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Enemy Lines II: "Rebel Stand": Book 12 in the New Jedi Order

Jedi Cool

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chapter 1:

Jaina turns her X-Wing so she coming directly toward the Rebel Dream and the coralskippers beyond it. Kyp and Jag are next to her. The maneuver is not hard for Jag, but it had to be hard on Kyp’s X-Wing.

They continue to operate under the guise of treating her as a goddess.

On Coruscant, Luke is wearing his fake crab armor which spares him the twitches sometimes made by living armor. They move through a residential area which is likely been looted and find bodies. On a world with no wilderness or farmlands, much of the population has probably starved to death.

Face, Kell, Baljos, Bhindi, Elassar and Tahiri accompany Luke and Mara. They proceed down a walkway that seems stable when they are challenged by a Vong patrol. It becomes a battle of words as befitting the Yuuzhan Vong and they are forced to fight.

The three Jedi ignite their lightsabers, exposing their identies, eliminating the patrol before retreating, but the walkway is damaged so they have to go up. Luke is certain he felt something.

On Borleias, Han Solo works on the Falcon with the help of Artoo. Leia approaches him and tells him they need to see Tarc before they go and find a way to tell the Noghri Meewalh that they will not be taking her on this mission.

Twin Suns joins up with an escort wing mix of As and Es called the Taanab Yellow Aces. The pilot designated Ace -1 is confident enough int their abilties that Jaina thinks he’s an arrogant monkey lizard. Piggy agrees with her as he knows the pilot.

Tam Elgrin can’t think clearly while on the bed. There are people around him. A female Mon Calamari approaches him and asks if he knows what’s happened. She explains that he was conditioned by the Yuuzhan Vong to do their bidding, but he resisted it and probably prevented a great deal of harm, although not to himself.

He remembers trying to flee Coruscant, being captured by the Vong, conditioned by pain to accept their orders and then allowed to escape and reunite with his employer, holohistorian Wolam Tser. They had gone to Borleias where he had spied on the New Republic operations. He had only been able to resist them when he realized that he would have to kidnap or kill.

The healer calls herself Cilghal and will be working with him to overcome the lingering effects of what has been done. They are going to utilize technology to reduce his headaches and then later fit him with an implant that will help counter the conditioning.

Elgrin assumes that he will be tried and executed, but she assures him that General Antilles has says he will be commended, not punished.


  • This chapter specifically says Kyp is not yet 20 years of age. That’s a direct quote. It’s also very wrong. Kyp was 16 years old in the Jedi Academy trilogy when Jaina was a toddler of 2 ½. That was a good 16.5 years ago if Jaina is 19 by now, which the books have not really been clear on. Kyp is close to 33 years old. The official time for this book is 27 ABY, but Jaina was born 9 years ABY which would make her still 18. I’m thinking this book is probably more like 28 years ABY.

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chapter 2:

A tall man pounds on the wall that stretches as far as the eye can see until it grabs a block of ferrorete and and tosses it. The block shatters. He ignites his blade but the stone doesn’t melt away. He shouts, knowing he has to have what is beyond the wall. He has never seen it or felt it but knows it’s there. He finds a human male huddling nearby. He yanks the smaller man forward and asks how.

Hundreds of thoughts falsh through his mind until one comes to a machine with fire coming from its nozzle that will penetrate the wall and allow them through. The tall man sends a thought to the small one that he should go out and find the machine.

On Borleias, Tycho Celchu presents the commander of the Tannab Yellow Aces, Captain Wes Janson. He came in with the Reckless Abandon and will be here until he gets killed.

This is an all-volunteer unit that he organized after resigning his commission. He’s promised to bring back a piece of Tsavong Lah. Wes also asks about the attractive-sounding female pilot he spoke with earlier. Wedge and Tycho have fun with him, telling him they think she’s attached and that she is attractive. Then they tell him it was Jaina Solo whom Wes still thinks is nine-years old. They point out she is 19 and has more kills than all of them had at the same age.

Wes decides he’ll just throw himself on her lightsaber now. Wedge tells him to just have Han shoot him.

Czulkang Lah is older than any Yuuzhan Vong has a right to be. The priest Harrar comes before him and is glad to find him in work benefiting the gods. He has brought ships and ground reinforcements. Lah has been directed to offer Harrar every assistance in capturing Jaina Solo. He is bestowing Charat Kraal who has been in charge of special operations on this matter on Harrar as an assistant.

Kraal reports that they have recently lost their human spy so he is working on introducing one or more new spies into the camp. They’ll do this the next time they assault the camp.

The Coruscant team continues into a long gallery. Luke still feels some distant wrongness. Mara indicates she feels it, too. Tahiri is staring off int eh distance. Danni is somewhat confused and asks if any of them felt something.

A group of ragged humans with primitive spears and knives runs at them. The group flees quickly. Danni doesn’t understand why they ran since their mission is to set up pockets of resistance. Bhindi points out that they look like Yuuzhan Vong. That large group of people was likely hoping to push the warriors into a trap further up. Secondly, since they eliminated the patrol on the walkway, their identities are still secret. Any one of those survivors could sell them out to the Vong if they reveal themselves.

Some of them will have to take off their disguises and go talk to them while the rst wait. Luke agrees that he, Mara, Face and Bhindi will go back. Tahiri will stay with the others because there should be at least one Jedi with each group.

In the back room of a clothing shop, Luke’s group meets with members of the Walkway Collective. Their leader, Tenga Javik explains that they rigged photon collection screens and heat harvesters for power. One of the them worked in a grayweave factory which manufactures subsistence food often given to the very poor. They stole gray weave reactors and hid them well within their territory. Most of the time they hide from the Vong but set occasional traps for them if they are sure they can take them. She assures Luke they will survive.

The air is getting worse but they’re working on it. She asks when they can expect relief. Luke tells them he wishes he could tell them soon, but it won’t happen right away. He urges them to not give in to the fatigue and discouragement they are feeling but it will kill them just as easily as the Vong will.

Bhindi offers to teach them how to repair and maintain their equipment better, as well as teach them how to hide, ambush and defeat patrols better.

Mara asks if any of them has seen or felt anything unsusual in the area, beyond the changes made by the Vong. One of the survivors mentions Lord Nyax. His companions are weary of hearing about it and even Luke is amused. He explains that, on Corellia, Lord Nyax was a mythical bogeyman used to scare disobedient children. He was a ghost who stole children. This standard folk tale spread to other worlds during the post-Clone Wars period because of Darth Vader’s attempt to purge the galaxy of Force-sensitives, including children.

The man, Yassat, insists he’s not just seeing things. He saw Lord Nyax about a month after Coruscant fell. It was in the old government district and he was hiding from a hunting party. He was already afraid, but suddenly became even more afraid for no reason. He heard screaming and saw a big ghostly man moving among the warriors. There was a roar and flashes of red. The warriors were dead, some chopped up, some burned, some chewed on. He saw him again about four days ago. He felt that fear again while he was prowling and knew he was being stalked. Somehow, he just got away.

Tenga doesn’t think anyone just gets away. She thinks he could have been captured and allowed to get away. Yassat is adamant that this isn’t true. A man called Skiffer is part of another group that preys on the Walkway Collective, killing scouts and stealing grayweave reactors. Some of them may have also turned to cannibalism. He led Nyax through the heart of their territory and took off when he heard Skiffer call an alert. He heard them screaming as he ran.

Luke decides his team will check it out.

Jaina wakes up and jumps to her closet. She knows the Yuuzhan Vong are coming. Jag is waiting for her in the hallway and Piggy emerges from his room quickly. There are flying vehicles only with no ground troops yet.

It looks like it’s an assault on this facility specifically.

Corran is back flying with Rogue Squadron as Rogue 9. His wingmate is Leth Liav, a Sullustan pilot saved by Twin Suns after being jettisoned above Borleias. Rogue Seven is Darkorse Teep, a teenager only a few years older than Corran’s son, Valin. The Rogues are down to nine members right now, but other squadrons are in worse condition. They break up by shield trios, but Teep can’t keep up and eventually rolls out of control after a plasma shot sends him rolling and punches through the trees before exploding. Corran can’t help but think how many children this war is gobbling up.

Charat Kraal explains to Harrar that this mission is just a probe to test strength and to deny the enemy opportunity to res. His spy mission is attached to this one.

Piggy reports they are not concentrating on the biotics building this time, but they’re not taking the defensive structures apart either, such as taking out Lusankya. Jaina suspects this is another attempt to capture her. She asks Twin Suns Eleven, Rilath Keer is she’s got her missle. It’s an experimental weapon attached to the underside of the X-Wing and makes the ship less maneuverable.

Harrar watches the battle and asks where the Starlancer vehicles are being kept. Kraal indicates where the elite keep their vessels, but the buildings are not targets today because most of out fighting right now. The lambent crystals are being grown in the biotics building but his agent couldn’t find the precise location. The next agent will find and destroy the crystal growing machines.

Tilath fires her weapon which is a metal tube packed with a pastma-based explosive charge and metal ball bearing. When the pasma detonates, the ball bearings superheat and spread toward the target. They cannot do significant harm to the hull of the ship but they do serve to confuse the dovin basals which have to prioritize the projection of their voids to protect the most important and vulnerable parts of the ship.

Charat and Harrar watch this happen as the matalok keels over, mortally wounded. He doesn’t understand how she was able to persuade the dovin basals to let the missles through. He wonders if Jaina Solo is an avatar of the goddess.

Harrar assures him she is just an infidel who mocks the goddess, but even he is not really certain of that.

Corran and Leth take on skips near the building and Leth hits one that goes to pieces and drops debris on the ground, destroying a dirt hauler.

Damage control crews come out to fight the fire. Medics come to a man covered in the shell pieces of the coral skipper. He insists he’s not hurt, so he is told to go help look for other survivors.

General Antilles calls off the pursuit when it’s clear the attack is over with.

At the hospital ward, Han asks Tarc about his leg. Tarc explains he can still walk but they don’t want him to. The Solos warn him about pushing himself while they’re gone.

C 3PO encounters YVH 11A, the war droid created by Lando Calrissian. The war droid wonders why he is so intently watching Solo using a welding torch on the ship. Threepio admits he’s trying to come up with the right word to describe the descent and extinguishment of sparks. The best word he can come up with isn’t logical: sad.

1-1A wonders if a spark feels fear as it drops. Threepio doubts it’s capable of considering its own mortality. 1-1A notes that people think that of droids but it’s not always true. Threepio finds that to be quite insightful for a combat droid. 1-1A reminds him that he faces termination on a regular basis which has given him the opportunity to reflect. Unfortunately, he’s found that he’s unable to ignore this epiphany and thinks it’s affecting his work.

C 3PO admits that he’s had the same thoughts recently and his counterpart is no help at all. All Artoo tells him that everything dies and to face it bravely. He is relieved to find out he’s not the only one who feels this way.


  • The time is really a little less than 2 months after Coruscant fell so Yassat apparently only recently saw Lord Nyax for the first time then. Rebel Dream begins with Day 1 of the Occupation of Borleias which is only days after the fall of Coruscant. The book took place over a period of about 50 days (we know this because the author helpfully detailed each day!). Luke and his team landed on Coruscant at the end of that book and this one picks up right after that.

  • Confirmed that Jaina is definitely now 19 as Jacen was said to be two or three books ago. She’s been aged at 18 in the last several books though we know she must be the same age as Jacen. If she’s 19, though, it’s 28 years ABY, not 27.

  • And if it’s 28 years ABY, then Valin Horn is between 14 and 15 years old. If Teep is a few years older than Valin, then he’s maybe at least 17 or 18 years old, hardly the youngest pilot Rogue Squadron has ever had. Obviously, though, he was no Gavin Darklighter.

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chapter 3:

The small man’s name is Ryuk and he trembles as he does what he’s ordered. He is cutting through the wall with the flame coming from the device. Eventually, the flame goes out and the device doesn’t work anymore. The tall man gestures and Ryuk is shoved into the stone, crushing his bones. The tall man decides to find someone smarter.

Leia and Han drop out of hyerpsace at Vannix in the Vankalay star system near Kuat. Leia announces she is on a diplomatic mission to the Presider of Vannix. When Control grants clearance, she asks if Senator Gadan returned and is told she did.

Han tells the two Intelligence agents with them to get into the pod right now. The operatives will be setting up a resistance cell when they get down down.

The Falcon is escorted down. The Solos and the two droids are greeted by Senator Addath Gadan who offers her condolences on the deaths of their sons. Leia thanks her and asks if she can arrange an appointment with Presider Sakins.

Gadan explains that will be difficult because Sakins looted the treasury and took a number of his aides and relatives off the planet the week after Coruscant fell. She doubts he’ll be back.

For now, she’s in charge of civilian matters while a not-too-bright naval officer named Apelben Werl is running the military. There’s a runoff election in a few days to decide which of them will replace Sakins. She’s glad they’ve come because they might be able to swing the election in her favor.

Two hours later, they are left alone in quarters. Leia has Artoo play some music and a recording of a insignificant conversation they’d had on the Falcon. She whispers that she’s been recording their conversations every so often for situations like this so they don’t have to hunt down all the listening devices probably in here.

She has C 3PO summarize the candidates for President and their positions. He explains there are three, but two are largely considered the main contenders. Senator Gadan is a twenty-year representative in the New Republic Senate. Admiral Apelben Werl is head of the navy. The contest has been bitter between the two and, although it’s expected the results of the election will end that battle, it’s also possible the loser will not accept the results and take the government by force.

Gadan wants to cooperate and appease the Yuuzhan Vong, while Admiral Werl wants to oppose them militarily. Han notes they’ve already accomplished their primary mission to drop off the operatives. They could leave tomorrow really. Leia knows she can’t do that with a clean conscience.

Though Gadan is not Leia’s friend, she’s respected the woman’s skills. She regrets opposing her, but this is business and they cannot allow the Yuuzhan Vong to gain an ally should she win the election. Of course, they have to determine if they should let Werl win instead.

Han warns her that election rigging is stil illegal and not suited to a law-abiding politican. Leia reminds him that she’s not a politician anymore.

Tarc approaches Tam and calls him the nosebleed guy. Tam was bleeding from the nose when he resisted the Vong conditioning. Tam admits that he is in a considerable amount of pain when he doesn’t do what they tell him. That’s why he has to wear this helmet for right now.

Tarc tells him his real name is Dab but no one calls him that anymore. He was injured when some plasma from the attack the other day burned through the wall and splashed on him. He is getting out today. Tam assumes he can leave when he wants but doubts he has anywhere to go as people won’t trust him.

Tarc doesn’t understand that. After all, Tam fought back. Tam tells him he should have fought back from the start or let them kill him. Tarc thinks that’s a stupid thing to say. He was used, too. Someone on Coruscant who was spying for the Vong convinced him to help her trick the Solos by virtue of him looking like their dead son. He supposes he was intended to be killed, but the Solos brought him with them even though he knows it hurts them to look at him. As for his family, he doesn’t know where they are.

He stays with them but they’re gone a lot so he doesn’t have much to do. Tam asks if he’d like to learn to become a holocam operator. They’ll go find Wolam Tsar.

Ghithra Dal hesitates when he looks at Tsavong Lah’s arm. He admits that it’s growing worse. Lah knows he’s doomed to be a Shamed One, but will not allow that to happen. He will offer himself up in sacrifice or will die in battle. He must choose a new warmaster to support.

He suggests Gukandar Huath, knowing that Huath is well known for his support of Yun-Yammka and Yun-Harla, as well as his indifference to Yun-Yuuzhan. If Ghithra is part of a conspiracy with Yun-Yuuzhan’s priests, he will offer another name.

But Ghithra tells him there’s another avenue available to him. One of attack. He believes that the anger of the gods afflects Lah. Though Lah has not cursed the gods, he is neglecting the Creator god Yun-Yuuzhan. Though some priests say that the Creator is distant, there are those who have a different philosophy. A young priest named Takhaff Uul should be able to assist him.

He dismisses Dal and orders Uul to him. Nen Yim enters and examines him while Lah turns to Denua Ku who confirms that the tracer spineray was tossed onto his back and Dal did not react to it. It will spawn shortly and the spawn will spread.


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chapter 4:

The tall man enlists many workers to help him as they try different things to break the wall down.

On Borleias, Jag is waiting for Jaina when she emerges from her meeting. They head to a small conference room and kiss. She tells him she’s got an extra B-Wing in her squadron and needs to find a pilot for it.

She was thinking of asking Zekk, but Jag doesn’t think he’s good enough. Jaina is planning to use it as more of a mobile headquarters rather than being used in any type of engagement. Jag thinks it’s more important then that she have a pilot who is able to dodge and outfly. He knows a shuttle pilot named Beelyath who flies rescue missions to pick up EV pilots.

Nen Yim tells the warmaster that his cure requires nothing more than refusing any more treatments from Ghithra Dal. There is material that must have come from the shaper on his arm that keeps the radank leg growing. If the material is removed, he should heal.

Lah notes that stopping the treatment will alert Dal that he’s suspected. He asks if she can find a way to negate the effects of the sickness while allowing him to be treated. She warns him that, while it may be possible, it will take some time to do that, as well as access to the shaping chambers.

Lah will find a way to give her both.

When she leaves, he sends for Viqi Shesh. She is stunned to find out that the ruse she made up to buy her time as turned out to be true. Lah tells her he is sending her down to Coruscant with a search unit of warriors. Several have died there and the burns suggest that Jedi are involved. Denua Ku and their remaining voxyn will accompany her that she may give her insights on the Jedi for the hunt.

This assignment, sent to a ruined world, surrounded by idiot warriors and a ferocious voxyn, living among dirt and grime, does not appeal to her.

Admiral Werl is a stiff-backed, but alert, old woman who resigns herself when Leia admits that she is personally confident in Gadan. However, Leia goes on to say that she favors stiff resistance to the Yuuzhan Vong.

They have come to offer public support to her and Leia starts to tell her that, but Han asks the admiral what it would take to get them to help her. She asks what they are looking for. Han is hoping to find some surprises to hit them with when the enemy retakes Borleais.

She asks what they have in terms of water-based assaults. Han mentions that the Vong haven’t really made significant water-based attacks. The admiral knows that means they don’t have any or they’re keeping them in reserve. She has access to a large number of water vessels that are largely antiques, but the old shells can kill just as easily as the modern ones can. At least then the Vong will be faced with something on Borleias they didn’t expect.

In exchange for the submersibles, they guarantee she will win the election and will be able to see that the Solos had a hand in it. Admiral Werl promises the vessels the day after she takes office.

Leia asks Han what he thinks they can do with those ships. He tells her that they’re going to leave two o the ships behind in the nearest large body of water without telling the admiral. They can serve as resistance bases and to find caves that can only be reached from underwater.

He asks her how she plans to rig the election. She tells him she was just following his lead. After all, she’s never rigged an election before.

Jag sits against his ship, engrossed in his datapad, when Shawnkyr Nuruodo, who is leading Vanguard Squadron while he flies with the Twin Suns. She tells him that she has been asked to keep Vanguard Squadron on the ground for training in elite operations. She is going to turn the New Republic down because she thinks it’s time for both of them to leave.

Thir plan was to come here to evaluate the threat. They’ve had time to do that and need to report their findings. The Yuuzhan Vong are a threat to the Chiss and the Empire and that the New Republic is shattering. It’s only a matter of time before the Vong finish here and come for the rest.

Jag agrees, but believes they should stay. He thinks what happens on Borleias will be the best test of the determination and character of their enemy. However, he does not plan to return to Chiss space when Borleias falls. He feels that his presence here may influence the outcome and to abandon them now would do harm to his own people, too. In other words, any damage he can do to the enemy now will prevent them from doing to them later.

He will return eventually. Shawnkyr tells him that she thinks he’s more motivated by his attachment to Jaina Solo. He tells her that they can assemble a report and transmit it. Shawnkyr is saddened and tells him she will stay until Borleias falls and then return home. If she dies here, she wants him to promise to return in her place to carry out the duty that she is delaying by staying.

Tarc meets Wolam Tser whom he’d thought would be taller. Tser explains they will be showing how the defenders live today. Tarc asks why do this since he’s probably out of a job now that Coruscant has fallen. Tser tells him that he’s a historian and will have a job until there are no more lives left. Someone will want to know what has happened here someday.

Tam tells Tarc that once you know what you are, nobody can take your job from you. Circumstances change or make things hard for you, but your job is part of you.

Luke tells Mara that he hates waiting. Mara tells him that when she was younger, she could get through a boring stretch by sharpening her knives. They can’t do that with lightsabers.

They sense agitation. Tahiri appears and tells Luke that she’s found something.


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chapter 5:

It took time to yank thoughts of of heads and for him to understand names. They’d called him Lord Nyax and that’s his name. As his workers repair the big machine, he knows it will knock down the black wall and he would have everything he wanted.

Mara looks at the tank of goo. Baljos and Danni take samples and determine that it’s a living organism. It’s in a chamber unusually high in oxygen and low on carbon dioxide and world-shaping toxins. They are happy to breathe clean air. Tahiri isn’t so excited. Luke extends himself through the Force and can feel the life-form in the tank. There’s a twinge of dark side energy there and it’s rather constant.

Luke guesses that this is a devouring tank. Years ago, when Wedge was going to give up fighting in order to build things, he’d described finding a chamber with living material. It’s a type of garbage disposal. Anything organic that gets thrown in here is consumed. The goo is pumped out occasionally.

The pumping equipment is still here. Since all the other technology around here has been smashed, the Vong have obviously been here. The material seems to be able to sense food and cooperate to reach it.

Tahiri notes that the computer console is a fake. It looks real but it’s not hooked up to any pumping equipment. Luke decides he needs to out in it. Mara assures him it will be a quick, painful swim, but Luke uses the Force to tell the organism that he’s not food.

He strips off his armor and asks for an inorganic breath mask, then slips into the goo. He finds a hatch-closing wheel in the tank that won’t spin in one direction but will in the other. Luke feels a vibration when he tries to move it and swims up quickly. The chamber begins to change.

A huge plug rises from the tank and reveals machinery. Luke admits he only turned a wheel. Then Tahiri looks away, Danni joins her and Mara laughs. She tells Luke to look at himself. He looks down and sees his chest is bare. Sure enough, the part of his suit below the goo is gone, too. He supposes he should have told the goo that his clothes were not food either.

It turns out the plug was a turbolift housing. They note the control panel has three setting. Danni suggests they choose research. When they hit the button on the lift, an automated voice asks for their name and Bluenek authorization code. They have ten seconds to comply.

Leia says they have time for about 20 public appearances in four days. They don’t know how prevalent anti-Jedi sentiment is here, but if they find it’s significant, they’ll have to emphasize Han instead of Leia.

He reminds her they could do all this work and Gadan could still win. If that happens, the Yuuzhan Vong get another allied world and they don’t get the submersibles.

Luke and Tahiri are about to cut the door open when Mara gives the correct authorization code and the voice acknowledges her by name. They enter a hallway with lights, cool air and other powered equipment.

Mara explains she had a lot of codes when she was the Emperor’s Hand. She had a Bluenek Section code she never used and almost didn’t remember. There are signs of lightsaber damage here, including on some bodies.

Luke searches through the Force and then directs the group.

In a lab, they find an Imperial-era suspended animation unit. The dark side of the Force permeates it. This is one of the sources of the eeriness he feels. There’s something familiar about this.

The cover has been torn aside, along with four medical droids. Mara finds a dead ysalmiri. Luke realizes that they should have sensed something all these years while living on Coruscant, but wouldn’t if there were ysalamiri around.

Face thinks whatever was in here woke up, broke out and destroyed everything around it by its own brute force because there are no burn marks anywhere. It ultimately got ahold of a lightsaber and finished the job.

Luke wonders how it got out of the complex. They should have felt it if it were still here since the ysalamiri are dead.

Two levels up, Tahiri find a machinery niche with a missing ceiling. She tells them it leads up a hole from the chamber with the goo. It’s not easy to access. Bhindi notes the mystery of having a three-meter tall thing inside a complex with power. She tinks they should close up the exit hole. Luke isn’t going to let that thing keep walking around. He doesn’t want to but isn’t sure they have resources to stop it.


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chapter 6:

On Vannix, a man in a cloak walks into a droid repair shop with a blue-and-white astromech and complains that the droid’s counterpart is a protocol droid which which it argues constantly. The protocol droid hacked into the speech translators and all he does is insult now. The customers want the programming removed and the recording memory wiped.

He offers a new fully charged power cell in exchange for the work. He will be back later. After he leaves, a Vannix Intelligence officer arrives and demands to know what the customer wanted.

Senator Gadan is sorry that Leia cannot make it to the rally. Leia makes an excuse that Han is ill, but asks that the senator give her a schedule for tomorow’s event. The Senator is gracious, but privately fumes when they conversation ends.

Solo isn’t too sick to sneak out of the President’s residence, eluding two layers of security, even with an R2 unit in tow. Fortunately, a third unit followed him.

She plays the recording from the R2’s pre-wiped recording memory. Han and Leia discuss being offered two squadrons of starfighters and a light carrier. It would seem he’s selling himself cheaply. However, they need all the military sources they can get. Han admitted he agreed and they will have to leave soon. Addath Gadan will be disappointed.

It is true that she is disappointed and angry. But not at them. Only that she almost missed this opportunity to come up with a better bribe.

At another meeting, Addath walks with Leia while Han wears a hooded cloak walking behind them. Addath promises military resources she doesn’t have. She believes she can just detach them from her military forces once she wins the election. This world won’t need them anyway as it will be pursuing nonviolent pacts with the Vong. Leia reminds her that she may not win the election with or without Leia’s help.

Addath allows that there is a way to fudge the paperwork and give Leia the resources now. Leia is shocked. This is very illegal and now she’s not sure she can support this campaign at all. Addath would rather here from Han. But it turns out that the cloaked figure is not Han at all, but Fasald Ghem, one of Vannix’s most prominent holojournalists.

Leia cannot allow Addath to take Vannix on a course that will spell doom for this world. Addath can’t believe Leia has gotten so ruthless. Leia admits she wasn’t until circumstances started killing her children.

Fasald will broadcast regardless of whether Addath stays on world or not. But if she leaves, the journalist will wait a full day before doing so. Addath wonders that Leia would do this for the small amount the admiral promised. Leia tells her that they were planning to help the admiral regardless. The conversation Addath overheard that she thought was about the admiral was just a holocomm conference with Wedge that Han was having while he ran errands.

Leia almost feels bad about what is happening, but she knows that it is wrong for her friend to want to hold the reins of power while selling the citizens into slavery and death.

On Coruscant, Bhindi explains that there are two stations here, both of which were operated by Imperial Intelligence. The first goes back 50 years, even though the place itself is centuries old. She introduces CPD-113, a military droid that’s been here since the station’s thrd stage.

The droid tells them that this is the Pasarian Memorial Atmospheric Reclamation Complex Project, substation one. Essentially, this is worldwide airscrubber. Once the planet lacked natural resources to manage the pollutants, they built a series of facilities that converted carbon dioxide into oxygen and other systems. There were hundreds of other substations here, too, and still may be.

Each station is attached to a network of intake and output ducts. The ducts have probably failed with the rest of Coruscant, but the stations themselves could serve as resistance bases. Over time, organics were replaced with droids and the Imperials secured the area very well so that they could control the environment during a crisis. Meaning that Palpatine could have cut off the air if Coruscant ever rebelled.

The third stage was the implementation of the systems and organisms needed to maintain the Subject. It wasn’t really related to the purpose of this place but it was a place close to Imperial government centers. The Subject was a human male who came here with a woman thirteen years ago. They were joined later by a man and were able to control the droids that operated the secure tubolift in the tank.

Many months later, the man left and the Subject was put through surgery and then into suspended animation. He was given growth hormones and cybernetic stimulation for years. His identity was never revealed to them. But he had hypoallergenic armor plates installed all over his body, portions of his brain were replaced by computers. It was assumed he was a war machine of some kind.

Bhindi reveals that when the Subject came out of the tank, he cut them all to pieces. Apparently, this Lord Nyax is a three-meter tall human male, able to use the Force and is wandering around on a world he probably doesn’t understand.


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chapter 7:

Lord Nyax feels the hunger of the thing that wants him. He wants it, too. If it will serve him, he will command it. Otherwise, he will cut it to pieces.

Viqi Shesh is marching through Coruscant’s ruins with the ill-tempered voxyn. Raglath Nur, the leader of the party, addresses the group, then beckons her forward. Nur explains that a warrior saw this walkway fall after reupting in flames from a torpedo. He found pieces of bodies below.

He wants Viqi to explain.

She suggests that it was a portable torpedo put in place and detonated after the planter took off. This would suggest either military equipment or something designed by someone who can do such things. It may or may not be Jedi. They don’t normally use explosives, though.

The best thing to do is find if they’ve dropped something to determine where they might have gone.

Over time, she finds nothing that would lead them to the Jedi. Nur gets frustrated, but agrees that the voxyn may be sensing something very strong in the Force, but far away. They come across some bodies that are bloated. Viqi sees one that isn’t and a teenage boy is pulled out of the muck. He claims not to know anything about the Jedi, but has something to show them.

At that moment, the voxyn drag their handles off. Distracted, they don’t see the boy give Viqi a small object which she conceals quickly. Denua Ku kills him quickly and they follow after the others. She has no idea what it is she’s been given.

Inside a former furniture manufacturing plant, the voxyn drag their handles. The tell-tale sounds of lightsabers ignite, then a machine crashes down, crushing one of the voxyn. Something knocks Viqi from her feet. She lies there, hearing the howl of the second voxyn spewing acid. Then the sound of lightsabers hacking. A wave of loathing and hatred comes over her.

She knows whatever is there has killed everyone that came in here with her. When the lightsabers flip off, there is silence. She takes off, spurred by fear.

Both Luke and Mara sense it, too. Danni comes into the corridor where Tahiri is staring at a wall as if she can see through it.

She felt something more awful than when she was recovering from her conditioning. It could have controlled her if it knew she was here. Since the Wraiths didn’t feel anything, this was something through the Force. Luke himself had dreamed that he wanted to kill everything around him.

When Viqi gets four stories up, she finds a pedestrian ramp, rounds a bend and is stopped by an arm. A man and a woman stand there, estimate her weight, desides she’s good eating and are about to kill her when a low roar emerges. They hear it too. She feels the same sense of hatred as before. They sink to their knees, gagging.

Viqi crawls as fast as she can back where she came from before she hears the sound of lightsabers and the screams of the man and woman. Pulling at a maintenance panel, she climbs into a shaft and climbs a ladder.

After four hours, they find the bodies of the warriors and the voxyn. The dark-side energy had led them here, so much like the cave on Dagobah that it makes the hair on Luke’s neck stand up. Mara is pretty sure it’s their dark Jedi again.

Tahiri doesn’t think a dark Jedi could impose its will on a fully-trained Jedi. Luke wonders what it will be like to face it for real. Face suggests a couple of snipers.

A long time later, Viqi Shesh wakes up tired, thirsty and blind in a dark ventilation duct. All she has are the robeskin and footwraps. And that mysterious object she’d been given. Pushing buttons on it, she finds a lit screen which lights up her surroundings. It also appears to be a location finder of some kind. Something is transmitting a signal and the device points in the direction of that object. A voice comes out of it, a reminder to pick up a charge and a dinner engagement. The woman who recorded it is probably dead.

Viqi shines the light in front and begins to crawl.

She finds herself in the ruins of a nice apartment. The device leads her to a secret chamber where an oversized landspeeder awaits, equipped for flight. She cannot believe her good fortune. She is now free of the Vong and has a way off of this world. She realizes that, if this was being kept here as a means for survival, there might be other things here. She finds in the compartments military rations and tears into the first one.


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chapter 8:

On Aphran IV was an unimportant world which is probably why it has been left alone. Which is fine because it would never stand a chance in an invasion. Han looks his wife who is dressed much differently than she normally would be.

Han’s disguised as well. Leia explains to C 3PO that they don’t know what they are going to find here. They are meeting smugglers they hope to try to convince to organize a resistance here. The smugglers say there have been some government ships coming and going. It would seem that they don’t want the New Republic to know about this.

It could be the Peace Brigade or someone like them. For this reason, Han and Leia cannot be recognized.

When the ship lands, however, and Han works out how the local customs scheme is handled, two Aphran men watch the landing bay. One of them mentions how he doesn’t recognize the man and woman there, but they could be the Solos. They might not be, but that ship is definitely the Millennium Falcon. He thanks the other for the tip, then takes off in a speeder given to him by the Peace Brigade.

Leia has met with a couple of smugglers recommended by Talon Karrde while Han picks up some things he needs. When he returns, she decides she doesn’t want to talk about work anymore and they just watch the beautiful sunset.

Tam and Wolam discuss what to do with Tarc. The Solos really aren’t here much despite their attempting to look after him. The kid needs someone. Tam wants them to take him along with them when they leave Borleias. He will talk to the Solos when they get back.

Besides, as they view Tarc’s camera work, he might make a useful backup operator. On the screen, they catch a reflective light against a wall over a doorway. Tam rewinds it. Then he’s sure he knows what it is.

Near the doors accessing Twin Sun Squadron’s special turbolift, there are doors next to each other, one of which is a utility closet. Tam reaches over that one and finds a small object he identifies as a Yuuzhan Vong toy that he used when they controlled him.

He immediately calls the comm. center and asks for Intelligence office. The security officer won’t do anything on Tam’s word and even gives Wolam a hard time. Then Wolam bullies him and he acquiesces. While on hold, Tam decides to head down a hole he finds under the duracrete in the closet.


  • Nice to know security officers can be bullied by holojournalists…

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chapter 9:

Tam heads down the tunnel where he finds a Bothan bound in a chair being interrogated by a human male in a mechanic suit. The male is interrogating the Bothan but with a halting accent and rhythm that the Vong use when speaking Basic. He’s demanding information about the crystal.

He knows he can’t leave the Bothan to die. He only has a small vibroblade with him. Using his holocram to rewind and playback something he recorded earlier, he sets it for a sixty second timer and sneaks down the hole into the room.

A woman’s voice emerges from the tunnel and the mechanic snaps up, turning to look at the hole. When the voice continues, he runs to stand underneath it, then leaps up to it. Tam charges, activating the vibroblade, cuts the Bothan’s bonds and tells him to run.

The mechanic begins yelling in the Vong language from his position in the hole. Tam jumps into it and struggles with the warrior. His arm is pulled out of the socket before blaster fire kills his opponent. Iella Wessiri and her security operatives flood the chamber as Tam passes out.

On Aphran, Han and Leia are arrested and charged with falsification of identification, smuggling, entering Aphran space on false pretenses and crimes against the state.

Artoo and C 3PO are in the cargo hold of the Falcon when they hear clanking noises. R2 has them hide in a secret escape pod as the ship is boarded and searched.

Artoo releases them before dawn when it’s very quiet and persuades Threepio to go rescue Han and Leia, telling him his plan.

The Solos are being interrogated as to why they are here and what they’re doing. The security officer believes they are here to engage in some kind of military action against the Yuuzhan Vong, knowing that it would drag their world into the war.

Leia explains they came here disguised in the hopes that they wouldn’t be recognized. When they are asked who they’ve spoken to since they arrived, they start off with even the most mundane of officials at the spaceport. The captain warns them he may take sterner measures if they cannot cooperate. They warn him they were tortured by Darth Vader so he’ll have to come up with something inventive to top him.

Outside the bay, C 3PO wears a pack with items R2 believse he will need. Comm signals are being jammed within the bay, but Artoo is plugged directly into the door computer and he transmitting through that to a comm. unit outside the jamming field.

He gives C 3PO directions.

In their cell, Han doesn’t think he can get the access panel off the door. He asks if Leia could do something with the Force. She doesn’t have her lightsaber since they considered that rather indentifiable. She tries to use the Force to unlock the door, but her telekinetic skills are very underdeveloped.


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chapter 10:
Having been manufactured years ago, Artoo has a great deal of of experience and he needs all of that to try to get the prison computers to let his friends go. He knows where they are and what they are being charged with. He can get the computeres to keep quiet about how he’s trying to get past them, but he cannot persuade them to open the cell doors even to transfer them or add a new occupant. Prison computers are not like humans who get hungry or distracted. That gives him an idea.
C 3PO is in the visitor’s line and hands over a chip identifying him as a food deliverer. He is allowed to enter after he convinces the security droid that the bag of weapons he is delivering is actually food.
Han and Leia are surprised and delighted that their meal apparently consists of their weapons and other technological devices. The datapad tells them R2 is standing by and gives instructions for where to go.
Leia uses her lightsaber to cut through the door and they get out. They race down the hall and try to cut through an access wall while Artoo tries to power up the Falcon. Security reports the Solos have escaped their cell but are not out of the building yet.
The officer warns his men to make sure they are put back in the cell and begins to worry that his Peace Brigade superiors will take this news badly. He begins looking through some of the identichips taken from prisoners, hoping he can find one that will help him get off-world.
Artoo’s instructions lead them through a half-filled trash compactor while he flies the Falcon shakily toward them. They try to cut their way out when security droids enter the compactor. Leia uses the Force to pull weapons from them while Han builds a makeshift fort out of metal debris. The droids stupidly fire which ricochet everywhere and hit them instead. Then Leia starts cutting their way through the bottom.
They enter the exercise yard as the ship lands.
Han tells her they are going to pick up C 3PO and head to the forest. It turns out the spaceport isn’t well-defended. After grabbing the protocol droid, Han explains that someone boarded this ship and it’s likely something has been sabotaged. He has to check the ship to be sure.
As is usually the case, it’s the hyperdrive motivator. He reroutes the power quickly and tosses the tracking device out of an airlock. In the forest, they spot an unusual vessel that may or may not be Yuuzhan Vong. He decides to outfly it for now.


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chapter 11:

Tam hates waking up in hospital beds. Wolam Tser, Tarc and Iella Wessiri appear. She tells Tam that he prevented a Yuuzhan Vong spy from getting away with some significant information.

She can’t tell him more and he shouldn’t ask, but Tam thinks he already knows. He had stolen information about a superweapon involving lambent crystals. He realizes that the crystal is fake. There isn’t a superweapon and the whole Starlancer project is a ruse to manipulate the Yuuzhn Vong commander.

Luke wakes up in darkness to find Mara with him. She tells him to go back to sleep. He tells her he should get up, but she mentions all the news is bad.

Danni elaborates that they haven’t had the chance to take all the readings they needed to for spending so much time in the ruins. Luke tells them he’s seen them taking readings the whole time. Baljos admits they’ve been taking biological readings and chemicals tests of food and water. But they hadn’t been doing astronomical readings. Coruscant is closer to its sun than before. The orbit has changed.

It looks like some of the Vong plants are dying off. They don’t know if it means they’re not adapting to the environment or if this is what they do naturally. On the other hand, the proportion of toxic gases in the atmosphere is stabilizing, so it doesn’t look like the Vong are trying to poison the atmosphere.

The little stealth droids have been deposited in areas the Vong are patrolling heavily and are transmitting images. There’s hope it may be helpful some day. However, while the objective is to get New Republic forces back here someday, no one knows how long that will take and the world may be a Yuuzhan Vong world by then.

They need to teach the survivors how to live on this alien world. Luke does not want to accept that they’ve lost Coruscant. Danni assures him the mission is not a failure. Its objectives just don’t match the reality.

Two days later, Luke goes on a vehicle hunt with Face and Bhindi. There should be thousands of vehicles here, but they’ve not found any spaceworthy ones that are still intact. He wonders why he is on this mission.

He turns and spots a man standing in a viewport across the street. He seems familiar to Luke. He’s pale, with dark curly hair, blue eyes and an aristocratic nose. He is barely 20 and wears a wrap around his middle, fingerless gloves, covers on his knees and elbows. Luke can sense him through the Force, but it’s a beacon of darkness.

He unlatches the viewport, thinking he can step out on to the walkway and go ask the man a question, when he gets an alarm. He realizes there is no walkway in front of him. Luke turns to Face and Bhindi and tells them there’s trouble.

They watch the viewport for awhile, seeing that the room beyond it is filled with tattered, muddy or bloody people, destroying things. Face guesses they are some of Yassat’s cannibals.

They find the chamber in which he had seen the man. Luke still feels the twinge in the Force that has been haunting him since he came here. He also sees the viewport frame is about three meters tall. The man he’d spotted had filled it.

Mara thinks Luke’s fatigue is just making him more suspectible for Force powers. Luke knows being tired doesn’t help, but he’s getting the sense that this man is powerful and he also knows he’s seen him somewhere.

In the Pyria system, Leia and Han look over a map of known dovin basal mine locations. It may not be complete so it’s possible they’ll be dragged out of hyperspace before they reach Borleias.

This is what happens. The mines start pursuing them and they are forced to fire and evade coralskippers before heading toward the planet. Wedge doesn’t like the idea of pursuing mines.

Tycho mentions that they got the name of the commander from one of the reptoids they captured. It’s Czulkang Lah, the father of Tsavong Lah, terrifying warrior and a teacher. If they can beat him, it may be a morale blow to the Vong.

In fact, it may be the mobile mines recognized the Falcon and came after it. They may not work so hard to get a different ship. It’s something to keep in mind when using recognizable ships.

In their quarters, someone knocks on the door and it’s Tam Elgrin. He wants to speak with them about Tarc.

Kyp gets a knock at the door that reveals Piggy. He tells her Jaina wants to see him on the roof.

He finds her and Jagged Fel sitting on top of a consensor unit. Jaina explains there’s a problem. Kyp pulls himself out of the Force conection the minute it’s not vital to the mission. She knows he’s lost a lot of his squadron mates, his family and many friends, but she feels him prepping to leave when he has the chance each time they connect. She wants him to know he doesn’t have to be alone.

Kyp mentions he also doesn’t want to be in the way of their relationship. Jaina tells him that if it’s that’s confusing to him, he should leave now. He used to be a kind of kid brother to her father, but that doesn’t mean anything to her. Their relationship is not master-apprentice, not boyfriend-girlfriend, it’s just a partnership. He has to decide how long he wants to keep it.


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chapter 12:
Commander Davip of the Lusankya heads down the Beltway, which is the central corridor running down the length of the SSD. Inside is an apparatus filling the forward portions of the Beltway that is being worked on by welders and mechanics.
On Borleais, Captain Reth sits before his meal. One of his squadron, Lt. Diss Ti’wyn, asks what’s wrong. Reth tells him that they’re in trouble here. They don’t have a good opinion of Davip anyway and he’s been told that repairs on the Lusankya aren’t going well. Yet, there’s no evidence the ship was damaged that severely.
This mean that Davip just doesn’t know what he’s doing. If Antilles doesn’t realize that, it doesn’t speak well of his skills either. He has also heard that the Advisory Council left in a huff after Antilles refused command of Borleais unless certain demands were met. Finally, there’s the special treatment Jaina Solo and her squadron are getting. He is wondering if he should put in for a transfer to a squadron outside this fleet group.
Tsavong Lah addresses the priests of Yun-Yuuzhan and tells them that they will be given Borleias soon. They need only to raise their temples there. But he knows they will fail.
He explains he looks forward to waking each day without the smell of sickness on his arm and that he hasn’t displeased the gods. He is sure in his knowledge that a few rogue priests and shapers misappropriated the gods’ will.
Takhaff Uul assures him there’s been no such treachery. Tsavong Lah asks him if he’s certain that the gods trust him enough to save him. Nen Yim opens a large gap in a wall and a large creature emerges. Lah calls it a rancor, a beast of this galaxy. They do not deserve an honorable death.
Several rancors enter the chamber as Lah and Nin Yim leave. Nen asks him if there will be no outcry from the priesthood of Yun-Yuuzhan. He assures her there will be when word returns that the transport was attacked by the infidels at Borleias.
She asks if she is to die, too. Lah assures her that she is needed still. Besides being on loan from Overlord Shimrra, he has no reason to harm her. He asks if she is going to tell this story.
She assures him that no one will believe the word of a disgraced shaper against the warmaster. He agrees her death would be a waste. He wants her to return to Lord Shimmra and study the World-Brain.
Baljos waves the other into the suspended animation chamber of Lord Nyax. He has some information that may help them. According to the machine memory that Bhindi has gone through, Nyax used to be a Dark Jedi named Irek Ismaren.
Luke remembers. He says that Irek used to be Dark Jedi in training, rumored to be the son of Palpatine, but could have instead been the son of someone named Sarcev Quest, by a woman named Roganda Ismaren who had computer implants modified into her son. Leia encountered him about 15 years ago.
He opens his datapad and access a limited database on every Force-sensitive he’d ever encountered. The face of Irek Ismaren is the younger face of Lord Nyax. He should be about 30 now and of normal height. Baljos notes that he spent many years in a suspended animation chamber so he’s physically younger than he should be chronologically. His bones continued to grow. He had a computer apparatus implanted in his brain to learn to control the Force. Apparently, it was augmented here to give him even more control. He’s been equipped with lightsaber weapons.
It seems that after he left Belsavis, his mother hid him on Coruscant in this facility . Roganda monitored his progress and gave him medical treatments to make him more physically imposing. She also brought in the ysalimiri so that his presence in the Force wouldn’t be noticed.
The notes aren’t clear, but it looks like they found another Dark Jedi who got into a dispute with Irek and was killed. Irek got a lightsaber into the skull and died. At least, his brain activity ceased. His mother and the medical droids were able to maintain his autonomic functions and keep the body alive. Roganda’s journals get a bit demented over the years, but it seems like she had his body kept in suspended animation and had the droids insert components into the apparatus in his skull.
Unfortunately, much of his memory and less violent emotions were charred. Her corpse was one of the ones they found here. When Irek broke out of the chamber, she was just another shape in the way. He didn’t recognize her.
A groundquakes caused some ceiling rubble to drop onto one or more of the ysalmiri, killing them and damaging the unit. He woke up and escaped after killing everyone, but he came out early. The operational programming and the memories Roganda planned to put in him are still in the nearby computer. He has instincts, some combat programming and some motivations, but he lacks memories, tactical skills and probably language.
Luke asks if there’s any way to save him. Baljos doesn’t think so.
In the Ugly Truth, Viqi Shesh spent all her time determining that the ship is functional and is definitely hyperdrive-capable. The exit chute is the problem as it collapsed at some point. There are signs someone was working nearby and wonders if it was the young man who gave her the remote. She found his name in the ship’s computer. He was the son of the founders of Terson Comfort Carriers and his name was Hasray Terson.
Today, she is grabbed from behind and jerked off her feet. When she looks up, she sees Denua Ku. She was sure he was dead and says so. Ku tells her he ran because he had to return to his commander and describe the giant Jedi. He has done that and now must return to kill it or be killed by it. He wonders why she didn’t seek out the Yuuzhan Vong and tell them what happened.
Shesh tells him that she could hardly wave down coralskippers. Since she’s human, all they do is shoot at her. This is a lie as she’d never tried, but it’s plausible enough that Ku doesn’t challenge her on it.
She wonders how he found her and he explains that there is a tiny nisbit implanted in her and he used one of its hatchmates to track her. They can return to the worldship together after they hunt down and kill the giant Jedi.
She asks him if she should hold him down while Ku kills him. They hear noises and spot a hunting party with a voxyn nearby. Ku tells her to come along. Shesh decides she will find a way to elude them even if she has to pry the nisbat out of her body.
  • Children of the Jedi was about 16 or 17 years ago so Irek would be 30 or a little over.
  • However, who is this Sarcev Quest that Luke speaks of as possibly being Irek’s father? I know what Wookiepedia says but Children of the Jedi never mentioned this person at all, especially not in conjunction with Irek’s parentage. This is the first mention of Quest. Where and when did Luke get that information?
  • How many voxyn are left? I was under the impression that the one that went down with Ku and Shesh before was the last one, but we’ve run into a couple since then.
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chapter 13:

The voxyn begins to become agitated. Ku orders the warriors to flank it so it isn’t lost.

Mara creeps along a metal girder above a large area that is being used by haggard males and females excavating something. She pulls her comlink and tells Luke that it might be easy to join a work gang down there. She doubts they react to much.

Then the workers stop and Lord Nyax comes through. He seems childish-happy, pleased with their progress. It looks like it’s ready to go. They are communicating telepathically. Mara can’t block it out. Luke confirms that he and Tahiri are having the same problem. They are coming out there.

She feels another sensation behind her and spots Lord Nyax looking up right below where Luke is entering. Yuuzhan Vong warrior burst up the stairwell, being led by a leashed voxyn. It focuses on Nyax.

Warriors surround him. Mara feels an intense hatred for the Vong, knowing it’s coming from Nyax. The workers suddenly attack the Vong and those not instantly killed keep attacking. The voxyn handlers go down, causing it to leap free and launch itself at Nyax.

It is suddenly pushed back and a spray of smoking liquid comes from its mouth. Mara sees that Nyax has lightsabers fitted on his left hand, right hand, elbows and and knees. Luke tells her that they need to help the Vong defeat Nyax as he’s the greater threat right now. Mara notices Viqi Shesh nearby. Angry because Shesh tried to kidnap Ben while Coruscant fell, she wants to go after her first.

Luke insists they go after Nyax.

Shesh watches all of this and then spots Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker arrive. The Vong are not dumb. Denua Ku has his warrors step back to find out what the Jedi want. Shesh realizes she will either die or be pressed into Vong service again.

She starts for the stairwell when a Vong warrior trips her. This one speaks very good Basic. The other one notes they’ve got the run of the litter and grabs her by the ankle. Shesh sees her remote lying on the floor and tries to reach for it, but the warrior holding her swings her to one side. She asks him to grab it for her. He picks it up and recognizes it as a military vehicle locator. Shesh tells him it’s hers. He calls her senator and tells it’s not anymore.

Luke tells Nyax he wants to help him, but through the Force, he can only see the devastation that will follow. He answers that he stands in his way.

Kell Tainer has finished binding Shesh’s hands when Nyax lunges toward Luke. Mara and Tahiri are trying to help him as the Vong toss weapons at whoever they want. Knowing they can’t do any good here, Kell and Face drag Viqi down the stairwell.

Denua Ku is sorry he has to kill this creature even if the Jedi want it dead, too. He is knocked off his feet and watches nine of his warriors go down. A roar shakes the chamber.


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chapter 14:

Maa shouts that it’s a delaying tactic. Luke agree as it’s delaying him. Mara hears Face trying to tell her something and leaps back to find out what it is.

Face shouts that it’s a big machine. They are on a catwalk two levels down in the middle of a deep chamber that housed a single vehicle. The machine is several meters tall with appendages that can roll or life or move. It’s a completely functional construction droid and it’s moving.

Mara can’t hear them and goes back into the fight. Lord Byax has too many fail-safes with his own weapons to fall for tricks. He leaps up and hangs in space, using the cord that she and Luke had used to descend. Then the floor falls from underneath them.

The construction droid plows into the wall, smashing it until the sky shows through. Face and Kell grab the railing of the catwalk as it snaps and drops along one wall. Bodies begin falling through the ceiling, belonging to workers, Vong and Jedi.

Luke springs toward Mara and Tahiri, grabbing their arms. As they drop, they grab the catwalk and hold on. Face drops a cord down to pull them up. The construction droid is only now pulling out onto the street. Kell tells them that Viqi Shesh was at the bottom of the steps and took off.

Mara wants to go after her, but Luke reminds her that Lord Nyax is more important. He can still feel him moving above. Kell offers to go after Shesh since he lost her. Face tells him he should go after the ship she had hidden instead.

Face himself is going to follow the construction droid and find out what it’s been sent off for.

Denua Ku is hanging from the floor above, unable to climb or descend. He is mortally wounded and can hear her feet walking across the floor. Looking up, he sees Viqi Shesh looking down at him.

He tells her to tell them he died well. She answers that she’ll tell them he died whining and begging for infidel medicines.

The three Jedi chase Lord Nyax at high speeds. Luke knows they are going in a big arc that might be part of a cicicle. He’s not fleeing, so he may be leading them into a trap. Tahiri asks where they are not supposed to go. Mara thinks they weren’t supposed to chase the droid and comms Face.

Face tells her the droid is digging through construction a lot faster than it should. He’s cut off from it for the moment. She tells him to leave a tracking signal.

Coralskippers are hovering around outside the hole the droid bored into the side of a huge ziggurat. Luke notes that it was one of the old government centers used by the Old Republic. He knows this because the few files and maps he found from the era indicate the Jedi Temple was nearby.

Mara wonders why Nyax is digging there. Luke speculates that he wants to destroy any remnant of the Temple because of his lingering emotions or he may know something about it that wasn’t on the public databases.

Luke has been all over this area, so he knows a few ways in and out. Inside, they enter an area Luke didn’t know about. He notes that Vong are coming. Vong warriors are headed toward the construction droid, hindered by Coruscant survivors that are intent on braining the troops with rocks.

Luke knows Nyax is near. He’s calling to the people for help. Face can feel him in his head and he wants very much to go down there. He assures them he won’t.

Kell contacts him and says he’s found the source of the locator signal and found a spaceworthy transport that will take them back to Borleias. Luke tells Face to round up the others and leave on that transport. He and the other two are going down there to deal with Lord Nyax. If they die, Face needs to tell the other Jedi about him.

Lord Nyax doesn’t like these warriors he can’t feel, but he does enjoy watching them die at a rate of about 30 workers per warrior. He is summoning more workers now. Three figures slide down toward him. He sends a thought into their heads.

Luke is hit quickly and falls down. He knows he should defend, but a compulsion to attack the Yuuzhan Vong comes over him. He can see that Mara and Tahiri are struggling with the same thing. When they don’t move, Nyax sends pain into them. Luke can feel the pain of the others and they can feel his. But Tahiri gets up and tells him that she knows something about pain that he doesn’t.

Knowing that Nyax is confused and distracted, Luke grabs a stone with the Force and slams it toward Nyax. Tahiri brings her lightsaber down which he deflects but slides away down a pilot of rubble.

Nyax then sends a thought into Luke’s mind to kill Tahiri. Luke had had a moment to center his thoughts and emotions, preparing for this. He fills himself with his memories of Tahiri that blunts Nyax’s assault.

They face him together. Mara rejects the false truths, Luke rejects the false hatreds, Tahiri makes pain part of what they are and strengthens them. Nyax looks confused and a little afraid when the wall breaks.

Jaina is jolted out of her reverie by a surge in the Force. She knows Luke and Mara are in danger. Ganner Rhysode is thousands of light years away and can feel it. In the artificial environment dome in the Maw, Valin Horn wakes up from a nightmare and tries to remember it. Ben Skywalker is two rooms down, crying, while other Jedi students talk about what they just felt.

Danni, Bhindi and Elassar race up emergency stairs when Danni crumples to the ground. She tells them she’s not hurt, but that something just got loose.


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chapter 15:

Luke feels exultation and confusion. He sees a body above him that is missing an arm and is bleeding. Nyax is standing beneath the hole in the black wall. The construction droid is above him. Nyax dances on the rubble.

It’s Force energy. The Jedi Temple must have been built here. The wall was guarding the planet from it.

Face is utilizing an old airtaxi as he notices coralskippers headed toward the location he’d just fled. Comming Kell, he follows his friend’s directions and arrives at the Ugly Truth.

Kell has enough explosives to blast through the debris on top of the exit chute. The others are on the way.

As Nyax has accomplished his objective, he releases his hold on the people who have been slaving for him. Luke thinks he can persuade them to drive that droid out of here before the building collapses. Mara tells him not to. She urges him to just tell them.

Luke finds dozens of minds opened to the Force and uses the wash of energy coming through the crack in the wall to communicate with all of them. He sends a picture to them of the building collapsing. They believe him.

He turns to face Irek Ismaren, but the man lifts up into the air and floats through the hole.

Face tells the others where to sit so the Jedi won’t have to climb over them. Baljos has decided to stay in order to do more studies. Kell takes off through the hole his explosives have made.

Coralskippers try to fire upon the commandeered construction droid. The Jedi get into the turbolift to find it packed with formerly-mind-controlled slaves. Tahkri tells Luke they’ve got to get these people out.

Luke warns her the weapons won’t be helpful here. They will have to use the Force. They can use it like Nyax can. To demonstate, he raises a pile of rubble and tosses it. The others do the same. The ziggurat spews a column of rubble that includes Lord Nyax floating above.

Viqi Shesh hears the roar and ignores the pain in her wrists caused by the binding until she uses a jagged piece of metal to free herself. She reaches the Terson’s apartment building, finds the access stairs down and an airtaxi resting in the chamber. Racing up the stairs, she spots the hole in the wall where the Ugly Truth had been. There is a pile of food and a note left behind, telling her that they thought she would need it more than they would.

The Jedi leap up the ziggurat’s steps until they reach the roof. Tahiri tells the others to distract him. She has an idea. He can’t feel the Yuuzhan Vong through the Force and she is both. Luke and Mara fling rubble and her lightsaber at Nyax.

He’s getting tired of these creatures. He decides to crack the stone they are on and send it down into the ruins when something slams into his back. A second thing hits him and he feels bones shatter. He feels numb. The small female with the yellow hair, lies upon a boulder and grips it with one hand. She had managed to close herself off to the power.

He hadn’t been trained in the Force. He didn’t know that a failure of the body can interfere with the use of the Force. He only knows his control is going.

She throws one of the little creatures used by the aliens. She was cheating it. He loses control and falls into the pit he’d created.

The boulders floating above come crashing down through the room. Luke and Mara leap free and look for Tahkri. Face calls them for confirmation that all that mess was them. The rest of the team is coming but there are a couple of Vong capital ships out here, too.

Kell brings the Ugly Truth down and they jump onto the wing, squeezing in through the hatch. Luke tells them they have to go back because Nyax isn’t dead.

At the bottom of the pit, Nyax kows nothing but pain. He vows to find them and kill them soon because his strength is ebbing. He finds the minds of everyliving thing he can detect and spots two big pieces of coral coming at him. He sends rubble at them.

Kell slides to a landing nearby and they watch the two matalok cruisers approaching. The rubble leaps from the hole in the ziggurat, headed toward the ships. Clearly, Nyax’s aim is getting worse. Luke feels his arm burn, but nothing is wrong with it. Nyax’s pain is being transmitted to all those close enough to feel it.

The matalocks are wearing down due to the rubble. Luke feels through the Force that Nyax is dead.

Kell hears something on the comlink he left open. Everyone can hear weeping. He explains Face left an open comm. behind for stragglers. Someone has shown up at the Ugly Truth’s hideout. They bet they know who.

Viqi Shesh hears the hum of the ship and sees the Ugly Truth coming back. Spotting the angry face of Mara Jade Skywalker, she wonders if she can stoop low enough to beg for mercy. She starts practicing her pleas when a voice tells her he knew she would return here.

Unbelievably, Denua Kua is still alive. He holds his amphistaff in his hands, telling her he’s going to kill her. She knows the hatch is opening but it won’t open in time. She tells Ku that Yuuzhan Vong can’t kill her, Noghri can’t kill her and neither can Jedi. They’re all beneath her. Only one person can kill Viqi Shesh.

She steps out of the viewport and falls.

Luke and Mara watch her and feel her die. The Yuuzhan Vong warrior raises a handful of razor bugs and then keels over. Luke says they can go home now.


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chapter 16:

The situation at Borleias looks worse, but is much better beneath the surface. Kyp Durron welcomes Luke back with a smile and a handshake. Han and Leia are much more comfortable with each other. Jaina seems more in balance than before. His family is healing.

In the mess hall, Wedge, Tycho and Luke are meeting with divisional heads, squadron commanders and other leaders. Wedge explains that Operation Starlancer is a superweapon based on the main gun of the Death Star. It distorts time and space to accelerate its destructive force through hyperspace that will allow it to be used against enemy star systems light years away. The vehicles involved separate to distances of several light seconds, then they activate. The pipes on the fighters join several beams together. It’s focused by a giant lambent crystal and is ready for use.

The second thing they need to know about it is that it’s a fake.

They wanted to dictate when the Vong began their final assault on this world. They have been led to believe this weapon threatens them, are offended by it because they know about Anakin Solo’s lambent-focused lightsaber, been manipulated into thinking it can destroy their worldship around Coruscant. This is being used to distract them long enough to allow the facility to to be evacuated so the battle can be taken to them.

He dismisses everyone, checks with Luke’s assessment of his new squadron and then calls for Commander Davip. He apologizes for knocking his command out from under him. Davip reminds him he’s about to command the largest single-pilot starfighter in the universe. He’s going to go down in history, regardless.

Luke takes command of Blackmoon squadron. He watches the Starlancer pilots prep their vessels. In between them is a large human-sized crystal that looks just like the one a Yuuzhan Vong spy destroyed in one of the biotics building’s subbasements.

Vong observers are probably watching this from the jungle. The elite squadrons begin moving out. Twin Suns, Blackmoon and Rogue Squadrons lift off first, then the Starlancer fighters, then the other elites, Wild Knights, Tanaab Yellow Aes, Vanguard follow.

Wedge alerts the Lusankya to engage Operation Emperor’s Spear.

Czulkang Lah notes how all the best pilots are engaged to protect the lambent vehicles. He decides that mobile dovin basal mines will enter the area and begin stripping shields first. The pilots he will be sending have been trained to fly on their own initiative, so a disruption of yammosk communication will not confuse them.

On the Wild Knights’ blastboat, Danni notes a large formation of coralskippers coming their way.

The Lusankya moves out and Tycho is sent to the Mon Mothma.

When Lah is told that the Lusankya is leaving orbit and fighters are escorting her, he is confused. He thought all her fighters were staying at ground level to defend the base. He is told the Peace Brigade advisors told them this based on listening to communiation traffic between the fighters and the capital ships. Obviously, some of those communications were not accurate. He orders Peace Brigade advisors to be standing by on one of the ships. One is to die for this mistake. Others will die for any subsequent mistakes.

His aide tells him the red ships is leaving orbit now. Two mataloks are sent to eliminate it.

Lusankya turns awkwardly, engages thrusters and heads toward the worldship.

Danni confirms 210 coralskippers. Luke orders all squadrons to reverse course and head back toward pursuit to initiate stage 2.

The two cruiser analogs approach the Errant Venture which has never been heavily-armed and has spent a great deal of time on other missions that the Vong have largely ignored it. The commanders hold their plasma cannons until they can reach a painful distance. Then the Venture turns and lets loose with 30 turbolaser batteries, destroying both ships. The commanders never knew the Lusankya’s weapons had been moved to other capital ships in the fleet, making it a shell of a Destroyer. Errant Venture leaps to hyperspace.

Charat Kraal is commanding one fo the squadrons headed toward the Starlancer fighters, needing only to keep the fighters here long enough for the mines to reach the area. The mine assigned to Jaina Solo’s X-Wing will grab her.

She is among the oncoming craft and the dovin basal on the coralskipper can sense the craft’s specific gravitic signature. He selects a target and then the ships all vanish. The dovin basal doesn’t know where they are. He keeps his pursuit up of the Starlancer ships until they are within firing range. The ships don’t bother to maneuver or do anything. He wonders if the pilots are too frightened or inexperienced.

The four vehicles detonate under the plasma cannons, culminating in the destruction of the crystal-bearing ship. Kraal wonders if they were ever occupied by the living at all.

Czulkang Lah is told that the protective fighters have disappeared. It seems to be an organized jump into the hyperspace. The mataloks sent to destroy the red ship are gone, as is the ship itself.

This is unhappy news and it means that Lah has mysteries on his hands.

Lusankya fires up the hyperdrive and makes a microjump that moves it from her escort. She is dragged back into realspace by a dovin basal mine. This isn’t a surprise. No one knew where it would happen, though.

The crew transmits a signal on the fleet frequency. The ship has no weapon batteries, no life-support on most of the ship, restricted communications and other limitations. There is only a crew of one.

The starfighters are pulled from hyperspace shortly thereafter and build a protective screen around the SSD.

The Millennium Falcon drops out of hyperspace at the edge of one of the big dovin basal minefields. There are no coralskippers, so Han has Leia ready the grav decoys. She readies five and fires one. A missle launches and moves slowly toward the engagement zone. A distortion moves quickly to the missle. Leia notes the bait is being taken.

The missle contains an instrument package that carries the gravitic signature of the Falcon. The other four missles hold the same thing. Leia fires the second one.


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chapter 17:

Wedge watches the starfighters begin escorting the last personnel transports up. One of the ships carries Wolam Tser, Tam Elgrin and Tarc. Wedge wishes them success.

Iella appears, telling him he can’t do much more here and it’s time to go. He reminds her that the Peace Brigade is probably trying to crack the comm traffic still. He has a shuttle standing by.

She warns him she wants him to be able to retire again.

Charat Kraal leads his squadron toward the worldship. The Lusankya is coming and he knows Jaina Solo is among those escorting her.

The squadrons guarding the SSD fight with skill. Lah enjoys watching the development of the conflict. Coralskipper assaults are taking their toll and the huge ship is being taken to pieces. Yet, the ship isn’t firing weapons.

Wedge leaves the operations center as the building shakes. He makes it up the staircase, glad to see that no one has tried defying him by staying behind. He heads out of the building and finds no functional ships. He realizes that his shuttle is among the destroyed vessels.

Wedge runs from the building and finds the special operations docking bay, hoping it hasn’t been booby trapped. The biotics building explodes. He gets inside the docking bay and finds several ships that won’t do and an intact X-Wing that will.

He jumps into the astromechless vessel and finds the authorization code is not recognized. There is unrepaired damaged to the computer and communications. The mechanics hadn’t had time to repair it so it was abandoned. He hears a large craft landing near the docking bay. He looks up who the assigned pilot to this vessel is and enter those authorization codes. The ship powers up.

As Yuuzhan Vong warriors race around the corner, Wedge flicks on the lasers and sprays them. He then fires up the repulsors and thrusters and lifts out of the bay. He comms the Mon Mothma on his way up.

No one responds, though he can hear several people. He flashes past a blue freighter that is similar to the Millennium Falcon and is contacted by it. It’s the Ammuud Swooper which explains that they were shot down by pasma cannont fire and have patched their engines. They ask him to cover them while they get lifted off.

He heads off to find the enemy and finds them in the jungle nearby. Slave-warriors are accompanied by infantry, a coral skipper and a rakamat.

He sprays lasers across their position and they drop down. The odds are bad against him as it’d taken six X-Wings and hidden cache of explosives to kill the last one.

Wedge loops around to face the rakamat and fires again into the grasses, scattering the warriors. He watches the legs of the beasts and times its movements. The grasses are set ablaze by his laser fire and he comes up under the rakamat, the coralskipper behind. The pilot doesn’t see the rakamat until the last second and crashes into it.

Lusankya is headed straight for the worldship. Czhulkang Lah is irritable. The ship is just moving, flame jetting out, guns still silent save for a couple just firing at random. The starfighters are the ones frantically defending the stern.

Lah realizes that the intention was never to use the weapons at all. They are protecting the engines. Those are the weapons. The intent is to ram them

The last wave of coralskippers turns away. Luke checks his sensors and status boards to find two pilots down and most of his units battered. Blackmoon 11 appears to be back even though the pilot was sent being taken off to the bacta tanks. Luke tells them not to worry about it. Jaina comms him and tells him that skips are regrouping in a bunch of different units.

Jaina sees the incoming squadrons and tells her pilots it’s time for a goddess chase. Sharr tells her that the nearest dovin basal minefield is ahead and to port. They adjust course so that Jaina’s fighter is noticed. She activates her gravitic signature and the designation on her ship becomes Twin Suns 9 while a missle is designated Twin Suns One. The skip squadrons go after the missle which enters the dovin basal minefield. The skips are far enough away that the pilots cannot see with their eyes that it’s not an X-Wing.

As they gain faster, the missle revises its course to past mine after mine.


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chapter 18:

Charat Kraal can’t see the X-Wing, but he knows where it is. He knows Jaina Solo is good but she’s flying more recklessly than ever, heading into the minefield. He starts to doubt. He doesn’t understand why she’s leaving the safety of her personal squadron in order to take the skips herself. The only thing he can think of is that she’s wanting to take all the glory herself.

A coralskipper has broken from the squadron to fire on Solo. Kraal fires on it to save his quarry. The other skips continue on their course.

Czulkang Lah is irritated that Kraal has to chase after an undisciplined pilot. He tells Harrar that the pursuers are not acting in concert and that one wants to kill Jaina Solo. Harrar reminds him they must capture her and get the truth from her that her trickery has nothing to do with the gods.

Suddenly, two of the coralskippers closest to the X-Wing vanish.

Sharr Latt, flying the B-Wing, is enjoying calucatling the gravitic pull of a mine on the missle, coming near it and using its own gravitic attraction to whip the missle around and send it in a new direction. The missle survives tighter turns and g-forces than the coralskippers. Two have been caught by a nearby mine’s gravity.

The squadrons protecting Lusankya break toward the incoming enemy. Jaina reaches out for Kyp and Jag in the Force. Kyp fires and she squeezes her triggers, too. Their shots are intercepted by voids, but Jag’s plows into the nose of the ship, destroying the dovin basal there. The other two destroy it with lasers.

Wedge reaches orbit with the Ammuud Swooper behind him. He asks if they have an exit path and they send it to him. Incoming coralskipper beep on his sensors.

Kraal destroys his comrade and then turns to go back to his other pilots and Jaina Solo. The locations are shown but there are four fewer than there should be.

Luke flies through the cloud of flame of a dying blastboat and finds Mara. Tycho orders Blackmoon and Yellow Aces to move up to escort due to increased defense at the worldship.

Kraal speeds along, following Jaina, hoping to get in range, disable and wait for a capture craft. He’s getting close enough that he should be able to see parts of the ship, but he cannot and can only see emission from one engine.

He uses his gravitic sensors to create the illusion that space is rippling ahead of her and she’s aiming right at it. He believes she’s going to pass by the mine and sling around, but the mine will detect her signature and single her out.

But Jaina whips around the mine and comes straight at him in such a way that no living thing could survive the flip. He doesn’t know what to do. When he realizes that it’s only a missle, he is too close to avoid impact.

Harrar’s pilot reports that it appears Jaina Solos was destroyed after Charat Kraal rammed her. Both images are gone. Then he pulls off his hood and realized that Jaina Solo is actually near the worldship now. Charat Kraal is still dead.

Commander Davip is not on the Lusankya’s bridge which had been cleared out for snubfighters to land in. Besides, it’s destroyed now after a dying coralskipper slammed into the front viewports. He is on the auxiliary bridge at the stern, the only person on the ship. There is a starfighter nearby, but he’s determined to finish this with a bang, dead or alive.

Wedge moves away from the Swooper and toward the squad of skips. He expects the freighter to turn back to the planet, but skips are coming up from there, too, and there’s nowhere to run.

It maintains its course and none of the skips block her path. Wedge wonders why. He turns and two lead skips move after him. The other ten parallel him. He realizes that the squadron commander must want a duel and his pilots want to watch.

He veers toward the pacing ships and starts firing in the midst. There is no return fire, probably because the commander wants this kill himself. It takes some quick thinking, diverse weapons and fast maneuvering to destroy six of the ships and sending two more into the atmostphere. The Ammuud Swooper continues to plot toward hyperspace exit points.

Lah thinks there is too much attention being paid to the worldship, too many enemy resources missing and too much unexplained behavior from the Super Star Destroyer headed toward him. He orders a disengagement from battle and withdrawal.

His aide reports that the enemy ship is not behaving as expected considering that she’s dying. Something is wrong with the skelton. Lah looks at it and sees the damage. The bridge is almost gone, weapons are dead, the nose is destroyed but something is protruding from the bow as if it is a giant needle. It’s like a stinger; something their vessels don’t have.

Luke and Mara are above the worldship, diving toward the surface. They turn to enter orbit and whip around it toward the far side. Sensors show an intact squadron coming, so Luke broadcasts his location.

Something hits his ship and and he feels Mara reaching out for him in the Force. His sensor board howls as the Mon Mothma drops out of hyperspace and drifts to Luke’s port. She sends squadrons out to protect the Lusankya and to engage the skips.

She also engages her gravity-well generators and yammosk jamming. Luke tells Mara it’s time for the last act.


End of book 12

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