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"Dark Journey": Book 10 in the New Jedi Order

chapter discussion thread

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#26
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 25:
 
Harrar’s priestship and military escort approaches Hapes in search of their stolen frigate.  The yammosk finds the signature of the stolen ship as it ventures out of Hapan space.  It seems to be coming directly into their path. 
 
Khalee Lah tells his crew that they are hunting to engage the would-be Trickster who is hiding in the shadow of Yun-Harla.  He is told the ship is approaching with one small escort ship.
 
Kyp emerges from hyperspace to the sound of his controls flashing warnings.  He is directly between two flanks of Vong ships.  They will figure out he’s not flying the stolen frigate soon.  Two coralskippers move in as a second X-Wing appears.  Jaina tells him to get out of here.  He needs to turn off the gravitic transmitter, find a ship about the size of Trickster and strafe it.  She will come in behind.
 
They sweep toward a frigate and Kyp leans on the trigger, causing the smaller lasers to hit their mark.  Jaina fires concussion missles after him.  Then they take off, the seed planted.
 
Khalee Lah tells Harrar that they have secured the ship.  They go to the docking bay and open up the ship when a Yuuzhan Vong warrior comes down the ramp and demands to know what’s going on.  He and Lah are both astonished to see each other.
 
Harrar tells him to go get another coralskipper.  They need to look at this one.  Obviously, this is not the right ship and maybe none of the ones they’ve encountered so far have been.  Lah assures him that one of them eventually will be.  He is adamant they will find Jaina Solo and sacrifice her.
 
Jaina warns her pilots that a Yuuzhan Vong fleet is heading out of hyperspace.  She recognizes one as a priestship she’d seen on Myrkr. During the battle, the Vong regularly turn their weapons on whatever ship is transmitting Trickster’s signal.  They lose a couple of coralskippers that way. 
 
Lowie hollers about a glitch.  Jaina yells back that the signal can’t be broadast to more than one ship at one time.  Fortunately, three skips receiving the signal hit each other and explode.
 
Harrar is becoming terrified.  This Jedi twin is performing impossible feats, evading their best pilots and destroying skips.  She is nowhere and everywhere.  The crew are uttering the name Yun-Harla with awe.  The only reasonable thing to do is retreat.
 
The survivors arrive and celebrate.  Jagged Fel approaches her and tells her she deserves the title of commander after that.  Shawnkyr isn’t sure that applies to Jaina and pulls Fel away.  Jaina isn’t too concerned about the Chiss female.  She and the other pilots are celebrated as heroes that night, but Jag does not attend the ceremony.  Jaina dances, but wonders why he said what he said and why she cares.
 
Luke Skywalker watches his sleeping son and gets a feeling of dread.  He knows there’s nothing immediately endangering his son and this isn’t the aura of the future.  He wonders if this is just something every parent experiences.
 
Leia and Han come in.  She tells Luke parenting is terrifying normally, but especially so for children brought into dangerous times.  Besides, whoever wants to hurt Ben would have to go through Mara. 
 
Mara laughs and quips that she can’t imagine how Han would react if someone pushed their way onto Jaina.  His face changes and he remembers the fight.  He punched Ta’a Chume’s ambassadors because they came to offer Isolder’s hand in marriage to Jaina, not Leia.
 
If they didn’t try to talk Jaina out of marrying Isolder, the Hapans won’t turn over the refugees.  Mara doesn’t think Jaina would agree to such a trade.  Leia admits she almost did herself once.  However, it would appear that Teneniel Djo is in a lot of trouble now.
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#27
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 26:
 
Ta’a Chume tells Jaina she did well but the Vong will be back.  She thinks it’s time Jaina knew everything.  She wants her daughter-in-law off the throne and her son to marry someone capable of leading.  That person is Jaina. 
 
Surely, she feels frustrated at living in her mother’s shadow.  She must have noticed that Tenel Ka has become hostile toward her. 
 
Jaina doesn’t want to offend, but she’s not interested.  She’s too young, for one.  Ta’a Chume reminds her that she is 18 years old which is about the same age her mother was when she set her sights on an older man.  Jaina doesn’t know about Hapan customs, but she will not be told who she marries, not by her parents or by her friends.  Ta’a Chume can respect that and asks her to consider it.
 
Jaina goes to find Jag and begins to worry because she doesn’t know what will happen if Teneniel Djo doesn’t step aside or how far Ta’a Chume will go to get her way.
 
She can’t find Jag or anyone who knows where he is.  She considers reaching out with the Force to find him, but that’s never been her strongest ability.  Jaina decides to seek answers in a Jedi trance.  Her images shows a small girl in a flight suit holding an unfamiliar lightsaber in her hand.  She sees the spectre of Darth Vader approaching her and realizes she’s reliving the moment at the Shadow Academy when she fought Jacen.
 
When she strikes Vader down, she’s sure that she will see her brother dead at her feet but it is Kyp Durron.  His lips move but she cannot hear him.
 
She wakes up to find Kyp there and asks why he brought her out of the trance.  He thinks he knows what she’s going through.  Jaina admits she has never had issues with the philosophy of the Force the way Jacen and Anakin did.  She’s always done what’s needed to be done.  Now she has to question and choose. 
 
Telling him about Ta’a Chume’s offer, she assures Kyp she’s not considering it.  However, she knows the queen mother crosses lines that Jaina cannot cross.  Kyp tells her she has to decide where her boundaries are.  Jaina admits she has crossed a few without paying attention.  She wonders if she should back out now or move forward to see where it will take her.
 
He knows she will continue not matter what it costs.  She doesn’t see any other way.  Kyp asks if she found the answers she was seeking. She starts to say no, but gets a vision of Jagged Fel tangled in a maze that appears to resemble the lower levels of the palace. 
 
She can also feel his presence in the Force which really shouldn’t be possible for her.  The only way she could connect to her own twin brother at the moment of his death came through the pain of others.  Tenel Ka, on the other hand, could feel it well.  Jaina realizes she’s connected to Jag the way Tenel Ka had to Jacen.  She takes off in the direction of her vision.
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#28
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 27:
 
She and Kyp find him in a small room inside a deep maze.  Kyp senses her heightening emotions and knows she expects Jag to do the same.  But Jagged Fel looks at his rescuers with disinterest.  Apparently, he sees Jaina only as a scruffy rogue.
 
She picks the locks before hearing footsteps of guards.  Both Jedi leap above and grab a tangle of pipes, then jump down on the guards when they arrive.
 
She asks Jag how he got down here.  He explains that Shawnkyr warned him that calling her a commander implies that his pilots would be in the service of Hapes’s future queen.  They are all under the impression that she is going to marry Prince Isolder.  
 
Jaina assures Jag that she has no intention of doing that.  Jag says the queen’s retainers were convinced enough that she is that they were trying to get rid of obstacles.  He had gone to find those who’d met with her father to try to negotiate a marriage because he felt that the intent was to provoke Han in order to either eliminate or subdue him. 
 
Jag himself was stopped because he realized that, if Jaina did consent to marry Isolder, there would be only one other obstacle in the way. He was on his way to warn Tenel Ka that her mother is in danger.
 
Khalee Lah laments that the warriors here are beginning to voice doubt now.  They believe Yun-Harla is mocking them through Jaina Solo.   It gets worse when a piece of debris from a ship destroyed in the battle was affixed with a small metal device that contains the mark of Yun-Harla.
 
Harrar realizes the brilliance of the device.  It changes the gravitic voice so that any shipped marked will appear to be a different ship. This is why they haven’t been able to find their stolen frigate.  Khalee Lah wants all ships in the sector to converge and vows to have this Jedi is he has to leave the Hapes Cluster in ashes.
 
The two Jedi and Jag race through the palace, pushing aside guards with Force Lightning until they reach the chambers of the queen mother.  Tenel Ka is there, holding her mother’s hands.  She tells them that it was poison.  Jaina promises to find out who was responsible.
 
Tenel Ka will not allow her mother’s life to be tainted by Jaina’s quest for vengeance.  When the alarm sounds, she holds out her hands and shows a large emerald ring.  A hologram appears showing five large starships with smaller vessels.  Tenel Ka tells Colonel Fel that she is placing Hapes’s fleet at his disposal.
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  • It would appear that Force Lightning, which has always been considered by the Jedi as a Dark Side power, is being wielded quite liberally by Jaina and, I presume, Kyp.  He’s surely with her.



#29
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 28:
 
Ta’a Chume tells the Hapan Court that someone must take command until a new queen is enthroned.  Some of her supporters shout their pleasure that the Jedi Witch is dead.  Ta’a Chume shuts them down by reminding them that Hapan law demands the death of any who raise a hand against the Royal Family.  For all her faults, Teneniel Djo was one of them and her guards are gathering the traitors up now.
 
She is asked about the refugees which she considers expendable. 
 
The crowd parts to let two young women walk forward.  Jaina and Tenel Ka walk together toward the old queen who hands the crown to Prince Isolder.  Jaina realizes that Isolder may offer her the crown now and Ta’a Chume expects her to seize the power it represents. Jaina knows, however, that she will ultimately meet Teneniel Djo’s fate and Tenel Ka would have to assume the throne so that no one else will die in her place.
 
Tenel Ka drops to her knees in front of her father who places the crown on her head.  She rises and tells the crowd that she is a warrior. Her mother saw the Vong threat and prepared a fleet in the Transitory Mists to replace what was lost at Fondor.  They are on the way. She urges them to go and fight.
 
She and Jaina race off to battle together.  Jag gives them a formal bow and starts to move off, too, when Kyp tells him that Jaina never intended to marry Prince Isolder.  Jag understands that he is, after all, not a Jedi.  Kyp doesn’t think that’s the issue.  He believes that Jaina would only take a man who can outfly her seriously enough to man.
 
Noting that there aren’t too many men who could fit that bill, Jag urges Kyp to watch her back.
 
Kyp heads to Jaina and tells her not to do what she’s planning.  He thinks she’s about to toss her life away in a sacrifice worthy of her brother.  He can’t let Anakin’s secrets die with her.
 
She tells him to get out.  He won’t until she tells him what she’s got in mind.  She jumps up and raises her hand, dark lightning crackling at him to push him against the wall.  To her surprise, he dispels it.  He reminds her if he can summon it, he can also stop it.  She’s not the only one who took the path of least resistance.
 
She draws her lightsaber and tells him to go outside.  He walks down the ramp and, when he touches the dock, she backs into the ship, shuts off her lightsaber and shuts the door.
 
On the Trickster, the cognition hood no longer feels alien, but familiar and comfortable.  She uses the villip to contact Tsavong Lah and taunts him, then opens the second villip to contact the priestship.  Her bangs part to reveal the symbol of Yun-Harla on her forehead.
 
The warrior and the priest are furious with the young warrior vowing to bring her in.  She shuts both villips at once.
 
She floods herself with the dark energy and directs the battle.  Soon, her conection to the the ship is too powerful.  She finds herself barely conscious and falls back to the Shadow Academy duel again.  She fights Darth Vader again, but does not win.  Instead, the mask comes off, revealing Kyp Durron who holds out his hand to bring her to the light.  She feels the joy and pain of his road to redemption.  She knows that he cannot be right.  She cannot be the one to take the path to a different understanding of the Force.  She also finds it ironic that Kyp would be the one to try to save her. 
 
He urges her to come back and they’ll figure this out together.  She battles back to the light and finds herself facing Khalee Lah before her body takes its toll on her.  A sthe light becomes focused, she hears a voice calling through her comm., urging her to fall back.  She wakes up and hears Kyp talking to her through the comm.
 
His ship gets hit and he goes EV.  She wheels around and leaves her vengeance unfinished in favor of the path before them.
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#30
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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epilogue:
 
Jaina lands Trickster, not resenting being forced out of the battle.  This is not her fight.  Jag is pushing back the Vong with Teneniel Djo’s fleet.  Kyp is sent for medical treatment.
 
Ta’a Chume is under house arrest while her role in the late queen mother’s death is investigated.  Jaina goes to visit her.  Ta’a Chume thinks Jaina would have been a great queen with her help, now she sees that Jaina is just a fool.
 
Tenel Ka meets Jaina outside, quipping that those who say anger is of the Dark Side have never met her grandmother.  The two friends embrace.  Tenel Ka expects they will have a difficult road ahead, but Jaina’s will probably be more difficult.  They promise neither will be alone on their journeys.
 
Jaina is almost overwhelmed at her friend’s determination and sorrow that she has to pull back.   She goes back to her ship, knowing she will have to face the friends who’d warned and the family who’d worried.  She will have to make sure they can see that the Dark Side has no bearing on her decisions. 
 
Kyp meets her there and tells her they are leaving for the Jedi base.  He thinks there’s a place for a trickster in the resistance.  She has a knack for strategy after all.  As for him, he thinks he will work toward the establishment of a Jedi Council to help build consensus.
 
He’s also heard that Jagged Fel is going to be meeting with Luke.  They may see each other again soon.  Jaina’s heart lifts and wonders if she will ever deserve Jag’s friendship.  Like her mother, his eyes never waver from the path of a hero.
 
Khalee Lah thinks he’s been cursed since he didn’t die in battle.  Harrar hands Lah the mechanical abomination and tells him that he will tell the warmaster that his son died in battle due to the trickery of the Jedi.  Then Harrar contacts Tsavong Lah with the news, adding that Jaina Solo is more worthy than they thought.  It may be a long time before they can go forward with the twin sacrifice.
 
Lah tells him to continue to pursue Jaina.  Harrar is surprised he has not been harshly punished for this failure and begins to wonder if Jacen Solo is still alive.
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End of Book 10
 
  • This was a challenging book to get through.  I didn't much care for this back-and-forth between Jaina and Kyp Durron.




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