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

Jedi Cool

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chapter 26:

The commander on the station orders an evacuation into the bunkers when the shields go down. They are setting mines, too. That’s when the artificial gravity goes and the lights.

Lah determines how many troops to send down. Once landing on the moon, they will use rock-eating grutchyna to dig their own tunnels. He is told that the first Battle Group has jumped to hyperspace but has encountered mines

The two Lovers Battle Groups had leapt together, but both were yanked from hyperspace by the interdictor mine laid down by Ralroost and are held in the middle of an enormous minefield. These mines begin targeting the enemy.

The Yun-Q’aah Battle Group, having had fewer losses fighting against the Smugglers’ Alliance and Bel Iblis’s group, arrived intact and is able to fight its way out. The Yun-Yuuzhan Battle group were warned of the minefield’s existence before they jumped and prepared. The troop transports don’t do so well and 10, 000 troopers meet their deaths. The Yun-Yammka Battle Group cannot jump due to being pinned down by the New Republic and is wiped out.

More than a third of the fleet is destroyed, not counting Tsavong Lah’s group at Ebaq 9. The warriors charged into the command centers to be met by mines that cut through their armor. Lah reminds them they are already dead. It’s only a question as to whether they will die honorably or cowardly. More than a thousand die due to the mines. Lah orders his ship brought to the surface where he decrees the grutchyna and the voxyn will be released.

He challenges the Jedi to the hunt and Jacen Solo responds.

Luke warns him not to go. Jaina and the others are in a bunker where they can wait until the fleet comes to get her. They are all coming now. Jacen doesn’t trust Tsavong Lah to do what they expect him to do. He has a plan and he’s not going to just run into Lah’s arms.

He can tell his sister is being hunted.

Jaina can sense through the meld that Jacen is doing something odd, that something is happening not in the Force and knows the Yuuzhan Vong are coming. She can also feel the surge of voxyn. She decides she hates the battle plan that didn’t take voxyn into account.

Tesar suggests they deplay the mines. The Twin Suns Squadron heads down the tunnel and sets up antipersonnel mines as several crashes are heard. They are not coming through the door, but around it.

The warriors fill the tunnels. Lah sends the grutchyna forward. They are six-meter long beasts that are related to the metal-eating grutchins that are used as space weapons. The beasts dig through the tunnel walls.

Lah is told that Jacen Solo has landed somewhere on the far side. He sends an advance guard and two voxyn to find him. Capture if possible, kill if not. He can’t imagine why the Jedi would fly alone here until he realizes that Jaina must be here. This is the twin sacrifice he’s been waiting for.

Jaina and her pilots hear the screech of the voxyn followed by an explosion.

Jacen runs down the corridor, avoiding the command areas, while headed to the tunnels. He is hoping to lead the voxyn on a chase and trap them into the narrow passages where they can be killed. He fires at them around corners and tosses grenades. He uses his lightsaber, blaster and whatever else he can use to fight them off.

Jaina tells the pilots to bring the ceiling down. She, Tesar and Lowbacca use the Force to pull it down, but a voxyn leaps in. The three Jedi fight side by side until the thing is cut to pieces. They bring the rest of the roof down and she orders them to pull back.

She wants to split the Jedi off from the regular pilots so the voxyn will not follow them, but the other Twin Suns insist they didn’t come this far with her to leave her now. Jaina is moved that she has inspired such fighting spirit, but orders them to move on.

The Jedi enter a blank tunnel where an air shaft goes up. They climb through it and wait.

Luke is trying to figure out how to retake the moon with no ground troops. That had not been expected. He hears Jaina calling for him. He knows she’s in the tunnel being hunted by troops and voxyn. He decides to try to get a starfighter down the air shaft.

The first voxyn up the shaft comes down in pieces and is followed by a grenade. A dozen warriors who try to follow are killed by blaster fire.

Lah is incensed when a communication comes to him from Vergere who offers to join the hunt. He laught and calls her a traitor. However, she’s not a Jedi. She tells him she is a real Jedi, not the imitators he’s been fighting. He agrees to let her land.

The grutchyna begin digging through the floor of the shaft.

Jacen gets angry when he is stymied in the tunnels and launches Force lightning at his pursuers. He doesn’t kill them but they will be out for awhile. Vergere appears and tells him he’s about to lose his air.

Tsavong Lah is told Vergere is coming but isn’t slowing down.

She had stolen an A-Wing and flies it through the central shaft of Ebaq 9 and blows out the other side. An ion storm rages through the open corridors. The heat and pressure sets the moon on fire which eats up the oxygen. Of course, the Vong have ooglith masquers, but those only work if there’s fair warning to put them on.

Those who survive the heat and radiation of the impact, lose their air very quickly. Their creatures have no masquers and die within seconds.

Jaina slaps her faceplate closed and warns the others. They wait in their hatch.

Jacen watches them die. Thanks to Vergere’s warning, he was able to form a Force bubble around him. He wishes he could help the dying warriors around him. Vergere tells him there’s nothing more useless than an impossible wish.

He admits that his choices weren’t very good. Vergere tells him that she needed to liberate him from those choices. He cohse with his heart and achieved his objective. She did, too, so he is free to pursue his destiny.

Jacen looks at her and realizes that she’s dead.

Luke searches the meld and finds Jaina, Tesar and Jacen. Jacen tells him Vergee saved them. Her presence in the Force tells Luke that it was necessary.

Luke asks Bel Iblis to call upon the remaining enemy forces to surrender. They probably won’t but it will make him feel better to know that it was offered. Though the offer is made repeatedly, the Yuuzhan Vong do not answer and die.

Jacen tells Vergere he got her killed. She reminds him that it was her decision, not his. Jacen argues that he created the situation that caused her making that decision. She tells him he may rejoice in the fact that his sister is alive. Both of them could not live and nature always chooses the young. Her time ended decades ago and she can now join her master and old comrades.

Mara is told all the Jedi on the moon are alive. Ackbar wishes he’d forseen the attempted occupation of the moon and planned for ground troops.

Winter decides it’s time he went home. They help him out of the command center. Nylykerka tells Mara the Vong networks utilized for this mission should be taken in now. Mara decides that they should shut down two of them and leave the third alone, so it will have more credence.

Droids are sent to bring food, water and other essentials for the survivors to wait out the cool down of the moon. The medical droids examine all the survivors before leaving. Jaina is surprised to ssee the head lobbed off of one.

Tsavong had passed out a few seconds later, but is saved by one of his warriors who put a gnullith on him that fed him air. He woke up with the tube down his throat under a pile of dead warriors insulating him from the cold.

He’d considered dying then, but remembered that Jaina was near. His weapons are dead, but frozen in useful positions. He had waited near the shaft to strike.

Jaina draws her lightsaber, but gets stuck on the floor. Lowie gets pinned through the shoulder with at baton and then held with blorash jelly. Jaina realizes that’s what’s keeping her here, too. She has to swing from behind to guard against attack. Tesar fires at Lah who dodges out of the way to get another weapon.

She finally plunges her lightsaber into his throat and they call for a medical droid to help with Lowie’s wounds.


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chapter 27:

Five days later, Luke meets with Cal Omas who had been hiding on the SSD Guardian. The Chief admits he wanted to do something during the battle like give an order.

Luke admits that too many voices giving orders has been their problem. Omas knows that, once the senate realizes they are going to win the war, they are going to want to start dividing up the spoils. Luke asks how they can handle that. Omas suggests they persuade planets to elect more responsible senators.

Barring that, it might be a good idea to confine the Senate to its proper sphere. It should legislate, not try to run the administration. An independent judiciary would curb ambitious maneuvers. They need to define boundaries between the Senate and the planetary governments. Luke notes this means a new constitution.

He’s trying to come up with a new name but will have to win the war first. Luke asks if he plans to win it with Alpha Red. Omas tells him not now. It will be a last resort.

Luke passes the good new onto Jacen who is still concerned that the virus will exist. He is reminded about how Vergere thought he had much to learn. Luke notes that she thought knowledge was the answer to everything. He would choose compassion over knowledge. Jacen agrees that he would, too. Apparently, so did Vergere who gave up her life for him.

Jacen says that Vergere told him the old ways were going. Luke admits that the new generation of Jedi will take over for him someday. Jacen wonders about this war.

After all, the war against the Empire was about light and dark. This war really isn’t. It’s like the Force has to be bigger than light and dark. Luke suggest that maybe their ideas about the Force must be bigger.

Jaina is evacuated eight days after the battle into a more structured environment than living in tents in the tunnels. She eventually had to untense and meditate. When she is finally carried out, she finds herself in the cargo bay of the Millennium Falcon.

She finds her friends, family and squadron there. These people are dear to her and she embraces them all, feeling the bond with her brother return.

Han tells her she’s being promoted to Lt. Colonel. Leia asks if she will take a vacation now. Jaina laughs, but can’t help tearing up as she says that being the Sword of the Jedi really stinks.

Shimrra is told that the guests are here. Onimi ushers in the four castes and their leaders. The overlord tells them that they must thank the gods for this chance to test their purity and resolve. There are to be double sacrifices and all heretics are to be sought and punished.

New offenses are to be planned at once and that traitor Nom Anor has to be found. After they leave, Onimi calls them fools. After all, they have to fight on and hope for the best. Since Shimrrra has betrayed the gods, perhaps they are betraying him, too.

On the other hand, Nen Yim may still need time to fill the eighth cortex. Onimi finds it hilarious that they’ve gambled and lost, now must double the stakes and gamble again. He laughs hysterically.

Shimrra does, too.


End of Book 14

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