her new committee assignments.

Luke turns to him and asks what the generals have to say. The answer is nothing. While the senate was arguing, the Chief of State got a message from NRMOC that the Vong are attacking Borleias. The images of the generals were just file holos.

The cheers in the Solo apartment are ringing off the walls. Lando and Tendra are busy selling YVHs to procurement officers. Nobody mentions that Wedge Antilles, who supposedly was in contact with the Chief of State right now, is sitting next to Han and Leia on their couch.

Leia mentions that Borsk may have bluffed the Senate, but he had no right to issue that directive alone. He didn’t do it because he favors the Jedi. If Shesh finds out what he did, he could lose his post.

Wedge tells her no one is going to contradict him. Fey’lya sent them to help at Talfaglio so they’re certainly not going to betray him to Viqi Shesh. Leia is less accommodating. She thinks the Chief is solidifying his power base and wants the Jedi supporters on his side. Since the Jedi need his support, they’re all in this together which frightens her more than the Yuuzhan Vong.


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chapter 32:

Tsavong Lah has called for the return of his spiritual guide, Harrar, the only one he trusts to advise him on the offerings necessary to ensure victory. He is sacrificing a hand that will be replaced with a claw the shapers have already formed.

He gets a message from a subordinate from his own domain, Maal Lah, who tells him the dovin basal will be on the surface in an hour. The basal will be used to sweep the many planetary defenses of Borleais out of the way.

The yammosk is also feeling gravity pulses from the outsystem side of the planet. It seems to be a code of some kind that looks like it’s coming from a space yacht like the Jade Shadow, a ship known to be Jedi property.

Lah wants to know when it entered the system. Maal Lah doesn’t know but doesn’t think it was there when the Vong entered because they would have established a more secure form of communication with the planet. He wonders if the spy on Coruscant is not being duplicitous.

The warmaster knows that is very possible or that the New Republic knows what she’s up to and is feeding her false information. He decides to investigate what has happened to the yammosk at Talfaglio and issues orders that war coordinators are to be destroyed if they may be captured.

He then has Maal ignore the Jedi vessel while, at the same time, lay gravity traps instead of using the moon. He puts his hand on the cutting block and tells them to take the arm just to be sure.


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chapter 33:

Jaina finds several Imperial walkers in the passage and warns the others. It’s weird to see one inside a Yuuzhan Vong worldship, but flying with the Rogues has taught her not to be surprised by anything.

The others are sitting in watch for more coralskippers which like to fly by and spray more black mist into the air. Lomi tells them that the walkers are here because the trainers use the slaves to operate captured equipment so the voxyn will become accustomed to seeing machines.

Welk tells her that there’s even a huge starliner in a nearby grotto but the converters have been removed. The other machinery don’t have much range either. Jovan tells them that the batteries on the walk still has a charge but the power feeds have been isolated by secretions from some kind of insect nest. Lowie is cleaning it off now.

Alema Rar warns them that, if the insects were created by the Vong, they aren’t harmless. They should watch for a trap. Tahiri complains that Alema is always about the trap theory. Lomi thinks dealing with the machinery is an unnecessary risk since they are almost at the main cloning lab.

Anakin agrees and tells them not to waste time with the walkers when they will be leaving here in a few hours. Jaina can’t help but see her father’s overconfidence in Anakin, wanting to warn him that the strike team is not untouchable.

Lowbacca is pulling equipment from the AT-AT, then slips down into the cockpit and doesn’t reappear. Jaina heads over there with Zekk who realizes that Lowie is still trying to get face masks. Lomi suggests he’s just tired of carrying unconscious Jedi.

Ganner comes over the comm. and says Jovan seems to be sick. Tekli is trying to help him. Lomi thinks they should retreat and go another way. It’s possible the Yuuzhan Vong anticipated this. Ganner reports that a cloud of dust is coming their way.

Jaina and Anakin pull Lowie out of the cockpit which is full of flitnats. Lowie looks like Jovan, swollen and having trouble breathing. Soon, the flitnat bites make Jaina sick. Lomi uses the Force to retrieve the breath masks since the Wookiee went to such trouble to get them.

Anakin tells Ganner they’re going to retreat.


  • I’ve noticed something in this chapter. The team is using code names for each other: Anakin is Little Brother, Jaina is her Rogue Squadron call sign Sticks, Raynar is Merchantman, etc. I assumed they used those in order to keep anyone listening in on their comm. chatter from knowing who was there, yet throughout the chapter, characters addressed each other by name, even over the comlink.

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chapter 34

Mara looks around the Shadow to make sure there are no problems before thanking Cilghal and Danni for taking good care of her on their equipment run to Borleias. Cilghal wishes they’d been more successful with the yammosk.

Luke, Leia and the other leaders of Eclipse walk across the hangar. Mara warns the other two that the group spent the whole trip arguing about how Birleias’s defenses were defeated so quickly. Cilghal points out that the Vong care less for their own lives than those of their enemies.

An alarm sounds, announcing that yorik coral vessels are on the way. Mara hands Ben to Cilghal and asks her to take him to the emergency shelter. It appears that the task force is chasing an Imperial Star Destroyer which might be the Errant Venture. The Venture is supposed to be hiding the students at the rear base on Reecee, not coming to Eclipse.

Because the force chasing it is much smaller than what the Vong would send to attack a Jedi base, Mara thinks something else is going on here. It’s difficult to contemplate while Corran Horn is yelling at the duty officer to hail the Venture, panicking about his children.

He is demanding to be allowed to leave right now to chase the skips off, but Luke and Mara try to explain that they need to get their starfighters formed up. Mirax reminds them that it’s easy for them to be calm when their child is safe. Han counters that they are not the only ones whose children are in danger. Besides, he doesn’t think the Venture is in nearly as much trouble as they think.

Corran has to agree. They watch the Venture fly past, venting debris at Eclipse, then clears a path with its turbolasers. Mara has the debris scanned for life forms, but Corran can already feel his children. The debis is actually made up of escape pods.

Luke has Han oversee the pod retrieval while he launches starfighters squadrons. The Vong force continues to follow the Venture, either wanting it badly or not realizing who the starfighter pilots are.

The Venture launches several A-Wings that it doesn’t have. One of the A-Wing pilots tells her that they are what’s left of the Reecee fleet. The Vong attacked it at the same time as Borleias. No one was able to send a message because the enemy has managed to jam communications somehow.

The pursuing Vong are dispatched quickly, but hopes of seizing a live yammosk on the cruiser are not going to be fulfilled today when Danni senses the war coordinator has gone silent.


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chapter 35:

Viqi Shesh, having thrown off her Jedi tail by changing clothes with an assistant in a refresher, sneaks her way to the Solo family’s apartment and tries to figure out a way to sneak a sensislug inside without the cleaning droid zapping it. She’s already lost half-a-dozen trying to slip one into the NRMOC committee room because the Yuuzhan Vong know less about cleaning droid than she does about the sensislugs.

She is considering other options when Han and Leia appear in the corridor with the Skywalker baby, C 3PO and a nanny droid in tow. She is certain they have come from the secret Jedi base and, after what Skywalker did to her in the Senate, she is eager to please the warmaster by giving him its location.

She flicks the bug on the back of the protocol droid.

Then she hides her face behind several documents, turns the corner and runs into something that surprises her so much, she cries out and drops her paperwork. The Noghri helps her gather her materials. She turns and realizes that the incident has gotten the Solo’s attention. She’s in disguise, of course, but that doesn’t mean anything. Fortunately, Han Solo only asks if she’s alright and invites her in for a minute.

She takes off.


  • The Jedi ability to sense someone’s presence doesn’t perform very well here, does it? The Jedi tailing Viqi Shesh shouldn’t have been fooled by a change of clothing and Leia has certainly met her enough times to not be fooled. I suppose Leia could be distracted by something else right now, but the tail shouldn’t have.

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chapter 36:

The young Jedi have passed through several artificial environments designed to teach the voxyn how to hunt Jedi. They are moving through the slave quarters now. The flitnat victims are fine now, after Tekli realized that the bugs were engineered to promote an allergic reaction.

They fight voxyn so much that it’s not even unusual anymore. Tekli stops to treat a slave dying because of the most recent attack. Anakin notes that coming through here endangers their lives. Lomi reminds him the slaves are already in danger. If he wants to get rid of the voxyn, going this way will get him where he needs to be.

This will have to work because she’s tired of risking her life again and again. There comes a point in which they must consider their own lives. After all, Luke Skywalker didn’t send his Knights to save the Nightsisters after the Vong captured Dathomir. She insists that they call for extraction if they cannot fight their way through this.

Anakin explains that there is no extraction team. They have no ship because it was destroyed on the way in.

It becomes difficult to turn away slaves who approach them, begging for help, offering to fight, trying to hand their children over for rescue. A group of humans push toward them: Yuuzhan Vong in ooglith masquers.

The Jedi ignite their lightsabers as the imposters toss blorash jelly. Eryl gets stuck in it and, while trying to free herself, is it in the face with a razor bug. The battle meld feels shock. Tahiri finds another imposter in a Duro disguise, Raynar is trying to pull Eryl’s body out and gets stuck in the jelly himself. Anakin frees him and Raynar tells him that he cannot feel her in the Force.

Tekli is trying to help Jovan Drark whose chest is open. Anakin races to help Jaina who has a head wound and is using her lightsaber against two imposters. He is pierced with an amphistaff and pulls it out in agony. Using the Force to strengthen him, he battles the warrior until killing him.

Jaina frees herself and grabs Anakin, demanding to know why he came to the rescue. The last of the imposters is down. Tahiri tries to pull his arm away from his chest but he won’t let her see it, insisting it’s just a little cut.


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chapter 37:

Han and Leia backtrack the Errant Venture to see if the Vong that jumped it were protecting something. This is a shortcut that only smugglers know about. They slip into the Black Bantha which is a protostar of cool gas fusing hydrogen.

They look around an asteroid cluster that is clearly not made up of asteroids before Leia thinks that they should get going now. The New Republic is jumping to Reecee in about three hours. He recommends she send a message to her Noghri bodyguards, telling them also to find Lando and Luke.

During the call, she stops and gasps for a moment, then collects herself. She tells them to sen the data to Generals Bel Iblis and Antilles, sending copies to Luke and Lando.

The Falcon sits for a few moments. He starts to ask what’s wrong, but she tells him to ask later and pay attention to his flying now. He hides the ship for the time being for any Vong searchers in the area.

During the wait, she tells him that Anakin has been hurt. He starts activating systems and she asks where they’re going. Han asks where she thinks they’re going. She isn’t sure because she knows he would have never let Anakin go through with the plan if there was another way to get to Myrkr.

He knows there’s not another way. Han asks if Anakin’s injury is bad. She nods. He reminds her that Anakin is not alone. He’s with his siblings who will look after him. For a long time, they sit in the dark until Han blurst out that he wishes he hadn’t said the things he did to Anakin after Chewbacca died.

Over time, they are hailed by a scout vessel. Fearing it’s a trick, they are tempted to stay silent, but they can’t take the risk while their children are doing more. Leia responds and Wedge is relieved to find they are alright.

She sends him the data they’ve gathered here while the Fleet moves in and the battle with the Vong vessels begins. The Falcon sits and observes the battle until the tide turns in the wrong direction.

Han warns them to break off. Wedge tells him they can’t. Admiral Sovv comes on the line and explains he had only 900 ships to bring and the message did ask him to hurry. Eclipse is interested in a yammosk and the Falcon can try to find which ship is carrying one.

Spotting some Vong vessels holding back, Leia determines they haven’t been provisioned yet and sends Sovv there. The fleet takes one down and Luke tells them to come see him now. They’ve got a cargo that Danni needs help with. The yammosk is there.


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chapter 38:

Anakin desperately needs to stop and rest, but he cannot with Nom Anor and his gang pursuing. He cannot stop for anything else now. He’d avoided the trap of the AT-ATs only to fall for the ambush at the slave city that cost them Eryl and Jovan.

Jaina thumps him and tells him to stop blaming himself. This is war, not a training exercise. People die. They move past one of tunnels headed into the warrens of the feral voxyn. Lomi and Welk explains that the some of the voxyn got lost and became feral in the caves, attacking slaves.

The pain is becoming worse. Tahiri rushes to him and calls for help before he collapses. Tekli examines him and determines that he has internal bleeding. The Yuuzhan Vong are coming and they can sense the voxyn with them.

Alema tells Jaina she can buy them the time for Tekli to help Anakin and needs some concussion grenades. She gets hit by thud bugs, but no serious damage is done. She starts blasting Yuuzhan Vong after the concussion grenade is launched.

Jacen tells Anakin she seems to be enjoying it. Anakin starts to argue that she has good reason, but Jacen stops him and insists he’s not being judgmental. He learned, after Centerpoint, that people need to choose for themselves. It’s not that he’s not worried about this war pulling Jedi to the dark side, but he has realized that he’s not the only one who knows the difference between right and wrong.

He’s been trying to apologize for awhile. When the lightsabers ignite, Anakin tries to push himself up, but Tekli won’t let him. She tells him she’s numbed him but he needs a healing trance very soon. His spleen is punctured. It’s been sealed but it won’t get better until he can heal himself.

Eryl and Jovan’s bodies are nowhere in sight. Jacen and Tahiri have to drag Anakin several steps. Another attack kills Bela.

They continue around until they get a huge lead on their pursuers when Alema notices they are circling something that seems to be breathing. The hole goes somewhere big enough to bisect whatever they’re circling. Jacen tells her they can’t do anything right now because the voxyn are protecting it. He’s trying to make them think they need to stay there.

Ganner suggests he make the voxyn leave instead. Lomi is sure the creatures are down there, but it also could be a shortcut. Tunnels like this are near the gate and it’s sure to be guarded.

Anakin realizes there is no way to escape. Jaina tells him they need time for his healing trance. Anakin asks Jacen what he thinks. Jacen takes a thermal detonator out and drops to his hands and knees in front of the tunnel. They all know what they need to do.


  • The mystery of Eryl and Jovan’s bodies. They were being carried for a long while. The Jedi think feral voxyn might have gotten them during one of the fights, but no one really knows. Did they perhaps disappear?

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chapter 39:

Tsavong Lah has a rotting limb. The radank leg the shapers replaced his arm with is overbonding to his elbow and killing the tissue above his amputation point. If this stops at the shoulder, he would be honored as one who sacrificed much. If it doesn’t, he will be dismissed and be shunned as a Shamed One. Since what will happen is likely dependent on how well the battle goes, he will not do anything until he knows he has the blessing of the gods.

He contacts Nom Anor and assumes he is actually pursuing the Jedi and not fleeing from them. Anor confirms he is. Lah reminds him he is not to harm the Solo twins. Then he considers whether or not the time has come to dispense with Viqi Shesh as an asset.

Lord Shimrra contacts him and asks about the fleet he lost. He believes the plan warrants the sacrifice. Shimrra does ask if the grafting is not successful. He saw nothing in Lah’s arm that would displease the gods.

The twins are the key. The gods will give them Coruscant and will be given the twins in return. Lah assures him that the Jedi are being chased. There won’t be an escape this time.


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chapter 40:

Jaina hides within the shadows of the tunnel in the hopes that the Yuuzhan Vong warriors will not spot her. The Jedi have been killing voxyn, but there’s no way to know how many are in here.

The company takes forever to pass, moving warily and looking for booby traps. The strike team is still alive, mobile and able to kill the prototype “queen” voxyn. If Anakin was in one piece, Jaina would feel better. She is both frightened and furious with him for coming to her rescue. It was a typical Anakin thing to do, though she would have done the same for him or Jacen.

He is determined to see the mission through despite what will happen if he does not find time to heal. The battle meld is still there, but she can feel Zekk’s resentment about the Dark Jedi still being with them and the others are still worried about Anakin.

A couple of warriors peer into the tunnel, but don’t seem to spot her. However, a species like Vergere or, perhaps, Vergere herself, peers in next. Something touches her mind through the Force. Jaina levels her blaster at the being who smiles and moves away. Jaina wonders why the voxyn don’t hunt Vergere if she is also a Force wielder.

The company moves on, leaving Jaina believing the creature didn’t even know she was there.

The voxyn tunnel opens into a high corridor lit only by Jacen’s glow stick. Lomi explains that this worldship had spun on an axis but the central brain has lost the ability to control the spin. Jacen can feel more than a dozen voxyn lurking around.

It looks like they’re in an arena or a temple of some kind. They’re not going to be able to sneak around this. Jacen senses that the voxyn are defending their nests. He has an idea but asks Tesar and Krasov first.

They agree. Removing Bela’s equipment, they set a thermal detonator inside her mouth and fix the lightsaber to her hand. They levitate Bela’s body into the Grand Chamber while Jacen has to wonder if he could have done the same to Anakin if the situation was different. More than a dozen feral voxyn rush into the light.

Tesar uses the Force to ignite the lightsaber and slice one of them. The creatures fight each other over the body, leaving the strike team waiting in darkness until the explosion. Jacen soothes the minds of the creatures and has them return to their nests.

Jaina tells him that she saw Vergere who didn’t do anything. She asks how Anakin is. Jacen tells her he doesn’t know and is afraid. Jaina tells him not to be. They won’t let anything happen to him.

It’s hard for Anakin to explain to Tesar and Krasov how sorry he is about the loss of Bela without them apologizing to him for the loss of the others on the team. A voxyn jumps out and snags Krasov’s breath mask, tearing it off. Anakin helps her and Tesar fight it off, but it gets out some acid that burns Krasov’s face. Tekli pulls her aside to treat her.

Rustling is heard. Anakin wants to fight, but Tesar thinks he should stay in the watch position. Even Jaina tells him to pull himself together and stay there. Tahiri argues thatAnakin is team leader and he should assert himself.

Anakin reminds her that he keeps getting people killed. She tells him that nobody believes that, they just want him to get them out of here. The Jedi are down to their last power packs and will have to leave soon. Raynar gets hit by a voxyn tail leaving a barb in his jumpsuit. Tahiri brings out the antidote.

Anakin tosses his glowstick across the arena to see many dozens of the things. The team cannot levitate over that. Jacen thinks that the voxyn don’t want to leave their nests. If the team doesn’t threaten them, he might be able to prevent them from being attacked at all.

Anakin leads them through the archway to the arena. Krasov insists on covering the departure with a thermal detonator. Alema Rar is dragging Raynar along. Anakin lays down covering fire and calls for Krasov, only to be told by Tesar that she’s gone.

He thinks they should hurry.


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chapter 41:

The team makes their way through the arena, trying to avoid nesting voxyn. The thermal detonator in Krasov’s hand gets knocked out and explodes, bringing down tons of yorik coral.

Tenel Ka hollers that Jacen wants everyone to stay down. Anakin drops, but Welk uses the Force to strangle an angry voxyn. Jacen reaches out to soothe the beasts, while Zekk confronts Welk over using the Force to kill the voxyn.

Tahiri notices Anakin is shaking and he dismisses it as the foul smell. Tesar points out that the smell is making no one else shake and picks him up. Tahiri tells Tekli who can examine him only briefly before an angry voxyn tries to belch acid in their direction. They move on with Anakin in Tesar’s arms. The group finally gets near the exit when Raynar looks down and says he sees Eryl. He starts to stagger in that direction, irritating a nearby voxyn when Alema grabs him. The voxyn still gets a couple of good slashes at Raynar. Jacen warns Anakin not to attack it but let it go back to its nest.

Raynar is bleeding, but not severely. They cut their way into another chamber that ends up being full of equipment, including one light freighter.


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chapter 42:

Viqi Shesh has had the sensislug self-destruct and a sleeping agent released in the Solo’s apartment while she and several ooglith-masqued Yuuzhan Vong disguised as maintenance workers prepare to infiltrate the place and kidnap Luke Skywalker’s infant son.

She hasn’t bothered to disguise herself, knowing that the security cams will see through the disguise anyway. After this, Shesh will be considered a wanted woman and her homeworld will become suspect. However, that won’t last long. She’s already proving her worth to the warmaster by setting up a network of contacts who only believe she’s trying to regain her lost prestige.

She’s handed over the secret of Jedi shadow bombs, the technical readouts of the gravity projectors on the Mon Mothma and Elegos A’Kla, as well as the hyperspace mine locations between Borleias and Coruscant. This kidnapping is meant to distract the Jedi and Shesh can only assume that Lah is willing to forfeit her value in providing intelligence to him because he is coming to Coruscant soon.

The greeter droid welcomes them and explains that C 3PO has informed him that the household is napping, but the visitors are welcome to wait and have refreshments. Inside, they are greeted by C 3PO whom Shesh knows very well. The droid explains they have been expected and has them sit down so he can take their drink orders.

She is surprised by the fact that they were expected. The droid produces a glass with a bit of organic material inside and presumes that this belongs to her. She pulls a blaster on him and he drops the glass. A gray-skinned alien appears wearing a breath mask.

It kills four of the warriors before she realizes the situation is hopeless and runs. She races to the balcony where a hovercraft is waiting below when a second Noghri drops to the floor, evading her blaster shot. She leaps over the balcony onto the sled.

Luke, Mara, Danni and Cilghal work to try to communicate with the yammosk. Han contacts them to explain that, while everything is fine, they need to know there was some excitement at their place.

Viqi Shesh showed up with a squad of infiltrators. Most are dead and Shesh jumped off the balcony into an escape vehicle. NRI is working on it now.

Luke suggests Mara go to Coruscant to see their son. She would like to see him him, too, but she also must protect him and the best way to do that is to keep the Vong away from Corsucant.

Luke can feel the dark before the nova is here, too.


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chapter 43:

They’ve named the ship the Tachyon Flier and Lowbacca assures them it will be ready to launch before the queen is attacked down. Em Teedee assures Anakin that they’re going home and he will survive after all.

Anakin tells them to maintain comm. silence. It’s unkown whether or not Nom Anor knows this is where his prey has gone, but Anakin feels an urgency. He must know they’ve disappeared by now. He may also suspect where they’ve gone and gotten there already.

Inside the ship, Lowie tightens the last bolt and initiates a test. Raynar is secured in crash webbing. He goes to the hatch when he hears banging. Lomi Plo tells him that the others are cornered. He runs down the ramp where Welk confronts him with a blaster.

They are leaving and taking the ship. Lowie can stay here and get killed with his friends if he wants. He and Lomi Plo stun the Wookiee and tell him it could have been worse. They could have set their weapons to kill.

The others see the ship headed up and try to contact Lowie immediately. They know something’s wrong. Jaina reaches Em Teedee who hasn’t realized that Lowie isn’t on the ship. He explains that he’s being stolen by Lomi and Welk. The signal cuts off.

Ganner tells Anakin that they should never have brought them along with them. Anakin answers that they should have because the team wouldn’t have made it this far without them. Tahiri is confident they’ll find another way off the planet.

They watch Nom Anor’s ship flying up in pursuit. Alema hopes he catches them. Tenel Ka hopes not because Raynar is still aboard. Anakin tells Jaina to keep a channel open to Raynar in the hopes they can hear what happens to him.

They move forward to finish the mission when they are attacked by guards. Jaina tells Anakin to go back and find Lowie so he can hole up and heal himself. Anakin refuses to abandon the mission now. Jaina reminds him that he is injured and is only going to slow them down, but Anakin knows things are far too gone now.

He is going. They get to a living hedge and cut their way through it, then get hit with bugs. A strong ripple in the Force comes through but they can’t be certain if it’s Raynar or not. Jaina vows they will pay for that.

Inside the grashal, a dark fog hangs. Anakin knocks a razor bug out of the way and can sense the Yuuzhan Vong everywhere. They battle the warriors. Tahiri comes hurtling out of a breach and Anakin calls for Tekli. Tahiri tells him she’s with Tesar who is out cold. He tells her to take Tesar and go.

She stretches to kiss Anakin and then catches herself and says she’ll wait til he comes back. He smiles and tells her soon. He slowly runs to the primary entrance, and gets an ampthistaff in his wound the pops the stiches. He vomits blood and uses the Force to get to his feet and run.

At first, he thinks he sees Lowbacca, then realizes there is an imposter here. Inside the door membrane, he pulls a detonator. The door rolls upward and Yuuzhan Vong rush through. Anakin fills himself with the Force, drawing it to himself with the love for his family and friends, thorugh faith in the Jedi and in the future. It fills him with power and purpose, devouring him. He can feel himself becoming the Force and the Force becoming him. He rises, his body full of light because his cells are burning out. He has no more pain and is aware of everything in the chamber from the bugs to the heat to the Jedi and even the Vong. It’s as if the Force has expanded to include them.

He runs and fires, blasting feet and ropping warriors before they can rise. The voxyn queen is escaping. Anakin tells Jacen to take everyone after her. Jaina warns him she can’t get there. He assures her the path will clear and heads forth, aware that the Force is burning through him because his body cannot contain it all.

Anakin pushes through the line of Vong, sending his sister through the Force to hurry. He uses his blaster until it no longer works, then pulls his lightsaber. The Force is escaping his body as he is pierced by amphistaffs in three places. The Force scalds the poison.

He sees his brother trying to pull their sister away, both weeping. He tells them they have to go because he can’t hold them for long. He finds a tissue transfer station and realizes that there is enough voxyn tissue to clone a million. His cells start to rupture. He thumbs the detonator and sends to his siblings to go.

He tosses the weapon, tells Jacen to take Jaina and give Tahiri a kiss for him. His body is falling apart and he cannot flip. The imposter stands up and Anakin realizes it’s Nom Anor. He uses the Force to send the detonator Anor’s way but lives long enough to see the executor run away.


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chapter 44:

The Jedi are hearing a report from Kenth Hamner who is certain that the Yuuzhan Vong are not coming for Eclipse. They left Borleias with a huge fleet. Luke projects other areas when his connection to Anakin strengthen, then dims out. Finally, it’s gone.

Luke begins to shake. Mara grabs him and tells him to hold on because Ben could feel this. He slams his hand down on the holoprojector. Mara tells the startled group that it’s Anakin.

Corran asks what they should do. Mara answers they need to prep their battle wings and head to Coruscant.

Han and Lando are in the Solo’s apartment while the former argues with General Yeel about whether or not the shields will hold. After all, Viqi Shesh was on NRMOC for two years. They can’t take chances.

Even when offered free YVH droids, Yeel won’t put new technology on the generating stations until they are evaluated.

He is cut off by the inhuman cries coming from down the hallway. Han realizes it’s Leia and rushes down the corridor to find the two Noghri bodyguards completely helpless to act. The Orbital Defense commander is on her vidscreen, confused and calling for her.

Lando appears at the door and asks what’s going on. The Noghri explain that she was speaking with the general when she suddenly stopped and collapsed, screaming. Leia can barely speak, only able to get out a few guttural sounds when Han realizes that Anakin is dead.

He uses his blaster to blow the comm. unit up so they don’t have to keep listening to the confused General, then starts blasting everything else in sight, sending Lando flying out of the way and asking what the matter is. Han tells him that their boy is dead.

One of the Noghri has to tackle him and lock his blaster arm in his grasp. Leia runs from the room, Ben is crying, Lando tells Han that he’s sorry. Han can’t believe the things he said to Anakin which probably drove him to try to prove himself.

Lando tells Han that Anakin died being a Jedi Knight and doing what Jedi do. He didn’t do it to prove anything to Han or to make up for Chewbacca’s death. Han knows this but he’s angry and it feels good to be angry at someone. Lando feels bad because he was the one who turned the group over to the Vong in the first place.

He knows that Anakin didn’t blame himself for Chewie and he knew how much his father loved him. Han knows this, too, but he feels horrible at how he’d let his family drift apart while he wallowed in self-pity after Chewbacca’s death. Leia cannot hold the family together this time.

C 3PO appears in the room, fretting because Leia has the baby and won’t let him go. Lando starts to go, but Han stands up and says he will. He has to be strong.

Walking back to the nursery, he finds Leia holding the baby to her shoulder, patting him and swaying. Han shooes the Noghri aside, steps to her and slowly removes the baby from her arms, handing him off to Lando.

Then he embraces her and tells her he’ll always be here.


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chapter 45:

Admiral Sovv comes over the comm.. Mara tells Luke to stop beating himself up over Anakin, especially before going into battle. He tells her that he can’t help thinking he let them go on a suicide mission. Leia is in shock and he knows that Mara is uncomfortable leaving their child with two grief-stricken parents. She is going to Coruscant after the battle.

The fleet is gathered out in the OboRin Comet Cluster after several masters felt trouble coming. Talon Karrde passed along that a Yuuzhan Vong assault fleet had left Borleias around the same time. Sovv recalled many outlying fleets.

Luke gives instructions to his pilots. When the fighters launch, Danni tells them she’s located a yammosk. They’ll find out which vessel it’s on soon. The fighting begins fast and furious when Danni designates a cruiser in the area as the target.

Corran reports that there’s a reading of ion tails at the front of the fleet. The Vong do not use ion drives. Mara wonders if the Peace Brigade is along for the ride. Luke feels two or three million beings. That’s too many for a crime cartel. It’s possible a slave army is among them.

The squadrons pair up to take on the cruiser and its escort. During the battle, Drif is killed. The escort goes down but it engulfs several of Kyp’s Dozen. Rigard calls in that their circuits are fried. Luke calls out to the Dozen that, if they can hear him, get out of the battle.

As the attack on the Yuuzhan Vong fleet continues, Luke experiences a terrible disturbance in the Force. A few minutes later, it happens again. The Wild Knights unleash their Glowball again and drop a durasteel block just as they did at Arkania. Just as then, a frigate flashes out of existence.

Corran patches in a civilian emergency channel and they can hear individual voices begging them not to fire. There are refugee ships among the Yuuzhan Vong fleet. The starfighters continue their assault, using new targeting systems to fire more efficiently.

Danni reports that the yammosk is quiet but still alive. Luke asks what part of the vessel but Corran tells him that he’s already fired his shots for the day. Luke warns him and Mara that there are already too many dead heroes out there today to leave this undown.

Luke sends everyeone else out while he takes one more shot. Mara and Tam insist on going with him. Sovv is on the comm. demanding a cease fire so that innocent people aren’t butchered. Bel Iblis argues that they are not butchering them, the Vong are and the New Republic forces are trying to shoot around them.

Corran pops in and tells Luke that the Vong are already pushing through the comet cluster. Kre’fey is falling back so he won’t have to shoot through the refugees. Bel Iblis will have to join him soon before he’s cut off. Wedge is two minutes behind schedule because the battle is moving toward Coruscant.

Luke answers that Wedge can surprise them if the yammosk is dead. He flies his ship through a breach in the cruiser and fires before pulling out of out. Without the yammosk, the coralskippers are in disarray. He tells the others they have time to find Wedge, refuel and return.


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chapter 46:

Alema Rar had commandeered disgusting food from a Vong captive, but they’ve eaten worse. The strike team is hiding in a one-room cell deep inside the worldship, trying to stay out of sight. Nom Anor is nowhere in sight. Tesar is scouting out the queen’s location.

Jaina won’t eat and tosses her bowl against the wall. He tells her they can’t give up their mission now. She accuses him to leaving their brother to the Vong. Jacen reminds her they didn’t have a choice. Tenel Ka agrees. Everyone heard Anakin command them to leave and everyone knows why.

They get into a brief argument that nearly turns violent when Zekk stands in and tells them to calm down. A growl on their comlinks makes Jacen think Tesar is reporting back, but it’s Lowie. The Wookiee groans and apologizes for letting the ship be stolen.

Jaina tells him to keep watching and stay there. She will be there as soon as she can. She tells the others she’s going back for Anakin’s body. Alema and Zekk stand to go with her.


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chapter 47:

Leia sits on the couch and hold Ben. The war looks the same on the holovid as it does from the cockpit of the Falcon. She watches the Vong fleet pressing forward while hiding behind refugee ships despite being assaulted from the rear by General Antilles’s Fleet. They are approaching Coruscant.

She knows she should be angry or frightened, but all she can do is hold the baby and feel his warmth. As a refugee ship is destroyed, the war correspondent reports that General Bel Iblis is ignoring orders to fall back and there are rumors that Admiral Sovv has relieved him of command, something he is also ignoring. Some of Admiral Kre’Fey’s group has left to join Bel Iblis.

When the pundits come on to argue over whether or not Bel Iblis is doing more harm than good, Han notes it’s a mess regardless. Leia doesn’t answer. His constant presence is irritating her but she can’t handle the emotional strain of telling him so.

The scene switches to the hangar of a Star Destroyer where the Jedi starfighters are docked and exhausted Jedi emerge. Casualties are high. No one has seen any of Kyp’s Dozen since the battle began.

Han changes to the Senate feed so Leia won’t have to watch her brother and sister-in-law facing danger. Leia just sits, wishing he hadn’t because she truly wants to feel something other than the hollowness in her heart.

Admiral Sovv’s hologram is demanding the Senate confirm his dismissal of General Bel Iblis and the others who disobeyed orders. Chief of State Fey’lya asks if he has another way to keep the enemy back and suggests he stop interfering.

He knows how many lives will be lost if they keep firing through the refugee screens, but he also knows how many lives will be lost if those same ships are pushed into Coruscant’s planetary shields. He orders Sovv to fire through the refugee ships directly if necessary.

When Sovv refuses, Fey’lya relieves him of command. The Senate is in an uproar. Many of Sovv’s supporters, including Admiral Kre’fey, General Rieekan and Commodore Brand, protest. Han realizes this isn’t much better and offers to pop in one of Garik Loran’s old holos.

She shakes her head and tells him this is fine. She can focus on the disintegration of the New Republic military to keep her mind off her pain. The comm. unit beeps but Leia will not let him go answer it.

C 3PO reports that Chief of State Fey’lya is on the comm. requesting to speak with Leia. Han takes the comm. and tells him that she can’t talk right now and accepts sympathy over what may have happened to Anakin. Fey’lya asks if Leia could be persuaded to say a few words on his behalf to some of her old military friends. After all, he’s been very supportive of the Jedi recently and has many large droid orders pending with Tendrando Arms.

Leia, realizing that this is what Anakin gave his life for, just starts crying.

Han tells Fey’lya he’s on his own.

Cilghal collects some growth from one of the X-Wings as Kyp Durron sneezes. He has spent several dozen hours zipped in his EV suit with a crack in his canopy. She looks over the fungus and tries to figure out what it is.

She asks him how long he’s been sneezing. He tells her since he unzipped his suit. She realizes that they wanted it to produce spores. An alarm sounds that they have an incoming yorik coral vessel.

Kyp runs to join the bustle even though the Errant Venture is in orbit and one Vong frigate can’t destroy Eclipse. Of course, this means the secret is out. She thinks the fungus is intended to track the starfighters to the secret base.

She starts working again on the yammosk and analyzes the data. As several ships begin flying in for a suicide run. The yammosk tells her to destroy it at all costs. She doesn’t have time to disconnect the data feeds. She grabs the paperwork and races out of the lab.


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chapter 48:

Mara can feel her son sleeping on Coruscant in his aunt’s home. There are reinforcements coming, but the advance continues.

Wedge comes on the line and tells everyone to hang on. They’re going to make the Vong stop and pay attention. Aboard the Bail Organa, General Bel Iblis asks for an open channel.

Lando is at Orbital Defense Headquarters wanting to drop for cover and crawl back to the Lady Luck. He comms Tendra and asks if she’s finished with the weapons platform yet. She tells him she’s making the last delivery now and is going to drop the extra at the Imperial Palace.

He urges her to hold off and he’ll meet her at the rendezvous point. The two YVH droids Lando has delivered are summoned in. In space, Fleet Group Two has gotten through the refugee screen. The ships are accelerating forward.

When a group gets through the minefield unimpeded, General Ba’tra demands to know who deactivated them. He then asks if Lando’s droids deal with traitors the way they do with infiltrators.

Lando asks if he can deactivate all the mines and let everyone through. The general tells him it won’t save the hostages. Lando knows this, but at least the New Republic won’t be the ones doing the killing.

Over time, Bel Iblis and his followers are knocked out of the battle. Admiral Kre’fey doesn’t engage until he meets up with Wedge. Mara is finding it hard to believe he would shrink from battle like this.

Every so often a refugee ship breaks off in an attempt to overpower the captors but it always crashes into the shield or is blasted out of space. Danni finds another yammosk. Killing the previous ones have taken so many of their forces that Luke is down to two squadrons from Eclipse.

Luke tries to get authorization to attack, but Wedge won’t allow it. Mara asks if she can speak to Coruscant civil communications and gets ahold of Han. She tells him the planetary shields are coming down soon and asks him to get Ben off the planet.

Han assures her that Threepio is already packing. Leia is hanging on which is all she can do right now. Wedge has the starfighters stop pursuing when they reach the mine shell. The capital ships cease firing and the mines start locking onto enemy ships. The Vong vessels take at least one hit each, but a number of them aren’t really damaged significantly.

Those that are start dropping toward the planetary shields. The cruiser carrying the fourth yammosk is blinking slowly, intact and moving toward the sunny side of the planet. Wedge tells Luke he’s authorized to attack now.


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chapter 49:

Jaina finds Lowbacca in the Vong mortuary where their dead are incinerated. She watches the mourners in front of pits as priests chants prayers to the gods and burn the pieces of their loved ones. Jaina hopes they didn’t do that to Anakin.

Vergere is nearby, wielding Anakin’s lightsaber in a practice routine. They watch the ritual for a long time. Jaina coms the others and tells them to blast them when Anakin’s body is out where it can be seen. They’ll jump down, get him, commandeer the shuttle nearby, grab Jacen is leave.

They pick their targets but Zekk stops her from firing at Vergere. Jaina turns on him and he tells her that Vergere has done no harm to them. Jaina thinks that the company she keeps is enough. Jaina jumps down into the pit and lands between Tahiri and Lowbacca.

She sends them to get the shuttle while she and Alema get Anakin.

The warrior carrying the husk cuts it open and threatens to give Anakin back to them in pieces if they don’t stay back. Jaina pushes the body back with the Force and sends it floating to Alema.

Opening up her anger, her emotions empower her in the way Brakiss and Tamith Kai had tried to encourage her to do. When the warrior tosses his coufee at her, she uses her energy to bat it away and then releases Force lightning at him.

Vergere stands there, with Anakin’s lightsaber and looks dismayed. Jaina tosses lightning at her and Vergere starts to deflect but turns and flees instead. Alema takes Jaina’s arm and tells her they need to go.

The shuttle is secure and everyone is aboard but them.


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chapter 50:

Jacen hopes he has found the voxyn. It feels like it’s been tracked through the entire worldship. Tekli thinks the reading is good. Jacen declines any second testings as it would expose them. It’s time to kill it.

Tesar leaps onto the wall and climbs to the ceiling. Through the Force, Jacen senses something’s wrong. Tenel Ka touches his arm, sensing it, too. Jacen hisses to Tesar to wait.

Tesar drops back, confirming that something big is landing. They were walking into a trap. It seems like an awfully simple one, though. Tesar offers to look more closely. When he returns, he explains that a frigate analog resembling the one that brought Nom Anor is here. It’s missing its shuttle.

There is no sign of an assault company, so whoever arrived must have already left and been in small numbers. As they contemplate how to get at the voxyn, a group of Yuuzhan Vong emerge, followed by Vergere wearing Anakin’s equipment belt.

This upsets Jacen who is now second-guessing everything he’s done on this mission. Anakin might still be alive if Jacen had been less worried about making up with him. If Jaina cannot handle this, how can he?

He stares at Vergere, angry, but not enough to kill her. He doesn’t even want to kill the voxyn queen. It won’t bring Anakin back.

When Vergere activates Anakin’s comm; Tenel Ka turns Jacen’s off quickly. They cannot tell what’s going on, but soon, Vergere, Nom Anor and a shaper are arguing. It appears to have to do with Jaina who seems to have caused a lot of damage. Whatever it is, this frigate’s arrival will make is hard to kill the queen.

Cilghal and Kyp bring her gravitic amplitude modulator across the deck of the Errant Venture, encountering Booster Terrick who is unhappy that the Jedi are bringing junk aboard a ship already packed with refugees. Cilghal assures him he’ll be happy enough to have it installed on his ship when he sees what it can do.

A sudden boom gets everyone’s attention. Jaina is at work again. Jacen tries to reach out to her, only to get the same cold anger. She continues to fire missles as yorik coral collapses around the hive. Jacen thinks they should get into their vac suits.

Tesar is surprised when Jaina comes around again after two passes fail to destroy her target. The frigate finally fires back at her. He fears that she will be lost, then decides to risk a message to Jacen over the comm.. Even if the Vong are listening, he cannot communicate what he needs to say without speaking to him.

Tenal Ka grabs the comlink off Jacen’s throat, reminding him that Jaina can bring them down. His way will get them all killed. Jacen isn’t even sure he knows anymore. He reaches out to Jaina again, feels her anger and is shut out quickly. He doesn’t know if she’s dead or not.

When Nom Anor, the shapers and the warriors move away, Jacen’s comm. sounds. He answers and Vergere tells him not to fear her. She doesn’t have time to explain if they want their quarry.


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chapter 51:

At the Eastport Docking Facility, the Solos avoid falling fireballs. They find the line to get in hopelessly long as two guards check everyone’s identichip. They give Han a hard time about the baby not having one before telling him they can only take living beings with them, not droids. Han assures the guards he’s taking his own ship, but they maintain he should be using his space to allow additional sentients on board.

The YVH droid shoots both guards before apologizing for not recognizing them sooner. The ooglish masquers ooze off of them.

Viqi Shesh looks at the boy she’s arranged to have altered to look like a 12-year old Anakin Solo, reminds him that he will do what she asks if he wants his family to have passage with her off of Coruscant.

Leia is unhappy with the docking master who has allowed twice as many people to wait to board a vessel as it will fit. They cannot go the Falcon which is nearby without being mobbed. She hopes there is enough time. Government vessels are leaving as its officials abandon their posts. It will only be time before the Vong stop harassing the military and go after the civilians. Already senators are asking for and getting military escorts to their homeworlds. This is the government she built and for which her son sacrificed his life.

A woman approaches, gives her name as Welda and introduces her son, Tarc. Her boyfriend had flown with Rogue Squadron but was killed at Kalarba where Jaina was injured. Han feels bad for not remembering the guy. They express their sympathy for Welda’s loss. She assumes the baby is Ben Skywalker and quickly corrects her error when told that’s not something they want to publicize.

They offer to bring her and Tarc along. As they get to the Falcon, however, they find containment fluid all over the floor. A Gotal tells them that the umbilicals were disconnected when the berthing fees weren’t paid.

That’s when they notice that Welda is gone.

A metallic clank hits the floor, Tarc pushes his way through the crowd and the YVH droid announces a thermal detonator has been dropped. The crowd is more intent on boarding than on the safety of others. Leia tries to manage Ben and free her weapon hand when Welda appears with a blaster. One of the Noghri bites her while the other goes after Tarc. Welda drives a shiv into the Noghri’s body.

When Leia parries her blaster bolts with a lightsaber, the ooglith masquer rips off and reveals Viqi Shesh. Viqi hurls her shiv at Ben, but Leia blocks it. It gives enough time for her to take off. Leia hands Ben to C 3PO, ordering him to get the baby on the Falcon and ignoring his protests.

She chases after Shesh, finding her ship in the docking bay next to the Falcon. It is already secured, so she cuts through with her lightsaber. A hole already cut through another wall to the Falcon’s bay allows Han to shoot, too.

Not willing to let someone who betrayed the New Republic and cost the lives of many Jedi, possibly even Anakin, she throws her lightsaber, blade on, at Shesh who throws herself down on the boarding ramp of her ship. The blade skips across Shesh’s back, causing her to scream, before she is pulled aboard the ship.

Leia returns to the Falcon where the Noghri Meelwah waits with Tarc in wrist restraints. Tarc tells her to do what she wants with him. His mother and sisters are safe aboard Shesh’s shuttle.

Leia would rather not bring along a child designed to look like her son in an attempt to harm them, but she’s not leaving him behind. At least C 3PO and the baby are on board the ship. Han tells her he secured the door to keep out the mob after she ran off.

That’s when they get a comm. from C 3PO who is on the departing Byrt with the baby. He had no choice but to find shelter when they couldn’t get aboard the Falcon. But he’s being threatened with a restraining bolt.


  • So how quickly did that kid get surgically altered to look like Anakin? Shesh would have had to have put together this plan quickly, right? She would have had to have come up with an idea of grabbing a kid during the chaos of the evacuation, getting his cooperation to be turned into an Anakin look-alike and arrange to get him close to the Solos. That’s counting on an awful lot considering what’s going on around her.

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