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"Destiny's Way": Book 14 in The New Jedi Order

chapter discussion thread

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#1
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 1:
 
Sitting in Chewbacca’s co-pilot chair, Leia’s mind goes elsewhere until she gets a sense of her son.  She tells Han that Jacen is alive.  He’s with friends for right now.  Han isn’t sure he wants to believe her, but decides to go with it for now.  She tells him that everything is going to change.
 
The Falcon had been given the dubious honor of ferrying Commander Vana Dorja of the Imperial Remnant home after she’d been trapped on Coruscant during its fall.  Leia is pretty sure that the Commander having been there to negotiate some kind of commercial treaty is just a cover-up for her being a spy.  
 
After some fussiness on Threepio’s part about the protocols of diplomatic dining, the ship’s complement sits down to eat.  Dorja thanks them for the ride home which coincides with some mission of Leia’s which she can’t get much information about.  She’s surprised that Leia would not want to consider returning to the Chief of State position.  In the Empire, one’s duty takes precedence over one’s personal wishes.
 
It does illustrate, however, the difference between the New Republic and the Empire.   She wonders, for example, how the Remnant would have handled the Vong.  Han points out that the Empire would have built some superweapon, given it a grandiose name and watched it fail due to some stupid small thing no one thought about.
 
Dorja admits there’s a point there.  
 
The debate ends when proximity alarms blare.
 
The ship has been yanked out of hyperspace by dovin basals which, up to now, hadn’t extended this far out.  He has Leia take one of the quad lasers and see if Dorja can take the other.  
 
He hopes the Vong will think his ship is like any other freighter of its type.  The empty co-pilot’s chair reminds him of the people he’s lost.  It’s why he wouldn’t let Waroo assume Chewie’s life debt.  He doesn’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s death.
 
The Falcon is able to destroy several ships with concussion missles and Han’s unorthodox maneuevering, including using Anakin’s discovery of firing three shots that will allow one to bend around the dovin basals.
 
He’d nearly gotten them all when newcomers arrive.  Han is about to get angry until he is able to verify that they are Chiss clawcraft.  Jagged Fel tells him to stand down and they will handle the rest.  Han tells Threepio they will have guests for dinner.
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  • It’s a cute moment when Han describes Imperial superweapons, but I don’t think that was Dorja’s point.  The New Republic spent a lot of time after the initial Vong encounters burying its head in the sand, refusing to acknowledge the threat and generally not doing anything meaningful.  Dorja very likely meant that the Empire would have reacted sooner and more decisively.  Whether or not that would have saved the day is unknown.

 


#2
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 2:
 
Leia knows Jagged Fel, but not well.  He’s the son of an Imperial Baron who lives among the Chiss.  He’d worked with Jaina on a couple of missions.  The two have the same kind of relationship Leia’d had with Han in the beginning.  She rather hopes Jaina doesn’t resolve it the same way.  It’s hard enough having Darth Vader in the family, much less an Imperial aristocrat.
 
Jag apologizes for not recognizing the Falcon’s profile at first.  He agrees to stay for a bite or two, but will not eat a meal while his pilots are hungry, too. 
 
The squadrons that fought on Borleias have been broken up to give some experienced pilots to each one.  Jaina’s been promoted to Major; Kyp is reforming his Dozen.  Jag hasn’t seen Jaina.
 
Leia explains that they are on a mission to Bastion.  Jag surmises they are trying to get the Empire to help.  In the short term, it’s probably in the best interests of the Empire to ally with the Vong.  This gets Dorja attention, but she doesn’t quite get the argument she wants in favor of this.  While Jag admits that the Empire could just pick off planets while the New Republic continues the fight, the Vong cannot be trusted not to come after the Empire.  The New Republic will not want to rescue the Empire after it sides with their enemies.
 
And even if the Vong keep promises of non-aggression, the Empire and the Vong just can’t co-exist in the same galaxy.  They both want different things.  The Empire wants power and a return to the respect it had before;  the Vong want religious and political domination of the galaxy.  Furthermore, the Vong despise the technology that the Empire depends on.  The Empire can’t adapt to the organic technology without becoming depended on the Vong.  Eventually, it would have to peacefully come under Vong domination anyway.
 
Leia tells him that the Senate is on Mon Calamari trying to elect a Chief of State.  Pwoe may think he’s it, but his tactics on Borleias backfired.  The defenders held out longer than expected and Wolam Tesar’s holodocumentary about the battle is a sell-out across the New Republic.  Citizens are rethinking their opinion of their military forces.  When the Senate arrived on Mon Calamari, they remembered that they are in charge, not Councilor Pwoe so they invited Pwoe to join them there.  He insisted they come to him on Kuat so they declared the position of Chief of State vacant and began the process of picking someone else.  
 
Jag is working to clear the Hydian Way of Vong mines.  He offers them an escort on their way to Bastion, but they turn him down.   After being wished, “Happy Hunting”, he disembarks.
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#3
Jedi Cool

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chapter 3:
 
Fyor Rodan only has a few minutes to speak with Luke.    The Mon Calamari have given the exiled Senate a place to meet besides a hotel room.  Their numbers are slimmer now.  Some had made sure they weren’t on Coruscant during the attack; some had already been told to leave so that there would be some political leaders left; others had confiscated military resources; many others had been killed, captured or are missing.  And Viqi Shesh who had betrayed them.
 
Rodan had stayed on Coruscant until the military evacuated him at the last moment and, though he’d been with Pwoe on Borleias, he’d come to Mon Calamari when summoned.  His actions have led to speculation that he would be a good candidate for Chief of State.
 
But he’s a political opponent of the Jedi.  Luke is hoping to understand his opinion better.
 
He wants to know why Rodan told the news media that morning that the Jedi are an impediment to ending the war.  Rodan admits that it’s very clear that they are.  After all, the Vong consider them such a threat that they want all of them handed over.  Not that Rodan agrees with that.   The Vong won’t stop until they enslave every being in the galaxy and Rodan will not consider negotiating with them until they give up Coruscant and every other world they’ve seized.
 
But Luke shouldn’t be coming to him with this concern.  That’s an issue for the future Chief of State.  He dismisses Luke’s belief that it could be him.  Luke can’t understand why this rudeness.  When Rodan suggests he get press credentials with all these questions of his, Luke considers what the source of this animosity could be.
 
He gets his answer when he asks what Rodan thinks the role of the Jedi should be in this war.  Rodan wants them to do nothing.  The New Republic Defense Force is the guardian of the galaxy in his opinion. That the Jedi served in that role for the Old Republic only undercuts the problem when one considers that Darth Vader emerged from that mess.
 
And, in any event, Luke’s small number of Jedi can’t begin to match the ones that served the Old Republic.  If Luke even controls them at all.  Luke can’t help but remember that Rodan himself opposed the formation of a Jedi Council, so if the Jedi are disorganized and lack direction, that’s partly his fault.
 
Rodan is blunt when he explains that there is no Office of Protectors of the New Republic.  The New Republic has soldiers, diplomats and police officers.  The Jedi, however, seem to think they can take over those roles from the professionals whenever they want.  Sometimes the Jedi assigned to these missions are practically children.  A great many times, these missions turn violent.  Then they leave the professionals behind to clean up the mess.
 
A Jedi should join the military or the diplomatic corps if he so desires, but he should do it on the basis of any other member of that organization and be willing to do his duty like anyone else.  As Rodan sees it, the Jedi want special treatment.
 
After all, they have Luke as an example.  He started off as a starfighter pilot.  But he took off after Hoth in a starfighter that wasn’t his to do some spiritual exercises elsewhere.  When he came back, he picked up his position as if there had been no interruption before taking off again.  
 
Regular soldiers don’t get to run off for personal reasons in the middle of a war to do what they want.  Neither should Jedi.  So far as Rodan is concerned, they are just another special interest group.
 
Luke complains to Mara about how Rodan dismissed him so harshly.  Worse, he’s beginning to consider that the man might be right.
 
Meanwhile, Mara and Senator Triebakk have likely been able to convince Cal Omas to run.  He’d fought with the Rebel Alliance and is a Jedi supporter.  There are a few others, but it would seem clear that Omas should be their choice.  It might not be good for Omas to be known as the Jedi Choice, though.
 
After all, the New Republic will have to blame someone for the fall of Coruscant.  They won’t blame Fey’lya, despite his mistakes, after he martyred himself and died a hero.  If the Jedi interfere in the selection of Chief of State, they will only justify Rodan’s accusations that the Jedi wield too much influence in the government.
 
As they discuss the need to keep their Insiders group secret even from Omas, Luke suddenly gets the sense of Jacen.  He tells Mara that everything changes now.  But has no idea where the words came from.
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  • Luke considers Rodan rude when the man tells him that he thinks rumors of him being Chief of State material are premature.  I’m not sure I would call that rude.  

  • They discuss how the Old Republic hadn’t had a military.  Well, yes, it did during the Clone Wars.  It was a Clone Army, don’t they remember that?  The Jedi commanded them, yes, but it was still a military.  And don’t forget about those mysterious Judicials!

 


#4
Jedi Cool

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chapter 4:
 
Jaina is waiting at Obroa-skai where the Vong are busy translating the library into their language, no doubt hoping to find something to solidify their victory.  Shimrra is supposed to be here, so she waits.
 
This war has taught her many things: loss, helplessness, fear and her own darkness.
 
Lowbacca wonders if New Republic Intelligence has steered them wrong.  Then an alien frigate arrives.
 
The Vong force arrives, detecting in Trickster a damaged vessel that doesn’t overly concern them. Then General Farlander’s task force appears.  While preparing for the battle, Jaina is distracted by a welcoming sense from afar.  She quickly sends back her greetings and moves on.
 
Wraith Squadron sends out jamming signals that interferes with the gravity waves of the yammosk.  Then all New Republic ships focus on Shimrra’s frigate.  But the jamming maneuver doesn’t last long.  When she realizes that the Vong have countered it, she wants everyone to leave.
 
Instead General Farlander tries another maneuver that doesn’t quite work as it’s supposed to.  Dovin basals sent by the New Republic forces to attach onto Vong ships, making the others think they are enemies.
 
Still the Vong frigates move as the yammosk directs.
 
But the basals are programmed to fight off New Republic attacks, so she triggers the dovin basal decoys she’d sent out.  They begin to fire at the Vong ships, instead of the New Republic ones, but only in this attack group.  There are still other ships unaffected by this trick.  They are sending their own decoys in, but the missles aren’t reaching their targets.
 
Only Jaina’s group is able to fly undisturbed which gives her time to think. She uses the Force to find the problem.  There are two yammosks in play here.  There’s the one Shimrra probably brought with him and the one New Republic Intelligence had known about that had been seeded at Obroa-skai.  She opens a comm to Face Loran and tells him about the other one.  Once it’s been jammed, as well, the battle begins to turn to the New Republic ships. 
 
Jaina finds Trickster has been brought astern of the flagship and fires all her weapons.  The flagship is slow to respond as she’s in its shadow, but it does bring assistance from other warships in the vicinity.  Suddenly, the New Republic is helped by the arrival of several Hapan battleships.  
 
The Hapans make short work of the flagship.  Jaina is surprised that the other Vong warships take off without defending their leader to the end.  Feeling good about killing Shimrra and, perhaps, making the decisive move that could possibly end this war, Jaina is brought down when Farlander informs her that they’ve been ordered to break off the attack.  Shimrra wasn’t aboard the flagship after all.
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#5
Jedi Cool

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chapter 5:
 
While Farlander and Kartha are in conference, Madurrin encourages Jaina regarding their victory.  
 
When they’re finished, Tenel Ka wants to know whether they’ve killed Shimrra or not.  Farlander explains that New Republic Intelligence knew Shimrra was headed to Coruscant so, when they found out a Vong big shot was headed to Obroa-skai, they assumed, incorrectly, that it was him.  They ended up eliminating a Supreme Commander named Komm Karsh.  
 
Tenel Ka doesn’t consider that small fry, so she can justify to her people the victory with minimal cost to the Hapans.  She does, however, find it amusing when Farlander has to explain why they’ve been deferring to junior officer, Jaina, in order to keep up the illusion that she is the embodiment of Yun-Harla, the Trickster goddess.  
 
For now, the fleet is moving its base to Kashyyyk so they can defend the mid-rim and still be able to support the Hapans.  They have no long-term plans as they’ve gotten no instructions from Borleias.  For now, Traest Kre’fey is in charge, but, as he’s off to Bothawui for official mourning of his relative Borsk, Farlander’s been treading water until he can get orders.
 
Jaina had thought she’d made a decisive victory today; one that would focus everyone on the common cause.  Now, it seems, as if nothing has really changed.
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#6
Jedi Cool

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chapter 6:
 
Having escaped Coruscant, Jacen has used the opportunity to reach out through the Force to his relatives. He admits to Vergere that he touched his mother, possibly Luke and his sister, who seemed to be in battle.  He pulled back because he didn’t want to be a distraction for her, but second guesses himself as to whether he should not have helped her instead.
 
Vergere thinks it’s pointless to worry about what he should have done.  He makes a decision, uncoerced, and that should be it.  He has to learn to live with the consequences.
 
Jacen admits that it’s hard to do when the consequences affect his sister.  Vergere reminds him that decisions that can affect lives happen every second of every day.  He can’t expect to fret over all of those decisions, some of which he may not even know the consequences of for decades.
 
Jacen points out that, at his age, it’s hard for him to think in terms of decades. 
 
Vergere explains that she has to live with the consequences of a decision she made 50 years ago and she still doesn’t know if she made the right one.  This war and all it involves came out of that fateful choice she made on Zonama Sekot.
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#7
Jedi Cool

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chapter 7:
 
Vergere explains to Jacen how she had been sent by the Jedi Council to find out more information about a mysterious enemy approaching and to find the mysterious world of Zonama Sekot.  She found the planet first.  Having been entrusted by the Council with ingots to buy one of the planet’s unique organic ships, she began the process of bonding with the seeds.  
 
The native Ferroans were astounded when three seed-partners bonded with her.  That hadn’t happened before.  The seed-partners rejoiced in her connection with the Force;  Vergere spent two wonderful days with them, planning her ship and how she was going to fly it in search of the Far Outsiders.
 
Then they found her instead.  They appeared and began seeding the planet with their hostile biological organisms that began to reshape the planet.  The Ferroans began to panic; her ship was put on hold.  Vergere had to reveal herself as a Jedi.
 
The Ferroans believe in the Potentium:  that the Force is light only and that darkness and evil is only an illusion.  They were wary that Vergere had come to persecute them for heresy and that delay caused the invading organisms to spread further.  When they finally trusted her enough to take her to the Magister, his palace was overcome by the alien biology.  But he directed the defense and, somehow, succeeded.  The new organisms began to die.
 
But the Yuuzhan Vong then attacked with their more conventional weapons and the Magister was killed.  It was then that Vergere discovered that she could commune with Zonama Sekot itself;  the planet was alive.
 
Vergere offered to negotiate on the planet’s behalf and it consented.  She went, the seed-partners still clinging to her, with a brave pilot to parley with the newcomers.  Their commander, Zho Krazhmir, assembled an intimidating greeting party.  But what shocked Vergere most was that she could not sense them through the Force.
 
Everything she’d been taught about the Force was denied by the existence of these beings; she was so angry she wanted to obliterate them all.  Then she noticed the priestess Falung had an avian pet.  Vergere could touch that creature with the Force.  She called it to her and they danced together.  Two extremes, the planet of Zonama Sekot – a complete embodiment of the Force – and the Yuuzhan Vong with their complete lack of connection.  Could she bring them into balance?
 
The Vong were amused at first, then in awe.  She knew that they could experience other emotions besides anger.  She explained that this was done by the power of the planet which is ruled by a powerful intelligence.  The Supreme Commander became excited.
 
The Vong revere life, though they seem to dispense with it so casually.  Their worldships are deteriorating and they’d been sent to find a habitable world.  To find a living one was beyond their wildest dreams.  But they cannot conquer the world or sustain losses that would prevent them from returning to their worldships.
 
So they decided to return without further incident to inform the Supreme Overlord of their discovery.  Communing with the planet as it took the form of the late Magister, Vergere explains that it is safe for now but will have to prepare for a future attack.  
 
Though she could have resumed her studies of Zonama Sekot, she felt it was better to learn about the Yuuzhan Vong.  She asked Falung if she could stay with her “cousin”, the other avian creature, and was granted permission without even a discussion with Zho Krazhmir.  
 
She recorded a message for the Jedi she knew would follow, but has no idea if her message was received.  She destroyed her lightsaber and gave her other technological devices to the pilot.  En route back to the worldships, she occasionally performed the dance with the avian creature, but, eventually, they stopped because she did not want the Vong to know that this had been done with a power she possessed as opposed to the living planet Sekot.
 
The Supreme Commander was fitted with new leg implant for his discovery, but he didn’t take to it and died a few years later.  In the meantime, Falung instructed Vergere in the Yuuzhan Vong religion.  As Falung was a priestess of the Trickster goddess, Yun-Harla- Vergere decided to take on the features of this deceiver, who has no form, but appears in borrowed skin and garments. 
 
She hid her true nature, masking her telepathic abilities from the yammosks, meditating on Yun-Harla every day for 50 years.  She learned that the Yuuzhan Vong cannot separate their reverence for life from pain and death.  She was interrogated, but did not know what to tell them. Fearing they had resources that would reveal the truth, she pretended to be a simple teacher, ignorant of the military and technological preparedness of the Republic.  
 
Eventually, Falung died and Vergere became the familiar to her successor, Elan.  All of this has happened due to Vergere’s decision 50 years ago.  Who knows if she was right or wrong and, if she was wrong, should she have spent all that time petrified with fear to make another decision?  Can Jacen even tell her that she’s wrong?
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  • We know, of course, that Vergere’s message was received by Obi-Wan and Anakin in Rogue Planet, but they were unable to act on it.

 


#8
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 8:
 
Jacen asks what happened to Zonama Sekot.  She only knows that it left. It had hyperdrive engines and was perfectly capable of hiding itself.  Jacen thinks that this sounds more like a legend than anything real.
 
Vergere wonders why he hasn’t answered her question.  He knows she told it to him in part to distract him from his concern for his sister, but he’s still thinking about it.  If a message was sent to the Jedi Council, he’s never heard of it.  Of course, there isn’t a Jedi Council anymore and hasn’t been for decades.
 
Vergere wonders about that.  She’d expected to find thousands of Jedi welcoming her back.  Instead, there are a few dozen half-trained ones.  What happened to them all and how is it connected to the Sith grandfather, Vader, whom Vergere knew as Anakin Skywalker?
 
She is silent while he tells the story.  When he’s finished, however, she doesn’t let him think about his sister.  They are about to come out of hyperspace near a New Republic world in a Vong ship.  They are going to have to trust the Force.
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  • It’s nice to know that Jacen can tell a distraction when he hears one.

 


#9
Jedi Cool

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chapter 9:
 
On what was once Coruscant, Nom Anor watches a ceremony celebrating the joining of the Supreme Overlord’s ship and palace onto this world which is being recreated into the legendary homeworld of the Yuuzhan Vong.
 
Anor can’t help but notice an itch at the bottom of his toes.  Since this is a minor discomfort, he should be able to dismiss it, but, as if on cue, the itch gets worse.
 
Shimrra arrives with his pet, a Shamed One named Onimi.
 
In Cal Omas’ cramped quarters on Mon Calamari, Luke and Mara discuss Fyor Rodan’s speech in which he repeated the same accusations against the Jedi he had when speaking with Luke.  This will force other potential Chief of State candidates to respond.
 
Omas had pointed out the help of the Jedi during the war against Palpatine, but now people want to know what his “Jedi Program” is and he doesn’t know.
 
Luke suggests a generic promise to bring the Jedi under the control of the government and leave out the details.  The problem is that Omas needs to give details, lest he be seen as having no plan at all…which is true.
 
He asks Luke about the original Jedi Council.  Luke explains there were a dozen or so masters who oversaw an order of thousands.  When the Supreme Chancellor saw a problem that required their abilities, a Jedi Team was dispatched by the Council to resolve it.  It’s also possible the Jedi advised the Chancellor of problem areas when they saw them as well.
 
Omas points out that, with the military and diplomatic corps, the Jedi seem rather redundant now.  Luke and Mara suggest that the Jedi serve as a special investigative service to the Chancellor.  To be sent when he needs more than a diplomat but less than a Battle Cruiser.
 
Omas thnks they’re moving in the right direction, but are not quite there yet.  Fyor Rodan will accuse the Jedi of manipulating the Supreme Chancellor or of being a clandestine force used to circumvent the Constitution or both.  That’s the problem with having a representative government with multiple layers that is overseen by a critical media.  Senator Triebakk howls that he almost sympathizes with Palpatine.
 
Luke considers how the Jedi did enforce the law, but they were segregated from the people and, once Palpatine became Supreme Chancellor, he was able to isolate them enough to destroy them.  The Jedi cannot be that isolated again.
 
At the same time, he knows they cannot ask the people of the Republic to give them the benefit of the doubt when all they have to do is remember Darth Vader.
 
He suggests a bilateral Council also made up of non-Jedi members, say a representative from each branch of the government that might feel threatened by the Jedi.  With a balanced number of members, it will be difficult to accuse all of them of being puppets.
 
As they discussed the nomination process, Luke suddenly gets a touch through the Force from Jacen.  He tells Omas that Jacen is in a Vong ship heading into Mon Cal space.  They need to prevent him from being destroyed.
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  • The Jedi had been isolated from the general population for years.  It is true that Palpatine used that isolation to allow rumors of the Jedi to fester in the public, but I don’t think isolation was what caused their destruction.  

 


#10
Jedi Cool

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chapter 10:
 
As the Yuuzhan Vong make their way to Shimrra’s throne, Anor itches more than ever.  It seems to have spread across his body.  Harrar is there, but ignores him.  
 
Onimi dances around with a ditty about being shed with the skin of the enemy.  They all realize he’s wearing the rags of New Republic uniforms.  Shimrra silences the Shamed One and asks about the state of the war.
 
Tsavong Lah reiterates their victories on this world and on Borleias, as well as Nas Choka’s work in Hutt Space.  Shimrra points out that they’ve been at the cost of lives that cannot be easily replaced.  They have far more worlds to occupy than they did before.  Komm Karsh commanded their strategic reserve.
 
He orders captives to be fitted with surge corals that will allow them to receive commands from a yammosk, then commands the age of breeding be lowered and incentives given for the production of offspring.  This will help in the short term.  For now, there are to be no large offensives.
 
In the meantime, they are baffled by the technology that jamms communications with the yammosk.  Shimrra also asks about the machines used to cause their ships to fire on one another.  He is irritated that none of these machines has been captured and that his fleet has been fooled by a Yuuzhan Vong ship that broadcasts as friendly until it turns on them.  He orders recognition signals to be developed in order to root out this rogue ship.
 
Yoog Skell is called upon to give a report on the state of the infidels.  Skell explains that the New Republic government has fled to Mon Calamari, struggling to reorganize after the loss of their capital world and have launched no major offensives.  They appear to be in the process of selecting a new Chief of State.  Several names have been mentioned, but no one has yet been chosen.  
 
Several member worlds have offered to surrender or, at least, to remain neutral, but it is unclear if their representatives are officially credentialed to make terms or not. 
 
The Peace Brigade has settled on Ylesia, but they do not have uniform weapons or ships.  They are in the process of being trained.
 
Nom Anor cannot help but notice that Skell is scratching.  It appears the itch has spread.  When Shimrra asks which New Republic candidates are inclined to war or submission, Skell defers to Anor.
 
Although Fyor Rodan and Cal Omas both acted independently on occasion, Rodan is known for his opposition to the Jedi and Omas is known to support them.  The infidels value independent thinking in a way that the Yuuzhan Vong do not.  They will have to be taught better.
 
Shimrra wonders what they can teach the Jedi.  Nom Anor attempts to give him a generic proclamation of support for their extermination, but Shimrra is more thoughtful.  The Jedi managed to poison the Well of the World Brain through a so-called tamed Jedi that was supposed to sacrifice a colleague.  Instead, the tamed Jedi escaped while the other one held off an army with a weapon he wasn’t supposed to have.
 
Nom Anor makes sure Shimrra knows that Tsavong Lah was more responsible than he, but that they were all fooled by the deceptions of Vergere.  They could not have known she would betray them:  she wasn’t fully trusted and was monitored whenever she was with captive Jedi.  She led Jacen Solo into captivity and he was monitored during the Embrace of Pain, so they know his experience was genuine.  
 
He can almost feel Shimrra’s eyes on his innermost being as the Supreme Overlord questions how one being could be responsible for so much damage and wonders at the whole idea of waiting to sacrifice Jacen Solo until his twin was also in their hands.  
 
The pressure on Anor breaks into a desperate plea that it was Vergere.  Amazingly, Harrar concurs that he, Khalee La and Vergere agreed on the twin sacrifice.  There was no reason to suspect Vergere at that time.  If she was disloyal, she could have released Jacen Solo at any time or could have chosen not to participate in his torture.  Harrar has concluded that, while Vergere isn’t necessarily on their side, she’s not on the infidels’ side either.
 
It’s remarkable that she lived among them for 50 years and was never exposed.  If she were a Jedi surely the yammosk would have unmasked her. 
 
Shimrra lets his pet Onimi sing a little ditty about remaining loyal and sharing Shimrra’s throne.  Shimrra chuckles about how Onimi can only share the throne from afar.  It’s still closer than anyone else has.  Nervous laughter echoes through the chamber.  Shimrra tells his people to learn from his example and not let a pet become too trusted. 
 
Attention soon turns to Jakan, the father of Elan, the former priestess who was killed in her attempt to poison the Jedi.  He explains the new heresy developing on far off worlds among the workers and Shamed Ones who meet to revere the Jedi and reject the True Way.
 
They were probably contaminated by slaves from the New Republic.  They seem to have no leadership.  It would best to separate the slaves from their own people to limit the contamination, execute heretics and offer rewards for those who recant the heresy.
 
Yoog Skell explains that they need all the workers they can get during what is turning ou to be a long war.  He urges less drastic measures.  Separating the slaves from the others would disrupt the important work they do and there’s always the risk that they will start pointing fingers at overseers or even priests and shapers.   Shamed Ones are hated by the gods anyway.  No one cares what they think.
 
Nom Anor itches all over.  Even Onimi is scratching.  Which reminds Shimrra to asks the shapers how the shaping of this world is proceeding.   Ch’Gang Hool admits they are dealing with an alien world and there have been some problems that have popped up, such as a minor itch due to a mysterious fungus.  He assures Shimrra that any Yuuzhan Vong of the upper caste with proper discipline can overcome it.
 
Shimrra then demands to know why a high-caste shaper like Ch’Gang Hool has been scratching the entire meeting.  They cannot fool him;  the shaping of this world has been botched.  Their entire population has been infected by this fungus, including himself.  There have been other incidents of Yuuzhan Vong organics failing to conquer the biology of this world.  He orders Ch’Gang Hool taken out and executed.
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#11
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 11:
 
Head of New Republic Intelligence Dif Scaur receives a transmission letting him know the experiment was a success, but that they need a larger facility and the silence of certain individuals in the know. Scaur assures they will have both.  Now he will be the Slayer.
 
On Mon Calamari, Luke knows that the return of Jacens signals a turning point; a message that may be coming from the Force.  He is sure that Jacen has a special destiny: the young man who’s always questioned his purpose as a Jedi may question this, too, and, of course, they know that special destinies can be burdens.
 
They are distracted by a drunken Phindian captain that corners two Senators newly arrived on Mon Calamari.  She’s furious that, not only did they commandeer a ship to get them off Coruscant, but they diverted Green Squadron to escort them which left the Phindian’s ship to be battered by the Yuuzhan Vong.  It’s now destined for scrap, half the Phindian’s crew is dead and so are much of the passengers they were ferrying.
 
One of the senators cautions the captain to be careful not to risk her commission.  The Phindian finds this hilarious as the commission is all she has left to be taken away.  None of them care about the oath they took.
 
Luke and Mara consider intervening, but the altercation hasn’t turned violent and they can’t help but notice that a group of officers nearby aren’t getting involved either.
 
The Phindian points out that the best thing the two senators can do is vote for a fleet appropriations bill coming up in the new session which will continue to give captains like her the ability to ferry around cowards like them.  After all, the fleet has the guns and it’s clear that the senators can’t handle anyone armed.
 
As they take off, she shouts after them that they should never try again to commandeer a fleet ship or they’ll be tossed in an escape pod and blasted into Vong space.  The officers cheer.
 
Luke can’t help but notice that one of the cheering officers is a fleet commander.
 
The New Republic fleet is hurting, low on morale, disgusted with a government that moved too slowly and self-interestedly in this war and desperately in need of a victory and a government it can respect.
 
They are approached by an officer who passes along Admiral Sovv’s invitation to lunch.
 
Admiral Sien Sovv is being blamed for the unraveling New Republic military, but has no Chief of State to submit his resignation to.  
 
When Jacen arrives, they notice his youthful fat is gone.  He is lean, his face is bearded, his eyes alert.  Clearly, his childhood is over.  Vergere is here, too.  They have her to thank for helping Jacen, as well as for healing Mara.
 
They have so many questions about her, but Vergere is holding her cards close to her.  One doesn’t live among aliens for decades without learning to keep some things secret.  But they are told she is an Old Republic Jedi who still has no allegiance to this government.
 
In Admiral Sovv’s suite are Admiral Ackbar and Winter.  Ackbar is old and struggles when he’s out of the water too long.  Winter confirms to Luke that Tycho is helping Wedge establish resistance cells and make preparations to defend Kuat.
 
Mara thanks Ackbar for the toy he sent baby Ben.  For now, the baby has been sent somewhere safe.  Winter knows it’s hard to be separated from one’s child, but the Solo children had the same experience and turned out fine.
 
After Sovv assures Jacen that his sister is fine and gives some details about the Obroa-skai adventure, he mentions that Fleet Intelligence would like to debrief both Jacen and Vergere.  
 
After they leave, Luke mentions that the fleet isn’t being too careful these days.  Sovv admits that the Vong have mastered infiltration to the New Republic’s detriment.  They cannot let Vergere go where she wishes until they know she is who she claims to be.
 
Luke isn’t sure she has any way to prove that.
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  • Luke mentions that Jacen has always questioned his role.  I’m not sure he has.  This new Jacen didn’t turn up until the beginning of this series, approximately four years ago.

  • I’m also not sure it’s been enough time to determine the effects long-term separation from their parents had on the Solo children.

 




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