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Enemy Lines 1: "Rebel Dream" : Book 11 in the New Jedi Order

chapter discussion thread

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#1
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 1:
 
One day into the occupation of Borleias, Vong Penzak Kraal and Charat Kraal are piloting coralskippers over the world which is to be used as a staging area for the assault on Coruscant.  They debate who is braver: a god or a mortal.
 
Charat has heard that the infidels know how to kill a star.  His clanmate assures him they did it the wrong way anyway and obviously don’t know how to use it again or they’d be destroying worldships everywhere.  Charat has also heard that the gods may smile upon them.
 
An enemy battleship appears, followed by more of them. 
 
The Mon Mothma is one of the newest cruisers in the New Republic Fleet, fitted with gravity-well generators that can interfere with the short jumps made by Yuuzhan Vong warcraft.
 
It drops out of hyperspace and heads to Borleias.  General Wedge Antilles hopes the Vong have come to love this planet because he’s going to take it from him. It’s time they learned what it’s like to lose what they love.
 
Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing comes out of the Mothma, leading Twin Suns Squadron.  All of his pilots are veteran survivors of the Shockers, Sabers and other squadrons decimated at Coruscant a few days ago.  Two of them include his wife, Mara, and former Rogue Squadron pilot, Corran Horn.  Luke understands that many of the pilots want revenge.  He himself knows loss as his son, Ben, was almost kidnapped by Vong agents assisted by the traitorous Senator Viqi Shesh.  His nephew, Anakin, has been killed and his other nephew, Jacen, is missing.
 
In his younger days, Luke would have been anxious for payback, too.  He knows now that this thinking is of the Dark Side.  It’s been a long time since he’s been that innocent.  They lock their S-foils and head out to meet the coral skippers.
 
Rogue Squadron appears and Gavin Darklighter announces that they are back to kick Borleias’s butt again after twenty years.  Lando Calrissian is on the troop transport [Record Time, sweating.  He doesn’t like to do that because it suggests hard work and he likes to give the impression of being under control.
 
He asks his troops if they are ready.  He knows he will lose some of them.  
 
Luke, Mara and Corran fly escort for the Record Time as it lands in the jungle.  It’s been hit enough that the bow has damage.  The troops head out, hit by thud bugs that bring down one soldier.  Lando notes his first casualty.  The combat droid doesn’t look too badly, though, and might be repairable.
 
The unhurt droid troops charge down the ramp and emit a war cry.  Lando made that arrangement early.  Installed in the troops is a cry in the Yuuzhan Vong language announcing that they are machines and are greater than the Yuuzhan Vong.
 
From the Record Time’s bridge, the progress of the troops is watched and then transmitted to the Mon Mothma. Then they spot a huge reptilian creature that looks just like one that fought on Dantooine.  The captain orders all troops off and nonessential personnel to follow. 
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  • The time of this chapter is listed as one month earlier.  It is a few days after the fall of Coruscant which means the events of Dark Journey took place within this month.  Presumably, it’s 27 years ABY since that’s when Star by Star took place.  However, that would mean that Jacen and Jaina are still 18…maybe close to 19, but still 18!

 


#2
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 2:
 
Lando and his droids move forward, the former being protected by his bodyguards.  Lando laments that he’s a businessman which means he doesn’t want to be here. 
 
Luke, Mara and Corran fly over the base area to see the huge beast coming.  It’s called a rakamat and he’d faced one on Dantooine.  He can’t afford to pass out this time.  He tells them to try to distract the thing from the ground troops.
 
Lando continues to crawl, wishing for a drink, when he finds several troops who claim to be engineers.  They have explosives and Lando questions the wisdom of them hiding behind them.  He has the engineers dig a hole large enough to put them in.  One of the troopers suggests they just leave the explosives here and head out.
 
Since he’s a noncommissioned officer and that outranks a civilian anyday, his orders will stand.  Lando grabs him by the collar and tells him that he blew up a Death Star before the man was born and he can very easily speak with General Antilles who blew up that same Death Star and become General Calrissian very quickly.  If that happens, the young trooper will be cleaning refreshers on Kessel for the rest of his enslistment.  Or, he can dig.
 
Luke and his wingmates fly by and notice a group of soldiers digging a hole.  They’re not sure what to make of it.  Luke suggests they’re picknickers so they split up and approach the Yuuzhan Vong base from the far side.
 
After burying the explosives, the eight of them crawl away and toward the Record Time.  One of them, a Twi’lek, is actually being dragged by a battle droid while she fiddles with a detonator.  Lando hears the returning X-Wings giving strafing fire on the beast.
 
They decide to time the explosion for the next X-Wing pass when Lando finds himself facing two stumps of a Yuuzhan Vong warrior’s legs.  He fires upskirt.  The bodyguard droid does the rest.
 
When the X-Wings return, Lando has the female detonate the explosives.  The creature is engulfed with heat.  When Lando looks up, it’s dead and his bodyguard is still firing into the dead Yuuzhan Vong warrior.
 
By the time Wedge lands, the situation is under control.  He finds the old New Republic base that had once been an Imperial base managed by Evir Derricote.  Rogue Squadron had taken the world and had controlled it since under the various governments that succeded the Rebel Alliance.
 
Now it’s rubble. 
 
There’s a Yuuzhan Vong base in its place, the body of a dead creature nearby.  New Republic troops are everywhere.  Human prisoners who have been implanted with Vong coral growths and Shamed Ones are herded.
 
Gavin Darklighter and Kral Nevil land at the biotics facility and join Wedge.  This is the same facility used by Derricote to preserve samples of Alderaanian plantlife and to engineer the Krytos virus. 
 
Since the building is still intact, Wedge decides to use it as the ground facility and issues orders to clear the area and prep it for use. 
 
On day 2 of the occupation, the biotics building is secure and operational.  Though there are no Vong in the building, they’d obviously been here, breaking up machinery.  The generator has been smashed. 
 
Luke has come back from a perimeter sweep to find that Wedge wants his presence at a general meeting. The general explains that they will be here for a short time but it will probably be longer than that want to.  There will be more fighting so they need some idea to throw at the Vong when they return.
 
He is asked why they want to stay here at all, especially since the Vong will be coming back.
 
Wedge explains that Borleias is an important hyperspace route that’s known by a lot of people.  Some of the refugees fleeing Coruscant or arriving there to find it’s been taken will come here to escape.  They need to be able to land somewhere so they don’t clog up the repair facilities in space.  He also notes that the New Republic needs to catch its breath and take inventory of what they have.  Luke knows that Wedge had to leave Coruscant without checking on his wife, Iella, and his daughters, Syal and Myri.    But they all know Iella is resourceful.
 
Luke will have to find their own resources to put together for now, including someone to watch Ben.  Mara refuses.  She trusts virtually no one more than Leia who still wasn’t able to protect Ben.  She will not let anyone watch her son.  
 
Luke offers to discuss this later with her.  Mara agrees, so long as he wants to repeat the same conversation.
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#3
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 3:
 
Viqi Shesh knows the guards marching her will have short lives, but they will at least live longer than she will.  She’d served the Yuuzhan Vong for a long time, hoping she would be richly rewarded.  Now, having failed in her most recent assignment to kidnap Ben Skywalker, she’s found herself in the clutches of her ruthless masters.
 
Tsavong Lah is ready to execute her, but she knows it’s not because she failed.  He just thinks she’s not valuable anymore.  He agrees.
 
Shesh tells him that she knows something he doesn’t: his implants aren’t being rejected because the gods are displeased with him, but because the shapers have deliberately done this to him.  They will suggest military or political moves to him.  If he follows them, he will get better.  If he doesn’t, he won’t.  They are trying to enslave him.
 
He doesn’t believe her.  She tells him that she just wants the opportunity to prove she’s right.  Lah agrees to spare her for now.  
 
She is marched out of his presence, barely able to believe that her story worked and she’s still alive.
 
Wedge’s comlink wakes him.  The Mon Mothma reports a transport arriving with fighter escort in the system.  It’s the official transport of the Senate Advisory Council.  Wedge can’t believe they could be functioning at all.   Apparently, they’re bringing his orders.
 
Uneasy every time politicans show up with a surprise, Wedge orders a military escort, just in case this turns out to be a Vong trap.
 
Councilors Pwoe, Chelch Dravvad, Fyor Rodan and Niuk Niuv arrive.  None are great friends to the Jedi.  Luke suspects Pwoe had been behind the Peace Brigade and Niuv had opposed the Jedi since he’d been appointed to the Council.
 
Pwoe explains that he is now Chief of State.  There really isn’t a legal precedent for that, but the emergency probably will cement his claim anyway.  He admits that Councilors Omas and Triebakk are missing and presumed killed on Coruscant.
 
Luke can’t help but wonder if they were left behind instead.  Both were moderating influences on the Council and supporters of the Jedi.  
 
Pwoe wants to reassure everyone that the New Republic government is working under the emergency authority Chief Fey’lya’s death has given them.  The Advisory Council has taken the reins of power due to the temporary disruption of the Senate.  They are communicating with planetary governments who have agreed to recognize their authority.
 
Sien Sovv will remain Commander of the Armed Forces and Wedge will still answer to him.  They need Borleias to stand as a fortress against the Yuuzhan Vong in order to give the New Republic time to regroup and relieve them here.  They must hold the base here at all costs.
 
Wedge wonders what forces and materiel will be available.  The answer is not reassuring.  Wedge turns down the assignment.  He has a list of demands that he wants Pwoe to acquiesce to or he will transmit his resignation.
 
His demands are for the nearby forces, including those en route from Coruscant be under his command, the Lusankya be given him, a three month supply of food, fuel and materiel, as well as the ability to communicate directly with any officer and invite them to join him here.  If Pwoe doesn’t agree, he will leave, take his entire force with him and Borleias will fall to the Vong.  Pwoe angrily claims that Wedge should have been pastured long ago. Wedge reminds him that he was and would still be there if the Council had run the war competently.  Since Rogue Squadron reported a Vong scout ship lurking around earlier, Pwoe might want to decide soon.
 
Luke admits to Mara that he’s not sure what’s going on.  Mara tells him that Pwoe is lying.  No one will reinforce Borleias when the Vong arrive and everyone here will die.  He’s stalling for time so that the Advisory Council members can go home and prepare for war there or hope to cut a deal.
 
Luke realizes that this means all Wedge is negotiating for are the resources to stay alive a little longer.  Pwoe agrees, though he is loathe to leave Wedge in charge here now.  Then he and the others beat a hasty retreat.  Tycho has already cleared with Fleet Group Three to come here.  Gavin doesn’t know anything about a Yuuzhan Vong scout ship, though.  Wedge reminds him that a coralskipper they’d destroyed when they first arrived is still burning out. Coralskippers can be used as scout ships, right?  Gavin wonders how Wedge can be so deceptive without actually lying.
 
When they are alone, Wedge’s Advisory Council - Luke, Mara, Tycho, Lando, Booster, Gavin, Danni and Corran – discuss the matter.  Luke wants to be sure they are actually being sacrificed to give the senators more time.  Wedge points out that the Council just gave him a significant military force, including the Lusankya, to defend a military base and a bunch of refugees.  They have given up.  
 
They can’t do what they wanted to do before, leave Borleias and join Generals bel Iblis and Krefey.  He’d like some ideas to improve their chances of survival.  
 
Luke and Mara believe that they need to stop acting like the New Republic and start acting like the Rebel Alliance.  The New Republic tactics didn’t work.  A resistance force might.  They aren’t going to publicly break off and commit treason, but secret bases and operations that aren’t discussed with the New Republic command might work.
 
They will have to include only people they trust with their lives or with their children’s lives.  For now, they will have to come up with tactics.  Tycho will be Wedge and Wedge will try to get into the head of any Vong commander sent to take Borleais. They will lead him in until he thinks he knows them and then they’ll surprise him.
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#4
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 4:
 
Luke gets tired of endless meetings quickly and planning a resistance requires that.  Fortunately, progress is being made in setting up cells in various places.  Everyone knows this Inner Circle exists and has nicknamed it the Insiders.  However, most believe it’s just Wedge’s group of advisors.
 
Luke is able to contribute far more than he’d expected due to his experience tracking Jedi over the years.  He’d been the only Jedi Master for years as he’d combed the galaxy, trying to find remnants of the old Jedi Order.  Most led nowhere as the Jedi had either eventually been discovered by the Empire or had successfully disappeared for good. 
 
This had given Luke insight on how the Jedi had erased their identities, hidden their Force powers and eluded capture.  Now, he adds that information to the Intelligence training of Mara and those working with her.  Now, the meetings keep Luke’s mind off of his pain. He’d lost his family more than 25 years ago, but had replaced it with his sister, Leia, Han, their three children, Mara and Ben.  Now, Anakin is dead, Jacen might be and Jaina is off on a personal quest for vengeance.  Han is recuperating at the secret Jedi base with Leia. 
 
Luke finds himself on Dagobah and realizes that this is a vision.  He faces the opening of the cave where he’d battled Darth Vader, but there is no Yoda to warn him.  He leaves his lightsaber in a tree and walks inside.  This time, instead of Vader, he finds himself in a bright light with soaring buildings atop him.  There is debris all around him, coated with green algae and grasses.  There is darkness ahead which spins like a tornado.  The grasses and algae turn black and slick and every surface until they drop and begin to walk.  They open their mouths and begin to cry.
 
Mara shakes him awake.  Luke hears Ben, still sensitive to stirrings in the Force, crying.  He tells Mara there is a terrible evil on Coruscant. 
 
On Day 5 of the occupation, Luke watches a holorecording of Coruscant filmed by a well-known political historian named Wolam Tser who had covered the New Republic’s development since its days as the Rebel Alliance. 
 
The algae and grasses from Luke’s vision are here.  Tser explains that none of this was here yesterday and it’s happening all over Coruscant’s surface.  There is some type of planet shaping going on.  The remaining population has fled to the lower city levels.  The Yuuzhan Vong are raiding those levels, some to hunt, some to destroy the air scrubbers that the population needs to breathe the increasingly noxious air, but the worst is when they pull out of the area.
 
He shows them an image of something erupting and causing a severe amount of smoke in the air that nearly killed his holocam operator who is still recovering from it.  The Vong had used a Golan Defense Platform.  They destroyed it, nudged it from orbit and it likely caused millions of deaths.  The Vong are pushing satellites and skyhooks down.  Most of Coruscant’s citizens could not find their way offworld so they’ll either die from the falling mechanical devices or from the planet-shaping.
 
He asks to stay here to record history as it is being made still.
 
Tser’s holocam operator, Tam Elgrin, is not used to being among famous people.  Danni Quee approaches him to make him feel more comfortable.  She also wants to find out if he has any recordings of the Yuuzhan Vong. 
 
He gives one that he got of a hunting pack and heads out of the building.  Suddenly, he gets a terrible headache and knows he’s not obeying.  He goes back to the shuttle he and Wolam are using.  He gets to his cabin and activates a villip, telling the Yuuzhan Vong female that he is on Borleias.
 
Wedge wakes up on Day 6 to a rap at his door.  A man shaven bald with a mustache and goatee smiles at him.  Wedge happily greets Garik “Face” Loran whom he’d feared lost on Coruscant.  Face tells him he’s here to drop off a package.
 
Iella Antilles moves around Face and Wedge rushes to her, hearing his two daughters calling for him.  Face diplomatically leaves the room and closes the door for this emotional family reunion.
 
Iella cannot describe what it’s like to watch Coruscant dying. He knows she doesn’t have to because he knows what it’s like to leave his wife and children behind, knowing he can’t do anything for them.
 
Iella is going to lead Intelligence here which will free up Mara to do other things.  He wants her to spread information among their people and see if the Yuuzhan Vong act on any of it.  They need to find out quickly if there are any traitors among them.
 
He also tells her about the Advisory Council meeting and how that went.   She’s concerned that he’s going to be fighting a way against the Vong and the Council.  He tells her that the Council doesn’t know he’s at war with them.  She reminds him that they know they’re at war with him but they don’t know he knows it.  They’ll figure it out eventually because, even without Borsk Fey’lya, they’re pretty smart.  Part of her disinformation campaign will also include their allies, for that reason.
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  • If Han is at the secret Jedi base recovering, does this mean that the events of Dark Journey are nearly over?  He was wounded on Hapes, remember?  It’s only 4 days into the occupation of Borleias which means that the fall of Coruscant really was a matter of maybe a week ago at most. 

 
 


#5
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 5:
 
Tam Elgin reports to Viqi Shesh and tells her that he just records Tser’s observations, he doesn’t know any secrets.  Shesh responds that he’s met Danni Quee so that is important.  He needs to befriend or even seduce her in order to learn more.  He can plant recording devices, but to be careful because Iella Wessiri will find anything he might plant, so he needs to leave other objects places where blame will be placed elsewhere, such as within the command structure.
 
 Her guard, Denua Ku, is ready to take her back to her quarters, but she argues that she’s tired of spending all day there with nothing to do.  She wants to learn how their devices are grown so she can have a skill to use after all has been subjugated.
 
Tsavong Lah allows visitors to come before him for an hour each day to bother him with their petty concerns.  Denua Ku brings Viqi Shesh’s request to him and Lah authorizes it.  A kinsman named Maal Lah is next.  Lah is one of his best advisors and reports that the infidel fleet at Borleias is not only not withdrawing but they are digging in to prepare for a siege.
 
The warmaster doesn’t think this makes sense as they cannot hold it or hope for relief.  He orders a fleet sent to crush them.  The priest, Takhaff Uul, is next, warning Lah that he is bypassing the high priest to bring him this news.    He believes, due to a dream that he had last night, that Yun-Yuuzhan doesn’t feel that Lah is giving him due glory in his exploits.  He suggests that Lah present an entire world to the Creator and his priests.
 
Lah is suspicious as the priests of Yun-Yuuzhan have havens on all worlds.  Nevertheless, he promises to consider this.  He sends a guard to follow the priest, however.
 
When the guard returns, he reports that the priest went to the chambers of Githra Dal, the shaper who attached his radank claw. Lah wonders if Viqi Shesh is right.
 
Day 9 on Borleias marks the arrival of the Yuuzhan Vong battle group.  The commander doesn’t want to extend a lot of resources for this expedition.  He’s told the shield platforms have not yet been reestablished and there are capital ships in geosynchronous orbit.  There does seem to be a significant build up of ground-based shield generators at one point.  The commander also notices that there are repeated excursions to a moon in orbit.  It could be a hidden base.  Since they’re not protecting the planet, save at one spot, it’s possible that they don’t care about the world itself.  It would be important to find out what is on the moon and what the one thing on the planet is.
 
Wedge and Iella are jolted awake by an alarm.  The comm. officer reports a major Yuuzhan Vong intrusion of dozens of capital ships. Wedge tells Iella that they are leaving a gap in their coverage of the sensor station on the fourth moon with the idea that they will let the Vong chase them off the moon while battling them off the planet. 
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#6
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 6:
 
Saba Sebatyne powers up the Wild Knights’ lead blastboat.  Danni is going to operate the sensors and some of the weapons.  Saba doesn’t like their orders to defend and lose.  She’s a hunter and doesn’t know how to defend or flee.  Danni points out that she didn’t used to know how to kill.
 
Twin Suns Squadron, Rogue Squadron and the Wild Knights take off from Borleias in the hopes that the Vong will consider this site significant.  Twin Suns is to stay in orbit and take care of anything that comes at the biotics facility.  The Rogues will take any target of opportunity at the moon.  The Wild Knights will reinforce the sensor station on Pyria VI’s lunar surface.
 
Luke and Corran’s wing includes a green pilot named Zindra Daine who is barely out of her teens.  Luke knows Mara wants to protect her baby from anything that will hurt him, but he wishes she would realize that it’s not possible and that being absent from the battlefield might cost more lives.
 
Wedge and Tycho watch from the command room on-planet when the moon reports contact.  Meanwhile, Captain Yakown Reth is unhappy with his assignment of guarding a shuttle of scientists and other specialists.  Not only does he not have any proton torpedoes, but he is not even allowed to know what these people are up to.
 
Finally, Colonel Celchu won’t stop micromanaging him.
 
When the coralskippers arrive, he sends his E-Wings out and tells them no individual heroics.  Green Squadron is cobbled together from units crushed at Coruscant and are still learning to work together.
 
Above Borleias, Twin Suns Squadron heads off to handle a frigate analog. 
 
Wild Knights use their ion cannons against the coralskippers.  Danni’s ship gets hit but there’s no damage.  Still, the plan has to be followed.  She reports grutchins are chewing their way toward the engines. She and Saba have to return to Borleais, feeling that they are abandoning their comrades.
 
Captain Reth at least has the pleasure of knowing that he’s still in the battle while the Jedi squadron leader has to leave.
 
The Yuuzhan Vong commander is told that they’ve caught the infidels off-guard at the moon.  On Borleias, the defense is ferocious and they are losing forces quickly.  There are no new tactics or weapons that can be seen.  He decides they are just fighting spiritedly.  The Vong will take the outpost first and break off the attack on the planet for now. 
 
The Lusankya is commanded by Eldo Davip who has a new crew that has managed to drop the ship into the system farther from Borleias than he’d ordered.  They do notice, however, that something unusual is going on.  His sensor operator yells that they’ve walked into a trap.
 
Davip looks at the sensor screen to see the Star Destroyer’s position, along with the Millennium Falcon beneath.  Davip orders shields up, all squadrons launched and for weapons to be fired.
 
On the Falcon, Han notes they dropped out early.  Leia tells him that the nav computers must have sent faulty data.  Han actually points out that they were pulled out by heavy gravitic anomalies. That’s when they see the Yuuzhan Vong fleet in their midst.
 
The Lusankya may have been unprepared, but it can pack a punch and the Yuuzhan Vong commander is not ready for it.  The bridge of the Vong ship is battered and he finds himself flying forward out into space.
 
Tycho reports that the Wild Knights are outside the engagement zone.  The Yuuzhan Vong are concentrating on the Pyria Six moon. Wedge tries to focus, but he knows something is wrong.  He finally finds it.   One of the communications officers seems very confused and perplexed.  Iella is standing over her looking equally perplexed.  Wedge doesn’t like things that confuse his wife.
 
When they confirm that the Lusankya and the Millennium Falcon have arrived in system in the middle of the Vong reserve forces, Wedge is stunned.  First of all, Commander Davip is not the type of officer to be captaining the Super Star Destroyer.  He wonders why there’s no admiral in charge.  He also needs to know which ships are able to jump in to help.
 
Tycho mentions the Mon Mothma and the Rebel Dream.  Danni Quee is reporting that two yammosks have been taken out, so at least the battle will not be coordinated. 
 
Wedge has the Mon Mothma make a microjump, then broadcast a homing beacon before defending herself.  She’s to wait one inute and then activate the gravity well generators for another minute.
 
Then he orders all ships and starfighters that can get clear within two minutes should do so.  Rogue and Twin Suns are to abandon their missions in order to jump in the direction of the homing beacon they’re about to detect.  They will be pulled out of hyperspace by the gravity wells in the engagement zone.  They are to form up on Lusankya and escort her to Borleias.
 
Tycho lets him know when the Mon Mothma jumps.  Wedge tells him they’re about to achieve a victory they don’t want.  Tycho answers that General Antilles is so good he can’t fail when he wants to.
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  • According to Aaron Allston, Zindra Caine is the daughter of Wraith Squadron mechanic Cubber Daine.  If she’s the six-year old daughter Cubber referred to in Wraith Squadron, it’s been about 20 years since then and Zindra is hardly barely out of her teens as described here.  She should be about 26 years old.

  • Fast recovery for Han then if he had a few days on the secret Jedi base, then turned up here for the battle.

  • Rebel Dream has appeared in the X-Wing books as one of Leia’s official modes of transportation.

 
 


#7
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 7:
 
The Millennium Falcon dives toward the Lusankya to avoid the cordalskippers on her tail.  Ganner Rhysode and Alema Rar are at the guns.  The gunners on the Lusankya are not quite skilled and, when Leia points out they didn’t see the Falcon when they were firing, Han decides to avoid the ship for right now.
 
Luke leads Twin Suns away from Borleias at top speed, losing the happiness he’d felt when the yammosks were lost and that the Vong would have to lead.  Then his unusual orders made him realize the battle was just starting.
 
The squadron heads toward the Mon Mothma.  Rogue Squadron is headed there, too.
 
Meanwhile, Han is feeling tired.  Twenty hears ago, this kind of fight would have loosened him up.  Now he’s just sweating and feeling fatigued.  They decide to dock on a nearby Star Destroyer and rest when Leia recognizes the Rebel Dream
 
Meanwhile, the Lusankya is escorted to Borleais.
 
Han and Leia are cheered when they come down the ramp in the Rebel Dream’s docking bay.  Leia reminds Han that his dropping in during the middle of a battle and emerging unscathed reminds them that they can win.  They are followed by Ganner, Alema, Zekk, Tesar, Tahiri and Tarc.
 
The latter two are heartbreaking.  Tahiri and Anakin had always been close, but they had been moving closer to each other.  His death has hit her hard.  Tarc is about 12 years old and had been used by Viqi Shesh to manipulate the Solos because of his resemblance to Anakin when he was younger.
 
It hurts Han to even look at him, but the boy can’t be abandoned.
 
Luke greets them and Leia explains they’d been trying to find out if Luke was still here when they got an invitation to accompany the Lusankya.  They assumed they’d be safer that way. 
 
Han and Leia tell the story of their time in the Hapes Cluster after Luke and Mara left.  After Han was attacked, they decided to leave, too.  The situation isn’t really all that stable there but there’s nothing the Solos could do to make it better.  They have to trust Jaina to make the right choices.
 
Wedge tells them that the battle didn’t go as he’d wanted it to.  He was hoping to get a Vong commander of average skills and he thinks they did, but he wanted to string him along for awhile.  Unfortunately, circumstances required that he be wiped out quickly which means the next fleet will be tougher.
 
He needs Han and Leia because the New Republic is dead. 
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#8
Jedi Cool

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chapter 8:
 
In orbit of Coruscant, Maal Lah is asked his opinion by the warmaster.  It seems the battle group sent to Borleias walked into a trap.  The infidels did very well with a large spacecraft that help destroy both yammosks.  The ranking officer is bringing the fleet back now but one of the pilots has commandeered some of the survivors so he may continue to harass the infidels.
 
Maal Lah suggests that such a strategy is indicative of one of their best tacticians, General Bel Iblis.  However, Bel Iblis appears to be in command of a large fleet somewhere else.  It could be that he is working with General Antilles which means there’s something important at Borleais.  They have to learn what it is and then destroy it.
 
Maal urges the warmaster to lead the attack himself, but Tsavong Lah claims to be needed elsewhere.  There is another warmaster they could ask, but Maal isn’t sure he will do it. 
 
Tsavong Lah then asks Ghithra Dal about his implant.  He explains that there is no change.  The tissue continues to decay.  Lah asks if there are other signs of rejection with his other implants. When told there aren’t, he asks what the shaper thinks of that.
 
Dal suggests this falls within the will of the gods, but he would have to ask the priests which one.  Lah begins to strongly suspect that Viqi Shesh is right.  Were he to ask the priests, it’s likely those in collusion with the shapers would answer accordingly.  He decides to get the opinion of a shaper who isn’t loyal to the main shaper caste:  Nen Yim.
 
Luke sits on the floor of the cargo hold of the Falcon to open himself up to the Force.  He can feel a manifestion of the Dark Side that has nothing to do with him, but is roaming the paths of Coruscant.
 
Leia slowly begins to awaken to her life again.  The loss of her sons has pained her and she’d nearly given up her work, but seeing Jaina in the Hapes system has reminded her of her duties.  She began to work again, but without the spark or enthusiasm that had characterized her earlier years.
 
Yet, now that she has been going through the archives of the Rebel Dream, Han can see the pain not occupying all of her time.  She comes into the cockpit and asks what’s going on.  The co-pilot’s seat is gone.  Han tells her he’s having something her size put in. 
 
She sees that he’s studying Coruscant.  He explains that the thing about the Yuuzhan Vong reverence of twins isgetting to him.  If they think that Jacen and Jaina have special meaning to their gods, it means that Jacen might really be alive.  It also means he’s in the hands of significant people.  To him, that indicates that he is on Coruscant. 
 
She urges him not to go there to rescue Jacen.  She’s seen things through the Force that tell her that either of them wil die if they go there while it’s in Vong hands.  Luke is the one who has to go.  She needs his help here with a resistance movement that she thinks he will like better than politics.
 
They’ll be traveling through systems setting up cells.  It’s likely they will run into the Vong forces or the Peace Brigade and will have to shoot at them. 
 
Tam Elgrin comes to visit Danni and asks if she needs anything repaired.  Then he asks if she wants a drink.  She turns down both offers and goes back to her work.  It’s the third time in three days he’s made some clumsy attempt to be around her.  She’s pretty sure he’s interested in her, but she’s too busy with her work here.  Besides, he can’t be in love with her. His eyes show a kind of desperation there.
 
Iella asks if there’s any reason to distrust Luke and Mara.  She found an amateur listening device in their refresher and then found the corresponding one in Tycho’s quarters.  Wedge jokes that Tycho must want to listen to a baby cry all day.
 
Iella isn’t sure what it represents.  Wedge suggests that someone put two listening devices in, one to listen and one to implicate Tycho.  She says she told Luke and Mara about it, but left it there so they can plant some false leads.
 
By Day 15 of the occupation, coralskippers continue to harass from their captured station on Pyria VI’s moon.  Luke and Kell Tainer work on patching up Luke’s X-Wing.  Both of them know that the other is more than a mechanic, but they both have ship repair experience.
 
Luke asks how Tyria Sarkin is.  Tainer is married to her.  Kell says she’s doing well, traveling with their son, Doran, and teaching him the ways of the Jedi.  She travels so much that she may not know how badly the invasion has gone.  They have a long-distance marriage, but it works for them.
 
He tells Luke how elated she was when she was confirmed as a Jedi Knight.  Luke remembers how he’d tested her twenty years ago and determine her potential was weak and her self-discipline insufficient.  He’d urged her to focus on her piloting skills.  Over the next few years, she’d found the discipline necessary to learn to use the Force.  For the most part, she did it on her own while traveling, progressing at her own rate.  At least, she never had the opportunity to reject Luke’s guidance.
 
Iella appears to tell them of a meeting in thirty minutes.  There’s news.
 
Luke tells Mara he’s going to Coruscant.  His visions are getting worse and more frequent.  Something is getting stronger or going to get stronger.  He can’t tell if he’s seeing the present or the future.  She points out he could be seeing the past from when Palpatine was rising to power.
 
He’s getting the feeling that this is urgent.  She tells him that this is a mission for Intelligence. Luke is willing to take Intelligence people with him, but this mission has to include a Jedi and that Jedi has to be him.  Everyone is convinced that Luke is turning into an ancient wise man on a mountain.  They have to be able to look to him for leadership and hearing that he’s leading a mission to Coruscant will help.
 
He wants her to come with him.  Mara tells him she’s needed here.  Luke thinks she’s not opening herself up to the Force for fear it will tell her that she has to leave Ben and go with Luke. 
 
At the meeting, Wedge tells the group that a refugee ship has arrived from the Hapes Cluster.  It had been part of a a fleet headed to Hapes and had been put together secretly.  Somehow, the Yuuzhan Vong intercepted it and the ship in question was the only one to escape.  Fearing that the New Republic fleet groups that are still answering to the Advisory Council will not be able to devote time to this problem, Wedge is hoping for ideas.
 
Luke suggests they have to first figure out how they’re getting the information about refugee ship movements.  They might have infiltrated the ship network.  If that’s the case, a Jedi should travel with them to find those who can’t be detected through the Force.
 
Danni offers that they could be using a tracking creature to find the ships.  She could build a device similar to what she uses to track yammosk activities and put it on a refugee vessel.  It could record whether or not a creature like that is aboard. 
 
It’s a risk if the ship is destroyed, though.  Corran thinks they can make sure the vessel survives, put together a surprise for the Vong who are pretty much counted on to attack a refugee vessel.  It may cause them to rethink that if they keep losing ships.
 
If there are no such creatures being used to track gravitic signatures, they will still have to find out where the hole is.  Lando volunteers to work with Wedge and Tycho on that.  Luke also adds that he is going to Coruscant because he senses something is going on there.  Iella offers to get him there because she’s been considering putting a team on the ground, too, to form resistance cells.
 
In orbit of Myrkr, an aged Yuuzhan Vong warrior walks through the Domain Lah worldship, instructing young warriors on the fall of Coruscant, punishing wrong answers with his amphistaff as well as those who don’t have the courage to answer.
 
His name is Czulkang Lah.  After his class, his son, Tsavong Lah, approaches him and tells him he is in need of a leader.  The enemy fights boldly at Borleias and he doesn’t know know why.  It seems they may be developing something new but nothing is known of it.  He needs someone to go there, discover the mystery and destroy it.
 
His father will not do this unless he retains a command once it’s done.  His son had opposed him years ago and taken the rank of warmaster from him.  The father assures him that he has been on opposite ends from his son because he felt attacking these infidels and coming to this galaxy was not the right course of action.  However, since they are here, he has no reason to oppose him. 
 
Tsavong Lah agrees and tells him he will send Domain Hul with him. 
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#9
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 9:
 
The personnel transport Jeolocas drops out of hyperspace exactly where she’s supposed to and finds a Yuuzhan Vong frigate analog within firing distance.  The captain is sure they are dead, but the Twi’lek female, assigned her based on a recommendation from the Talon Karrde organization, tells him only if he wants to be.  He assumes she’s the Peace Brigade.  She tells him to go hide and wait for her to call for him.
 
She poses as the captain when the boarding party arrives, giving them precise details as to the number of refugees and tells him that there are Jedi training materials aboard.  She takes him to the barrels and then pulls her own lightsaber before war droids burst from the crates, wiping out the boarding party.
 
Gavin Darklighter gets the signal and has his Rogues move out, destroying the frigate.
 
Lando looks over the cargo hold to see how well Alema Rar handled the twenty warriors.  Danni’s device indicates no strange gravitic fluctuations, though, so there isn’t a bioengineered creature here.  Alema wonders if refugees are turning each other in.
 
The 30th Day of the Borleias Occupation arrives with Leia waking Han up to tell him Jaina is coming in.  Jaina, Kyp and Lowbacca land. Luke notes Kyp looks tired.  Kyp just answers that he’s different.
 
They bring their comrades up to speed on what had happened after Han and Leia left Hapes when Jagged Fel arrives, too.  The situation on Hapes isn’t idea but it’s better than if Ta’a Chume were left in charge.  They have to find a way to help the Hapans.
 
Leia can sense Jaina has settled a few things in the last few days, but knows that it isn’t anything to do with the mother-daughter relationship. 
 
Wedge reminds Jaina that she’s still on the Rogue Squadron’s reserve roster, but would like to know what she would like to do.  Jaina wants to stay, but she’d rather form her own squadron so she can put some Force-based practices into use.  The Vong are starting to feel the psychological pressure of her associating herself with Yun-Harla.  She’d like to continue that with her flying.
 
Wedge approves of this, too, and suggests they go a step further, treating her like a goddess.  Jaina doesn’t particularly like that and Wedge agrees that it will distance her from people, may even cause some resentment.  Luke thinks it’s a good idea, though, since it will keep the Vong off-balance.  He asks if he could just turn Twin Suns over to her.  The name of the squadron will also through them off.
 
Jag would like to join, too, though he brought a fighter squadron in from Hapes.  Kyp wants to do so, too.  Wedge is surprised that either would be willing to take orders from someone with less experience, but he agrees.  He tells Jaina that she will start getting bureaucratic personnel matters to deal with.  He’ll be sure to round up an Ewok pilot candidate for her.  She’ll be his age in no time.
 
At the worldship on Coruscant, Nen Yim stands over the warmaster as he lay on a table, examining his implant.  She tells him that his natural arm and the radank claw are regenerating.  In fact, it looks like the radank claw is slowly recreating the entire creature by absorbing his body. 
 
She speculates that a shaper could be introducing substances after examining him each time.  She suggests she examine him after his next shaper visit.
 
He decides to keep her around for around.  She is to tell others she will be experimenting on the infidel Viqi Shesh if anyone asks.
 
On the 37th Day of the occupation, Danni shows Iella Tam Elgrin’s recording of the hunting pack on Coruscant.  She is concerned for many reasons.  First, Kam’s story is that he was with a group on the planet when the patrol saw them and chased them.  He was at the rear while recording this, then switched off the cam so he could concentrate on running.  He got away while others didn’t.
 
She had the Wraiths analyze the recording and they found nine sets of footsteps in the hallway.  There are eight Vong in the recording so the ninth set of steps must be Kam’s. He wasn’t in a group at all which means he made it up to make his story of escape seem credible. Second, there’s just something wrong with Tam.  He behaves oddly.
 
Iella tells her to speak up if she ever wants a job in Intelligence.
 
Jaina leads Twin Suns up.  She suggests they all paint their fighters something different and non-uniform.  Jag already has a metallic claw design in mind ever since he figured she’d direct them to do so.
 
She doesn’t think Jag thinks he’s superior, as some of the New Republic pilots think, but he is very good at seeing through deception.  Of course, this makes it harder on him to act as though he’s serving a goddess.
 
They practice using the Force to move and fire, the other pilots using her code name of goddess.
 
Mara decides to go to Coruscant with Luke so she can watch his back.  She realized that, if she waits until the enemy is in front of her before she kills them, she’s already failed her son. 
 
They take Tahiri into the jungle with them and Luke pulls out a hammer, telling her that this was the the favorite weapon of the Jedi before the invention of the lightsaber.  Mara pulls out a metal stake and he hammers it into the ground.  Tahiri notes that this is what’s going to transmit gravitic fluctuations.
 
She thinks they’re being watched.  It feels right from the Yuuzhan Vong perspective.  Luke believes her as he can feel the insect life go quiet nearby.  He know she feels badly because she’s thinking like one of them, but he suspects it’s not easy to think both ways at once.
 
She knows there is more than one group out there and they’ll be impatient.  She ignites her lightsaber just as a thud bug flies.  They take down the warriors quickly and Tahiri shows them that one had a metal stake.  It’s not the same one they just planted, but a different one.
 
Their mission a success, Luke advises they leave before more show up.  They continue to plant stakes that contain sensor equipment but are designed to be found and removed.  The real sensors are in Luke’s bag.  They are little droids that have the same gravitic sensors as the stakes but also motivators that burrow their way into soil.  The Vong will see the stakes, but not the droids.
 
In space, Jag gives some advice on Jaina and Kyp that will better synchronize their hits when Jaina senses something.  She asks if there’s anything going on near Arkania.  When the report comes back negative, Jaina decides to head that way anyway.
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#10
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 10:
 
It is the 37th day of occupation as Twin Suns heads across space toward a disturbance that only grows more clear.  Iella comms them and asks what they’ve got.  Jaina isn’t sure since it’s just a disturbance in the Force.
 
The Rebel Dream will be tracking them.  The ship reports a large signal with smaller ones coming.  It might be Yuuzhan Vong.
 
They get close enough to find it’s a worldship coming under escort.  She wants to investigate more so the squadron handles the few coralskippers that are sent out.
 
When the frigate accompanying the worldship slows, it starts to change course.  Organic material of some kind emerges.  When Jaina gets closer, she realizes that they are people of all ages, mostly human with transparent sacs over their heads, spinning toward Borleias.  They may freeze in space or burn up in the atmosphere, but they are all mintues from death.
 
Jiana tries to use the Force to tug at a hostage, but there’s no change in speed.  She tells Jag to go back and get some shuttles.  Jag tells her he’s called for shuttles and he wants her to follow his lead.  He moves his craft until it slowly hits a moving body, causing it to move away from the planet.  Then he maneuvers again to do the same to others.   Before long, they vector all 22 victims away from the planet.  Four die from exposure before the shuttles reach them, but the rest are moved to the biotics facility for treatment.
 
It is apparent that the Vong have brought someone out here with a personal style of his own.  The victims will have to be examined for contaminants or booby-traps.  Wedge also thinks that Jaina’s problem with darkness has ended and she can be trusted to be an Insider.
 
Czhulkang Lah confronts Charat Kraal over seizing elements of the last fleet that was here to keep fighting.  Kraal wanted to improve the situation for the Yuuzahn Vong in this system which is more important than saving the rest of a crippled fleet. 
 
He has been harassing the infidels because it reveals information about them.  He has learned that the general and his staff live in the main building, conducting business there instead of from one of the ships.  Many Jedi live there and patrol the jungles.  There are probably a dozen by now and they include Luke and Mara Skywalker.
 
Jaina Solo is there, too, but he believes her status is changing to become more preeminent.  The building they are occupying used to be used for creating new life forms, a type of shaping that he believes is being continued.  He’s not sure what they are doing.
                                                                                                                                                There are odd ships that seem to be part of an operation called Starlancer.  They regularly fly into space, situate themselves in a triangle with one in the middle and communicate for several minutes.  He thinks that this is some kind of device aimed at Coruscant.
 
Though he expects to be killed for his presumption, he is instead rewarded with his wing and the change to perform tasks, such as capturing Jaina Solo.
 
On day 39, Twin Suns are happy about pulling off their mission with no casualties.  Operation Starlancer is proceeding with little interference from the Yuuzhan Vong, but that will probably change soon.
 
Jaina lingers, staying far from the other pilots, projecting the image of a goddess, but also knowing that she can’t get too close to people who would miss her when she’s gone.  There is a cold hatred of this enemy inside of her.  It might have been there since Chewbacca’s death, but she became aware of it when Anakin died and it has only swelled in the two days since the hostages were tossed out over the planet. 
 
Tahiri approaches her.  That’s another heartbreak.  Tahiri might have been a member of the family someday, but that won’t happen now. Tahiri explains she’s been out in the jungle looking around for Vong warriors.  She never saw any, but they must have seen her because she knocked a thud bug out of the air. 
 
Jaina can’t really talk right now.  After she meets with the Wraiths, she has to talk to Kyp about taking Twin Suns squadron while she invites herself along on Luke’s trip.  Tahiri isn’t sure that’s a good idea.  Jaina knows that people will think so, but her parents thinks Jacen is alive and that’s he’s on Coruscant.  She has to prove that he’s not.
 
Tahiri warns her not to go because she’s a greater hinderance to Luke and Mara.  If it’s a question of skill or power, she would send Kyp.  Jaina has to think of it in terms of her value to the Yuuzhan Vong.  She knows because she was one.  The twin interest is an obsession.
 
If Jacen is alive and is on Coruscant, she might be spotted and they’ll know both twins are there.  The Vong will devote a huge number of resources to finding her than would in finding a party of invaders, even a party of Jedi invaders.  That puts all of the group at risk.
 
Tahiri offers to go instead.  She knows how the Yuuzhan Vong think.  Jaina believes Tahiri will let her emotions get the better of her, but agrees. Tahiri moves to embrace her but Jaina holds back.
 
The girl tells her she has something else to say that Jaina won’t like:  she needs to stop avoiding her mother.  She may see her every day but she doesn’t treat her as a mother, but as a fellow defender.  Jaina explains that she loves her mother, but they don’t have the same relationship that many parents have to their children.  Leia spent a lot of time away which left her and her brothers with Chewbacca or Winter or at school. 
 
Tahiri asks if that keeps them from having a close connection or just makes Jaina mad at her.  She reminds Jaina that there’s a point where a person realizes they’ve had the last talk they’re ever going to have with someone they love.  That will happen with her mother some day.
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#11
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 11:
 
On Day 39, Jaina meets the Wraiths, trying not to show her surprise at Vorrt SaBinring, who tells her to call him Piggy and Sharr Latt, a human from the lower-levels of Coruscant. 
 
Piggy mentions he served with her father on a campaign once.  She remembers that he’d told her some story about how she could be whatever she wanted to be when she grew up because a Gamorrean became a fighter pilot, too.  She thought he’d made it up.
 
Piggy admits he’s kept a low profile lately.
 
On top of the biotics building, Sharr admires her work in the Hapes Cluster, but mentions she needs to have layers of tricks to confuse her enemy.  Additionally, they could eventually figure out how she performs the tricks, so she needs to make it impossible for them to do that.
 
She needs to give off the impression that she’s not just associated with Yun-Harla, but that she is her.  She is doing a good job now by laying around in front of all the pilots who are working.  She is also out in the open, not fearing any Yuuzhan Vong that may see her.  Her companions are strange ones, as goddesses often have.  But she’s going to have to play the part well enough that people resent her.  She must give orders instead of asking, having people work for her and tell no one but those she absolutely trusts what is going on.
 
There must be spies in this camp and the more people who know she’s not as arrogant as a Kuati merchant, the more likely the spies will notice, too.  She can tell who she wants but she has to be aware that everyone who knows increases the chance that the truth will get out.
 
Twin Suns has been broken out of the normal command structure which will help.  The pilots will be called by their maximum rank.  In fact, Kyp Durron can be referred to as the Destroyer of Worlds, a subordinate to Jaina. 
 
Jaina asks if she can have a manservant, too. 
 
Jagged Fel says no.  He’s happy to participate in a plan so long as it’s the best one but this isn’t.  The Yuuzhan Vong don’t know him at all.  They do know Kyp.  If they watch him dragging her luggage around, they’ll be impressed.
 
Jaina does ask him to show the other pilots how to save EVs the way he did a couple of days ago.  He does agree to that.  Sharr, having known Jag for five minutes, admits he already hates the guy.  Jaina offers that he’s really not so bad.
 
The expedition to Coruscant comes together quickly.  Luke will be working with the Wraiths:  Garik Loran, the unit leader, Kell Tainer, Elassar Targon, a Devaronian, Baljos Arnjak, a human biological expert, Piggy saBinring, Sharr Latt who will be working with Piggy and Jaina on her role as Trickster Goddess and Bhindi Drayson, the daughter of Hiram Drayson who had been a military officer and Intelligence Director.  She’s a tactical expert who will be staying on Coruscant to set up resistance cells after they leave.
 
Kell shows them a long tube that will serve as atmospheric intrusion pods.  They can be disguised as meteorites or debris.  They will ride them from orbit wearing vac suits.  They’ve been tested.  No one’s been fried yet.  Luke isn’t convinced.
 
They’ve also got versions of ooglith masquers that will make them look like Yuuzhan Vong, Fungus droids that will transmit data more easily because they look organic and the Vong will leave them alone and some sets of crab armor and tizowyrms.  Also they have lots of explosives.  Plus three Jedi.
 
All they have to do now is decide how they will get to Coruscant, where to land there and what they want to prioritize.
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  • In this chapter, it’s revealed for the first time that Mon Mothma is dead.

 


#12
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 12:
 
Day 39 continues as a crowd gathers in the hallway of the senior personnel quarters.  The Antilles, Skywalker and Solo families, C 3PO and the Solusars say their farewells, Kam promising Syal that her father will be taken care of.
 
Mara holds Ben to her, whispering to him.  Wedge tells Jaina that this mission is to take the Jedi students and some of the civilian children to the new safe zone.  She follows Mara back to the Skywalker quarters where Mara admits that the children will be safer where they’re going.
 
Jaina mentions she could go with Ben.  Mara confesses that she’s considered it but her work is more important than her feelings.  Jaina is hit mentally with the pain Mara is experiencing and the doubts that plague her.
 
She waves haphazardly at her parents, knowing it will be easier on them and the other people who love her that she’s keeping her distance.  When she follows her brothers in death, the sting won’t be so great.  She knows taking Kyp up on his offer of instruction will hurt Mara but it will give her a chance to not miss Jaina so much, Kyp will have to forget about any personal interest and keep to a traditional Master-Apprentice relationship and she assumes that Jag is too disciplined to be affected too much.
 
The squadrons heaad up, Twins Suns, the Rogues, the Wild Knights and the Blackmoon Squadron under the command of Captain Reth.  They escort the triangle-shaped pipefighter that makes up Operation Starlancer, followed by the Millennium Falcon, its escort and a larger freighter.
 
Tam Elgrin opens his villip and tells Viqi Shesh that Jaina Solo has just taken off with her entire squadron.  He was able to put the bug on her ship.  Shesh tells him he’s done well and to stay behind to evaluate morale once she is captured.
 
Elgrin feels terrible. He’s realized how the pain works.  It’s based on guilt.  If he fails, it worsens, triggered by some kind of discharge into his bloodstream when he’s under a specific kind of stress.  His controller can’t know that he hasn’t followed his orders or how successful he has been until he reports.  He also knows that the pain can grow so badly that it can kill him.  Tam wants to find a way around the pain so he doesn’t feel guilt, but even thinking that gives him a headache.  Tam realizes he’s a slave.
 
On the Falcon, Leia asks Han what he’s thinking.  He tells her he’s considering taking up his old profession once the Vong are gone and that she would be a great asset with her skills and connections.  He thinks she should follow him around the galaxy for once.
 
C 3PO interrupts to tell them the children are bored and don’t want to play with the old-fashioned stuff onboard.  Leia suggests C 3PO tell them the training remote was the same one Luke used and let them try their hands at that. The older ones can run simulations in the quads.
 
As Twin suns heads up, Kyp tells Jaina he likes the new coloration of her X-Wing.  She had painted it white with a running voxyn on each side.  Kyp’s own ship is decorated with a supernova.  She knows it can’t make him happy because, although it’s a reminder to the Vong that he destroyed whole worlds, it also reminds everyone else, too.  And there are still those who think he should have been executed for it.
 
Danni reports from the Wild Knights that they have incoming targets.  Reth calls in a moment later.  Jaina warns them to keep their eyes open and tells them to proceed with test firing. 
 
They continue their mission until two squadrons of coralskippers arrive at a slow pace, none of them approaching Jaina’s squadron.  Then she sees a blip on her sensors.
 
Han and Leia hear the comm. traffic and have Kam and Tionne get the kids settled in.  Tarc appears and asks to sit with them in the cockpit.  Everyone back there is better at everything than he is, even Syal and Myri.
 
Twin Suns continues to fight when Piggy reports they need to return to base because this is a trap.  He reminds her that they have been attacked by a sophisticated force that was able to time assaults on the other three squads but they didn’t jump Twin Suns until the other three were engaged.  He thinks this is a ploy designed to pin Twin Suns here taking down easy kills.
 
Jaina realizes this is right, but they can’t flee when they face a trap.  She tells Piggy that they’re staying, but broadcast the warning on fleet frequencies and sound panicked.  When he sends it through, she responds that the Vong will soon feel her trap, too.  Then she decides to try to figure out what they’re doing, keep them from doing it and do something worse to them.
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  • Kam and Tionne were aboard the ship?  Why then did it fall to C 3PO to keep the children entertained?  And how many kids are on this ship?  We were told in Ambush at Corellia that the Falcon wasn’t big enough to take the two droids with the Solo family, yet there must be a good 30 kids, from what we’ve been told of the Jedi trainees, plus the Antilles girls, Ben and Tarc, plus Kam, Tionne and C 3PO.

 


#13
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 13:
 
Starlancer sends its beam at the Coruscant system and fires.
 
Maenwhile, Twin Suns continues to fight when the second wave arrives.  Rogue Squadron tells her that there is no trap sprung for them at the other end. Wild Knights and Blackmoon report the same.  Piggy tells her that the new arrivals are interdictors and they are not here because of Starlancer but because of her.
 
He plots them a course away from the Starlancers’ vector, but is not the most logical escape route.  Coralskippers numbering five times the original total are now pursuing them.
 
Hearing the comm. traffic, Han tells Leia he’s going back.  She tells him they can’t help her and remind him they have children aboard.
 
Wedge and Tycho had known that the Vong would make an attempt to grab the Starlancer vehicles and had planned for it.  Unfortunately, they hadn’t bet on Jaina being the target which means that whoever is on the ground or in orbit spotting for the Vong is well informed. 
 
Wedge has to weigh how much Jaina is worth to them and finally decides they’ll have to wait for a task force leaving Borleais’s shadow right now.
 
Jag has an idea.  Jaina and Kyp shold launch shadow bombs and then follow him closely before dropping them.  They’ll know when.  Jaina and Kyp fly, fire and hold their bombs through the Force, following Jag until they come up on the drop point.  They drop their bombs and the interdictor dies.
 
However, Jaina sees Jag’s blip held back.  He explains that he was grazed by a singularly effect and he has no shields.  He’ll catch up with her.  Jaina doesn’t think he’ll be able to and doesn’t want to leave him behind.  Kyp warns her not to go back or she’ll be captured. That’s exactly what Jag worked to avoid.
 
She knows this, too, and has the squadron set course for Borleias, Jaina and Kyp each hold back, each knowing the other would and each agreeing to jump at the same time.  Neither does.
 
They start to argue about it when Colonel Celchu comes on the line and and orders her not to return to the combat zone.  She knows that General Antilles thinks his nephew is doomed and she doesn’t want to give in to those odds.
 
She and Kyp take off into the combat zone.  Kyp tells her he can save Jag, but he needs her help.  He wants her to aim for the other interdictor’s bow and punch through to Jag and give him some relief.  She also needs to protect Kyp because he will be too busy to shoot.
 
Kyp flies evasively while his mind goes elsewhere.  Luke had done this a couple of years ago, but no one else had done it because Luke had nearly collapsed from exhaustion.  They pass the second wave and head toward the coralskippers surrounding Jag.  Kyp knows they must be surrounded now, too, but doesn’t think about it.  He doesn’t think he will be as drained as Luke was because he’s stronger in the Force.  He’d known that since they’d met, but hadn’t acknowledged it to himself until now.  It’s not a matter of pride, it is just a fact that hasn’t really mattered until now.
 
The two rescuers find themselves in the middle of a coralskipper crowd with Jag and the interdictor.  Kyp triggers his lasers and a dovin basal moves to intercept the beams.  He  tries to feel the presence of the void and feels many nearby, some belonging to coralskippers.  He arms a torpedo and launches it only to have it enter another void.  He feels it enter, finds out which one it’s in and directs the Force against it.  The void turns and moves the other direction.
 
When Kyp finds himself in the cockpit again, the void is swallowing the interdictor.
 
Kyp is tired and he thinks a grutchin is on his ship.  He kills it with his lightsaber. 
 
By this time, other ships are coming.   Rogue Squadron arrives with the capital ship, Lunar Tide
 
Leia reminds Han they raised their daughter to take risks.  Han tells her that’s he’s twenty years older than he was this morning.
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#14
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chapter 14:
 
At Coruscant, the laser beam sent from Starlancer hits Tsavong Lah’s worldship.  The damage, so far as they can tell, is minimal and they have no idea where the beam came from.  Lah has the course of the beam traced to the Pyria system, then orders a villip opened to his father.  He also has Viqi Shesh brought to him.
 
Tycho has Kyp go lie down and tells Jaina that General Antilles wants to see her now.  She and Jag are led to his office door where they are left while Tycho heads in first.  Jag asks to speak privately to her so they use a small conference room nearby.
 
She tells him she knows what he’s going to say.  Jag insists he’s not here to debate her command decisions, but does want to know why she did it.  She tells him she doesn’t know.  He thinks she does.
 
She admits that everyone keeps going away and she can’t stop it.  She burst into tears and tells him she didn’t want him leaving, too.  He embraces her and tells her he won’t go anywhere because he doesn’t want to.  They kiss and she feels a great burden lift off of her.
 
When Gavin leaves Wedge’s office, Jag enters in his place.  Wedge quips he’s known Jaina since she was born and Jag is not her.  Jag explained that he came in her place because she needs rest. 
 
He thinks that Jaina will bend in the wrong way if she’s disciplined now.  Wedge points out that he can’t leave someone tht unreliable on the line.  She disobeyed orders and risked a high-priority mission to pursue a personal agenda.
 
Normally, he would not be able to accommodate Jag’s request, but there are procedures in place that allow for Jaina to receive special treatment.  This is exteme and more than he wants to give her, but he’ll allow it.  He also is glad to see Jag made it back safely.
 
In the Maw, Han navigates through the danger zone carefully as only very good pilots can on the known approaches.  The Falcon reaches the hiding place known as Shelter which has been put together by Lando Calrissian and a group of other trusted individuals.  The original Maw Installation is part of it.
 
They greet Tendra Calrissian on the way down the ramp.  She has gathered materiel, including a deep-space habitat module with its own gravity generator and an old hyperdrive. 
 
Han tells her they’ve brought supplies in the accompanying freighter, along with the Jedi students.  Their plans are to leave right away to head back to Borleisd, but C 3PO confirms that Tarc is hiding on the ship, hoping he won’t be noticed. 
 
He wants to come with them because the other kids are Jedi.  They are creepy and he feels he’s in greater danger because the Yuuzan Vong are hunting Jedi.  If they don’t show up, eventually the students will have people come back for him.  No one will come for him.
 
They assure him that they will come for him, but he doesn’t believe that.  Looking like their son may have caused him to be taken off Coruscant, however, Tarc knows how it hurts for them to look at him.
 
Han and Leia debate the issue.  Leia admits it’s got to be hard being surrounded by children with powers he doesn’t have, with the exception of Wedge’s kids who will probably be able to manipulate the adults into getting what they want anyway.
 
Han tells Tarc that he can come back with them for the time being, but he warns him never to pull the I-Look-Like-Anakin card again.
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#15
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chapter 15:
 
On Day 47 of the Occupation, Tam sneaks into the Danni’s laboratories and rocks in place.  He finds a living apparatus that looks like an oil spray and activates it.  It displays a copy of the the security keypad and blue readout, showing a hand punching numbers into the pad. Tam watches the keys and memorizes the sequence, noting the readout that displays the values of the keys being punched.  They aren’t the same.  He realizes it’s a security measure designed to deter anyone trying to record the sequence.  His good memory has saved him, but he wishes it hadn’t.
 
Inside, Danni is asleep at her desk so he walks around, using an implanted ocular organism to record everything he sees. He copies the contents of her datacards on to his datapad and decides he’s done.  There’s something more to do, though, because his headache starts pounding.
 
He realizes that he has to do something about Danni, but he knows he can’t smuggle her out. He would have to kill her.  His headache mounting, he curses himself.   Tam struggles to move to the door and finds the pain lessons as he reminds himself that he is succeeding in his primary mission.
 
After he leaves, Danni raises her head, types a command into her keyboard and watches him stagger down the hallway.  She contacts Iella and tells her that Tam was looking or recording everything he saw.  She doesn’t think he left anything, though.
 
Tsavong Lah listens to reports from Maal Lah and Viqi Shesh, musing at how this pair sniping at each other would normally be Nom Anor and Vergere.  Maal insists the infidels are creating a superweapon as they have done historically.  Viqi explains that Danni Quee is probably integrating New Republic and Yuuzhan Vong technology in some way. 
 
Tsavong Lah takes exception to the creations of the Yuuzhan Vong being referred to as technology and claims the gods would not allow them to be merged with such devices.  Maal Lah mentions that Anakin Solo was able to reconstruct his lightsaber with a lambent crystal and passed the technique on to others.  This new device is using a lambent.
 
Shesh shows him the recording Tam Elgrin had made.  Images on Danni’s screen show a diagram of a lambent crystal that is being artificially grown on Borleias.  The one they see now is as tall as a warrior.
 
Realizing what they are growing, the warmaster calls for a villip to speak with his father.  He explains that the light projected by their vehicles to each other will be focused through a giant lambent that wil be sufficient to destroy a worldship.  What they witnessed earlier was a test-firing.
 
They need to destroy that facility on the planet quickly.  Czulkang Lah thinks it’s too early and they will lose too many warriors needlessly. When his son insists, the father gives a disappointed look displayed to many students but never to Tsavong Lah.  Nevertheless, he will do what is requested.
 
The warmaster tells Maal Lah that Borleias will be given to the priests of Yun-Yammka in thanks to the god for their gains.  That should provoke the priests of Yun-Yuuzhan.  If they really are conspiring against him, he will know it soon.
 
On Day 48, Tycho, Wedge and Iella check the readouts from the garrison’s sensors.  The enemy is clearing wanting them to fret over where their landing site is, but it really doesn’t matter.  They know there will be an attack in a couple of days.
 
She asks if it will be the New Republic or the Rebel Alliance hitting them. Wedge answers that it will be neither.  They’re going to hit them with the Empire and he fills her in on Operation Emperor’s Hammer.
 
The Millennium Falcon lands at night to no fanfare.  Han takes Tarc to find him some quarters; Leia goes to find Jaina.  She looks everywhere before returning to her own quarters where she finds her daughter asleep on the bed.
 
Jaina wakes up and tells Leia she comes here sometimes so that she can imagine her family around her.  That’s not something Leia expected from her daughter.  Jaina confesses she doesn’t know who she is anymore. 
 
Leia has struggled with the same questions for a long time and she doesn’t have a good answer.  Sometimes, she’s a Jedi or a politician or a diplomat.   Jedi must turn away from fear, but politicians can’t.  She fears her allies and opponents alike. 
 
Jaina admits she’s afraid, but not of dying, of surviving.  She doesn’t want to get to the end of the war and find that everyone she cared for is gone.  It’s already happening.  It was bad with Anakin, but worse with Jacen.  She is cut off from half of herself.
 
Leia assures her that she knows Jacen is alive.
 
Rather than argue, Jaina goes on to explain that she feels she should be making plans for the future, but can’t because she doesn’t know what planet will be there tomorrow or which people will still be alive.  Her mother mentions that it was the same when they were fighting Palpatine.  He was thought to be unstoppable, too.  At times like these, you must bring people into your life.  You can’t save all of them, but the ones who survive are part of your life forever.
 
Jaina also admits that she understands now about being sent away as a child.  Feeling Mara’s anguish has taught her that her mother did feel pain when she was separated from her children.  She hugs Leia and tells her she loves her.
 
Day 49 arrrives.  Wedge takes Luke’s X-Wing out and tells Artoo that Luke will be back soon.  Tycho reports there are readings coming out beyond the kill zone.  It looks like the push is on and the enemy is coming from all directions.
 
Lando will be captaining the Record Time for the mission and his YVH 11A will be copilot.  The droid has done well on previous missions. Luke and his team pack up and board the ship. 
 
On the bridge, Lando meets the team, including several of the Wraiths whose names he doesn’t know.  He’s surprised to see Danni Quee, but supposes he shouldn’t as she would be interested in knowing how Coruscant is being reshaped.
 
Jaina runs through the building when the alarms go off, nearly running into a tall man with bloodshot eyes who tells her he’s going to die. He’s a Yuuzhan Vong spy and he’s supposed to capture her now, carry her to the edge of the kill zone, but he’s not going to.  She contacts the Control and tells them about his need for assistance.  He starts bleeding from his orifices and tells her he’s won.  He doesn’t have to do what they say.
 
He falls unconscious while pulling out a card indicating what to do in the event of his death.
 
In the meantime, Jaina gets into her cockpit and greets her astromech, realizing she never asked its name.  She’s told it’s R2-B3. Jaina decides to name it Cappie.  She exchanges looks with Jag in his ship and reminds herself that, Chiss or no Chiss, he’s a full-blooded Corellian.
 
Kyp watches them and notes that she’s let Jag past her guard.  He wonders if he should just show him up or let her get bored with him, then be there when she needs a friend.  It doesn’t help that he likes Jag.  He reminds himself he should figure out what he wants from Jaina first.  He’s not in love with her, but just likes being around her.  She has several great qualities and he’s pretty sure he can make her happy.
 
It shouldn’t be important to him this much, but he guesses she hasn’t been happy for a long time.  He also wants to do something for Han who’d brought him back when he was in a dark place.  Making his daughter happy would make Han happy.
 
Jaina interrupts his musing to make sure he’s still with them and ready to go. 
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  • Kyp is about 14 years older than Jaina.  It’s not impossible, but….

 
 


#16
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chapter 16:
 
Iella reports all special ops squadrons have launched.  Tycho adds that Vong capital ships are nearing the far side of the planet. Commander Davip really wants to pull the Lusankya out in order to engage the enemy.  Wedge tells him know and has the details of Operation Emperor’s Hammer sent to him.
 
Czulkang Lah tells his son’s villip that the orbital capital ships are sending squadrons down into the atmosphere, but no forces are being sent up.  It appears that the not all of the ground sensors have been disabled and the infidels are aware of the approach of the ground forces.
 
Twins Suns take up position north of the biotics buildings.  Wild Knights are at the east, Blackmoon at the west and Rogues to the south. Other squadrons coming from the Star Destroyers are filling in gaps.
 
Jaina doesn’t like waiting.  The fear is back, but she doesn’t mind it now.  It reminds her that she is among the living. 
 
Captain Reth spots two rakamats headed in their direction.  He reports that Blackmoon Squadron is on it.
 
Twin Suns fires on the rakamats in their direction, finding these creatures are reinforced with more voids than usual.  Coralskippers are at ground level using the jungle canopy as cover.  Jaina tells Piggy to take command of the squadron and continue aerial assaults.  Jag and Kyp are to come with her.
 
Commander Davip has some concerns about the operation.  He thinks it will be effective, but he doesn’t have the confidence in his crew. It’s not been done in twenty years.  His crew are all misfits.
 
Wedge tells him the Advisory Council staffed him with these kinds of crewers so they’d all die here and they would be free of those who’ve caused them trouble in the past, including the two of them.  He reminds Davip that Lusankya isn’t a free ride to promotion anymore.  It will be his last command if he can’t figure out how to make it work.
 
Davip signs off and thinks about it, realizing he’s always liked things clean.  Maybe he should get dirty and cluttered.  He calls to his weapons officer and wants command of the turbolaser emplacement designated for this operation that belongs to the officer with the worst simulation score transferred to him instead.
 
Then he opens a comm. to the weapons stations, telling them that he’s assuming command of one of the stations.  Any gunner whose accuracy rates are worse than his will get transferred down to Borleias after the battle to help handle the bodies of the dead.  They will stay there so long as the ship remains in system.
 
Jaina, Jag and Kyp head through the jungle toward the rakamats.
 
Captain Reth has lost two E-Wings already.  The coralskippers are coming off the ground, thousands of reptoids are with them and the rakamat.  Iella advises him to make a fighting retreat back. 
 
Jaina and Kyp use the Force to propel shadow bombs to destroy the two rakamats.  Wedge calls Twin Suns to fall back.  He tells them they are holding up the enemy advance.  She thought that’s what they were supposed to do.  Wedge advises her she’s doing her job too well.
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#17
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chapter 17:
 
At Coruscant, the Record Time drops out of hyperspace.  Lando calls out for a nonexistent survivor cell which brings the attention of a frigate analog.  YVH 11A starts destroying coralskippers.
 
Luke waits in the cargo hold inside the descent unit.  He wears a set of Vong-style armor underneath an environment suit.  He can feel Mara in the Force and knows her mind is on their son.  Lando warns them they’re getting in range.
 
Under fire, the ship dispenses the pods and Lando gives the code that will be relayed back to Wedge so he knows the pods got off well. Then the Record Time is hit, the artificial gravity goes and Lando begins drifting toward the ceiling.
 
Luke feels himself falling out of the hold and down toward the planet.  He doesn’t like being in any small vessel he is not in control of. 
 
Lando and the droid push themselves free of the cockpit and down the passageway. 
 
The pods heat up on descent and then repulsorlifts carry them slowly down.  He can see his surroundings as they begin to land.  Buildings are toppled, greenery is everywhere.
 
Tahiri tells Face excitedly that she wants one of these rides when she gets back.
 
11A blasts open the cargo bay and they board the B-Wing waiting for them.  Lando plots a course to carry them away to hyperspace. 
 
Jaina realizes that the defenses are falling back at the same rate.  The New Republic Forces withdrew were they were too strong and reinforced where they were too weak.  When they reach their positions, they hold.  Suddenly overhead turblasers begin blasting through the vegetation coming from the Star Destroyers above.
 
The Empire utilized planetary bombardment, the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic did not.  The Lusankya is doing what it was designed to do long before Jaina was born.  After four minutes, the turbolasers stop and Wedge orders ground forces to start mopping up.
 
Mara looks around on Coruscant and welcomes everyone home.  Luke wonders if it will ever be home again.
 
Czhulkang Lah can’t believe he never knew the large triangle ships could do this.  He decides that Nom Anor had failed to discover this just as he’d failed to do learn that the humans give birth to twins regularly.  He orders his ships recalled.
 
That night, Jaina powers down, pats her X-Wing and waves at Cappie.  Jag meets her to let her know that Lando got back safely and is throwing a party for family and friends and anyone else who’s interested.  He asks if she wants to go.  She links their arms and tells him she’d loved to.
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End of Book 1




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