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"The Unifying Force": Book 19 in The New Jedi Order

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Part I: Across the Stars

chapter 1:

The planet Selvaris is a lonely planet that has risen to significant in large part due to its backwater location. There is a prisoner of war compound hollowed from the jungle which is now full of Yuuzhan Vong bioengineered product that will soon become dominant here.

The dead are being carried off to be recycled, over the objections of the prisoners. Captain Page has the prisoners moving the dead bodies to hurry off. The subaltern, S’yito, knows that this is a warrior to contend with. If it had been up to him, all of the prisoners would have been executed. Too many compromises have been made already, shelters, food, body disposal.

No species seems to be able to tolerate Vong food so nearby settlers have been allowed to deliver food here. These settlers are suspicious, especially the one who delivers the weekly rations. The food is inspected and the bearer is allowed in, nevertheless.

The prisoners have nothing else to do, not being required to work, most having come here from Bilbringi or other worlds. They assume they are being saved for a sacrifice once Selvaris’s world-shaping is finished.

The food bearer arrives and is recognized as a Ryn. He hopes that means they’ll still eat the food. Captain Page and Major Cracken appear and the others insist they eat first, though they’d rather defer to the subordinates.

The Ryn leans down and whispers his designation. He tells them allowed to enjoy their food and expect the unexpected. Soon, a couple of prisoners find objects in their meal. A holowafer good for one-time use is there.

Cracken gathers some trusted prisoners and, under the pretext of a game of sabacc, use three Bith and a Jenet to memorize the data before S’yito bursts in with warriors to question why they are playing during their meal time and tells them to stop.

Cracken and Page know they have to get this data to Command. They’ll send it during the prayer hour.


  • The time, according to Wookiepedia is 29 years ABY which is about time. This would make Jaina and Jaina 20 years old, Luke and Leia 48, Han about 58. Of course, this chapter also says it’s been almost 5 years when it really should be the earlier end of four years.

  • Pash Cracken and Judder Page were presumed dead at the end of The Final Prophecy. Of course, Cracken was also referred to as a general in that book where he’s a major here.

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chapter 2:

At first sunrise, Cracken, Page, the three Bith and the Jenet hide at the entrance of a tunnel they’ve dug. The Jenet, Thorsh, leads the Bith out and they sneak through the jungle until coralskippers spot them and sound the alarm. They find two swoops hidden by the Ryn network months ago and take off.

On the Millennium Falcon, Han battles Threepio at dejarik, while the Noghri squat on the deck when the signal comes in. Han sends Cakhmaim to the dorsal gun turret while he gets into the pilot’s seat.

The ship lifts up off Selvari’s moon. Leia senses nothing nearby and she notes he seems to be in a good mood for someone headed off on a dangerous rescue mission.


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chapter 3:

Thorsh flies through soplings and other plants in the morning air. Netting beetles have set up a web that catches one of the Bith. A battered freighter comes down pursued by coralskippers as Thorsh flies toward the water. Something enormous rises beneath the surface.

On the Falcon, Leia notes that one of the swoops is lost to the coralskippers. They search for the other one, hoping to draw any skips away from it. As they approach the water, they spot what Threepio calls a kind of boat creature named vangaak. He suggests tareting the flat dome.

Han accelerates and has Meewalh activate the landing ramp.

Thorsh fights to maintain an altitude above the vangaak which soon grabs his comrade from behind him.

Han crouches at the top of the ramp, realizing that this isn’t going to work and tells Leia they’re going with Plan B.

Leia assumes this will work as the coralskippers close fast. Han’s arm is wrapped around an hydraulic strut and he’s gesturing wiith his other hand. He waves and heads back up the ramp. Thorsh slows down, falls in behind the ship which rotates to bring the ramp directly in front of him.

Han urges the pilot to jump, watching him leap onto the ramp and then takes off. The Jenet is taken into the forward cabin.


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chapter 4:

Malik Carr is being fanned in the prison yard when S’yito reports the prisoners are awakening. Fifty officers, including Cracken and Page, are staked to the ground. Carr marches over nd tells them he put sensislugs in the huts as soon as he learned there were prisoners outside the walls.

Carr has been here ever since his failure at Fondor three years ago had resulted him being demoted. He is hoping to keep Nas Choka from hearing about the escape. The search parties had killed two escapees and one was captured. The fourth was spirited off-world.

The captured Bith had fallen victim to a web and Carr is delighted to see the faces of the other prisoners when the Bith is dragged back to them.

Carr tells them the others are dead, but he is sure that they all conspired in this escape attempt. He wonders what was so important. Carr turns to S’yito and has him form hs warriors into two rows, the smaller in one, the taller in the other.

Then he has the smaller warriors kill the larger ones.

He turns to the Bith and asks what was so important. When he does not answer, Carr uses a tkun to suffocate him. The Bith recites a mathematical code that means nothing to Carr, but says nothing else before he dies.

Carr has the prisoners dropped into the immolation pit for the whole day, presuming that the suns of this world will weed out who is worthy to live. He has S’yito take warriors into the surrounding villages and execute everyone.


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chapter 5:

The Millennium Falcon arrives at Contruum, the home of Airen Cracken and an industrial world. Leia reports that they are returning with only one of four they were sent to pick up. They head toward the shipyards that look abandoned, but a holoprojection is hiding the military base there.

Wedge is there waiting with Kenth Hamner. They briefly greet each other before Kenth confirms they’ve not heard from Luke or Corran and Tahiri either. It’s been two months and they are considering sending a search party into the Unknown Regions.

Kenth had been placed in charge of the Jedi when he and several others left to search for Zonama Sekot. Hamner has done his best to coordinate things which has been difficult since the disabling of the HoloNet.

He has been able to obtain the coordinates of the transmission Luke and Mara relayed through Esfandia and have been transmitting back with no response. It’s possible the planet moved.

The Solos are ushered into a meeting where Bhindi Drayson of Wraith Squadron is the only Intelligence operative. Thorsh is brought in.

When General Cracken begins the briefing, he reveals that a prisoner has been retrieved from Selvaris by the Solos and has identified several others in the camp, including Captain Page and his own son, Pash.

A resistance group operating on Selvaris was able to obtain important intelligence and pass it on to Page and Cracken. It was encrypted as a mathematical formula memorized by the Jenet and decrypted two hours ago. It provides details of a Peace Brigade mission to transport svveral hundred high-ranking officers from Selvaris to Coruscant.

They know the locations and times of the pickups, but they don’t know the reason.

Alliance spies in the Peace Brigade have passed on that a religious ceremony of great importance is going to be held on Coruscant within the next week. It is their belief that the prisoners are going to be sacrificed.

Wedge takes over and tells them that he knows the Alliance has failed to prevent lives from being lost in the past, but they must stop this convoy. They have to wait until the prisoners have been transferred tot eh convoy at Selvaris as it is the last stop before the jump to Coruscant.

Blackmoon, Scimitar, Twin Suns and other starfighter squadrons will be assigned to the mission to lend support to gunship and protect the transports. The Millennium Falcon will be one of them.

Leia is surprised that Han has volunteered them for this. In fact, he’s volunteered them for constant dangerous missions lately. There have been so many close calls and she wishes she could gather her family near her to a remote corner of the galaxy. She knows that Han won’t rest until the war is over.


  • So it’s been two months since The Final Prophecy.

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chapter 6:

The glory of Yuuzhan’tar is being disrupted by falling stink beetles. The World Brain has overbred them and then made another mistake so they are dying. Shimrra address his somber crowd, knowing that they are asking where they have erred.

Their questioning has proven they are doubting the gods who are punishing them for their failure. He knows there are dissenters here who believe he has fallen out of favor with the gods. Ironic, as he hasn’t believed in the gods for years.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the signs of failure recently and some think the gods are punishing Shimrra for being proud.

He lectures them all for their lack of faith from Prefect Da’Gara who lost his life on Helksa Four to Tsavong Lah whose obsession with the Jedi lead him into a battle he couldn’t’ win.

He urges Nas Choka to learn from the mistakes of previous warmasters. Many would blame Nom Anor for Ebaq 9, but it was the fault of Tsavong Lah’s for allowing himself to be tricked by the enemy. The plague of stink bugs is just a nuisance that can be eradicated at any time.

It is the escaped slaves from the worldship, the resistance fighters and Jedi who profane their ground. Onimi jumps up and recites a limerick about how Shimrra thinks the Shamed Ones are flies while he mourns the Jedi.

He asks why the shapers haven’t been able to create worthy opponents to the Jedi from the warrior cste. Shimrra turns to the shapers and asks them to display their work. Ten males are marched in wearing the cloaks of attendants to the gods.

Shimrra explains that these slayers have been shaped by him to guard his life and root out their enemies. They were Shamed and made to look whole. They leap to great heights and land, utilizing specially-made amphistaffs as no other. A shaper explains that these short warriors have faster metabolics rates to adapt to the biotics. The taller warriors rejected the implants.

Qelah Kwaad produces a lightsaber wielded by Ganner Rhysode which is powered by a lambent crystal. It operates just a Jedi lightsaber would.

Nom Anor is ushered in by Onimi later. Shimrra asks if he believes in the gods. Anor cleverly redirects the questions. Shimrra also asks about the whisperings among the elite that he is being punished by the gods for his decisions.

Anor thinks that they don’t realize that the Overlord’s actions were a tribute to the gods. He alone realized that the shapers were reaching the end of their knowledge and that their people had nowhere to turn to but upon each other.

Shimrra explains they have no more need of gods who failed to come to their aid during their long journey. They are sustained through worship, but cannot be worshipped if they neglect their followers.

The greater war is against the gods.

Nevertheless, they are useful for keeping the castes in their places, so Shimrra will have to tread lightly. True believers are the most dangerous. He ponders the Jedi and how they would be admirable if not for their misguided beliefs. He asks if they’ve ever been defeated.

Nom Anor tells what he knows about the Jedi Purge and the rise of Emperor Palpatine, as well as his subsequent defeat that ushered in decades of incessant battles.

Shimrra confesses that he’s come to believe that the World Brain is being manipulated by Jacen Solo.

Nom Anor urges him not to put much credence in the Force. The Jedi are not the only wielders of it and they are flawed beings that can be defeated. As for Zonama Sekot, it is a dead world.


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chapter 7:

The days are not regular since Zonama Sekot jumped so Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker believe they’ve been on the planet for three weeks. The wind is starting to pull lamina building sheets off, causing Artoo some concern.

Corran pops in to tell them that Jacen and Saba are back. They walk through the rain and wind to make sure the airship can land. Sekot hadn’t been able to choose its destination before jumping. They had emerged near an unfamiliar night sky that turns into an daybreak punctuated by a sun so enormous it had caused forest fires.

Sekot moved cloud cover over the planet to give them relieve before jumping again.

Jacen reports that things in the south are worse than here. Forest are scorched, the trails impassable and the river are too swollen to navigate. Much of the wildlife has been shocked into hibernating. Most of the Ferroans made it to shelter but hundreds have died. There are search parties looking for survivors but they haven’t found any yet. The Jentari are nowhere to be found.

The Widowmaker did not make the jump and they have no news of it. Some of the Ferroans blame the Jedi for what happened. Darak has told them that past visitors were only allowed to remain for sixty days. Their time is up.

No one has seen Jabitha since the day the planet caught fire.

Suddenly, she appears as a thought-projection of the planet, assuring them that Zonama will persevere. Everyone should remain in the shelters for now. Sekot needs time to think about returning the planet to known space as he is caretaker of the Living Force here as defined by the Potentium.

Luke and Mara are unhappy with this. The Potentium rejects notions of light and darkness as it relates to the Force. Sekot had been brought to self-awareness under the tutelage of the founders of Zonama.

Danni Quee rushes in to tell them that Tekli and Tahiri have found the priest Harrar alive.


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chapter 8:

Malik Carr remembers the priest Harrar assuring him that the success of the deceptive defection of Elan would make him Supreme Commander. Instead, all was lost at Fondor and he saw Harrar elevated to high priest, Nas Choka as warmaster and Nom Anor is now Prefect of Yuuzhan’tar.

Carr is stuck watching over a group of enemy captives on a ship commanded by someone who used to be a subordinate. He’s just been given a lecture by the commander when a Peace Brigader bursts in to tell them that warships and starfighters have arrived.

Carr realizes this is a rescue operation and barks orders to launch coralskippers once the prisoners are transferred to another ship. He stays to give confidence to his superior before going to ensure the prisoners are secured.

Twin Suns, the Scimitars, Blackmoon, Taanab Aces, and the Dozen are out here. The Jedi move into a Force-meld where Kyp tells Jaina that Jag was held back at Mon Calamari due to something big brewing.

The starfighters knock out skips, not bothering to worry about Peace Brigaders leaving the system until they are able to isolate the freighters. Kyp reports that Alliance agents sabotaged the hyperdrives on all but one of the freighters. The transports move in to transfer the newly-liberated prisoners.


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chapter 9:

Knockout harpoons have put the Peace Brigaders out cold when Han and Leia arrive. The Alliance agent is still aboard and tells them there aren’t any prisoners here. They were transferred to the Vong carrier attached via the umbilical.

Han leaves the Noghri behind on the Falcon and takes Threepio along to translate. The inside of the carrier is disgusting and still has Vong officers aboard. After taking care of them, the Solos are greeted by Cracken and Page who are blorash jellied to the deck with about 50 prisoners.

The agent brings forth a Peace Brigader who should know how to release the prisoners. He’s more afraid of the Yuuzhan Vong officers netted to the walls by Cracken and his men.

Leia gives him a deal to have him tried and serve time in a prison as opposed to being left here with the Vong. Malik Carr is among the Vong officers netted. Page thinks it will be better for him to show up on Coruscant empty handed than anything they could do to him.

An officer reports that Vong ships are coming out of hyperspace. Han offers to take about 80 prisoners aboard the Falcon.

The starfighters swarm against the vessels emerging from hyperspace. They don’t match anything in the battle logs. The fighters launch one projectile and Jaina loses 50% of her shields. Several of the ships break off to go after the Falcon, anticipating every move the pilot makes.

Jaina, Alema and two other Twins go the rescue, battering skips, but the fighters can’t be distracted. Jaina orders them all to go to proton torpedoes, hoping her parents can go to lightspeed quickly.

Leia is nearly thrown out of her seat. Han’s hands are gripped on the yoke, while the freed prisoners are holding onto whatever they can. The Falcon is hit, reducing shields to 40% and then blue energy moves over the navicomputer when it’s hit again.

Jaina can sense her mother’s distress right before the ship jumps to hyperspace with four skips behind it. No one got a bearing on the ship before it took off and that means they could be anywhere.

Knowing her orders, Jaina tells her pilots to fall back and protect the transports.


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chapter 10:

Luke, Mara, Corran, Jacen and Saba follow Danni to the canyon and into a small cliff dwelling where they are met by a group of Ferroans. Senshi knows they found a Yuuzhan Vong and thinks they should be the ones to decide how to deal with him.

Luke agrees to allow one of them to accompany him to inner chambers where Harrar is sitting by a heart. Tekli is ministering to his injuries while Tahiri speaks with him.

Harrar recognizes many of the Jedi from their exploits. He explains that all three Yuuzhan Vong came here seeking answers, but each had private agendas kept from the others. Nen Yim was a shaper who had analyzed a Sekotan ship and believed she had evidence linking this world to the Yuuzhan Vong. She came here to verify that theory.

Nom Anor was under the guide of Yu’shaa the Prophet who claimed to be interested in determining if this world could be used to spur the heretical movement he founded among the Shamed Ones.

Harrar himself suspected Nen Yim was a heretic of a different order and that Shimrra knew of this, making the Supreme Overlord a heretic, too. He also felt the Yu’shaa was not what he seemed and wanted to make sure the Prophet believed what he said.

Luke wonders if he feared that Nen Yim and Harrar could unmask him. Harrar thinks Anor rather felt that they would try to share his glory. Mara doesn’t believe that Nom Anor, while posing as the Prophet, was actually the Prophet.

Harrar points out that Anor’s failure at Ebaq 9 put him in Shimrra’s poor graces. He probably fled to the lower levels, fell in with the heretics and concocted a scheme to get back in favor. The Overlord fears this planet more than they realize.

Nen Yim had begun to suspect that this world is very similar to the descriptions of their original homeworld of Yuuzhan’tar. The Ferroans are what the Yuuzhan Vong might have become.

In the final days of Shimrra’s predecessor, Quoreal, there were rumors of the discovery of a living world. The priests took it as an omen that they should not come to this galaxy. Shimrra, however, realized their race was dying and usurped Quoreal’s throne in order to push the worldships forward. He claimed the gods told him this was to be their new home. He did not mention the living world at all.

It wasn’t until the constant defeats and the problems on Yuuzhan’tar that doubt began to set in. Harrar tells Luke he thinks they are more similar than realized. The Yuuzhan Vong revere life as much as they do. While the Force gives the Jedi strength, the gods do the same.

Luke points out that whatever doesn’t take the Force into consideration is false. Harrar tells him they feel the same way about those that do not acknowledge the gods. To them, the Jedi embody a dark power. The Jedi feel the same way about the Sith. But, if the Sith use the Force, how are they dark?

Luke tells him that the Sith sowed destruction and exercised absolute power. They didn’t revere the Force, only the power it gave them. Harrar wonders if the gods look upon them with disfavor now. He began to suspect it when Khalee Lee thought Jaina Solo was the Trickter Goddess, when Czulkang Lah was deceived at Borleais and now that Shamed Ones have been taken in by Nom Anor.

He asks if Zonama Sekot can help them defeat the Yuuzhan Vong. Luke admits it can be a weapon. Harrar would like to help bring about a resolution between the two species.


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chapter 11:

Page asks if they are going to come out of this in one piece. They are going to be coming up on Caluula in the Tion Hegemony soon. It’s out of the way and is far from those Vong ships.

They come out rocking and approaching a cobbled-together station only to be hit by coralskippers. Obviously, these ships are able to follow them through hyperspace.

Han speeds up toward Calulla Station which loose worse than ever. Someone finally acknowledges and will allow them to take refuge under the shields if he’s fast about it.

Jaina is the last of Twin Suns to dock at Ralroost over Mon Calamari. There is no news on the Falcon yet, so she decides to go out again.

Shimrra is escorted by his slayers, in an entourage that includes Jakan, Quelah Kwaad, Nas Choka, Prefect Drathul and Nom Anor who had feared he would be held responsible for the Peace Brigade.

Those freighters had not been allowed to land, but the non-Yuuzhan Vong commanders and crews had been shuttled to the surface. The Alliance captives came with them, now tethered by blorash jelly while the Peace Brigaders lay on their faces.

At the center of the field, Jakan and his acolytes, along with Onimi, circulate among the battered collaborators. Then he moves on to the Yuuzhan Vong warriors and officers. He is unhappy to find that the number of prisoners is less than half needed for this sacrifice.

He does elevate Malik Carr for his actions, but they cannot carry on this ceremony without enough captives. The commander suggests they substitute Peace Brigaders, but Shimrra believes they will be dishonorable death for traitors who failed to notice spies in their midst and fled at the first sign of trouble. He orders them implanted with surge-coral and sent to the front to battle.

Nas Choka suggests they double their efforts at Caluula where many captives can be taken to supplement their captive supply. ‘


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chapter 12:

At Caluula Station, Han, Leia and a mechanic are working on the ship when Commander Garray appears and asks if they were sent by command. He’s disappointed when he learns that the Falcon jumped here to escape.

He tells them that the Vong showed up a month ago and they’ve been fighting since. The defense platform is gone and they’ve been under siege for a week. Leia notes that the Tion Hegemony is an unusual choice as it lacks many of the resources that the Vong usually come looking for.

There are a couple of reasons. One is that they want to enter the Corporate Sector and Caluula is a good entry point, second is the shipyards at Lianna that Seinar System has already pulled out of, finally, they want captives.

There’s not much left here to defend and Garray admits he feels a lot older than he was four years ago. They promise to take care of the ship themselves rather than divert his people to do it.

It seems that a number of people here know Han and he’s approached by someone who called himself Hurn. They’ve never actually met, but they’ve come close. Han can’t begin to figure out where.

When the klaxons sound, Garray announces enemy reinforcements have arrived.

Prefect Drathul points out that Nom Anor would not want anything to disrupt the ceremony at this important juncture. He mentions that there are rumors that a group of Shamed Ones are going to cause a disturbance. He expects Anor to quell that, either by persuasion or execution, preferably the former as he expects killing will just incite them further.

He makes no secret of the fact that he knows a great deal about Anor’s failures in the past and blames him for the death of Yoog Skell.


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chapter 13:

The ychna fastens itself to Caluula Station’s deflector shields and crushes the central module in its mouth. Such a creature helped take down a Duro orbital city. Hundreds of warriors drop out of the mouth onto the station where Han, Leia and a couple of dozen soldiers wait with weapons.

The Alliance troops mow down the warriors’ first waves before falling back, running into a dead end with several more troops in a corridor. Han tells Threepio to announce in Yuuzhan Vong that all warriors are needed for individual combat in the number one module.

They wait for the warriors to leave and then squeeze through the hole in the blast sheld before running into an enemy hunting party that Threepio inadvertently insults.

They race back to the intersection where they are forced to make a stand. The warriors begin tossing thud bugs that Leia parries with her lightsaber while Han get throttled by a warrior before the latter’s head explodes.

Han tries to push the warrior’s body off of him and finds an old-generation rocket dart. More warriors are felled by bolts and darts where several newcomers in Mandalorian armor are fighting with an arsenal of weapons.

The leader wears a jetpack and a missle launcher. He gives Han a fingertip salute before leaving. Han thinks it’s Boba Fett. She reminds him anyone could be in the armor and that Fett would be more likely to kill Han than save him. Besides, Boba Fett hasn’t been heard of since before the start of the war.

The soldiers run through the corridors, seeing the increasingly grisly work of the Mandalorians as they go. C-3PO confirms that the Yuuzhan Vong are excitedly notifying their other warriors that they’ve encountered warriors worthy of captivity.

The Vong are swarming the Mandalorians by the time the GA forces reach them and the leader fires up into the air with his jet pack, firing his weapons with both hands. Amphistaffs fly at him, one catches him in the chest and knocks him into a bulkhead. Two warriors climb over the ones fighting over who gets to reach him first, so Han takes careful aim with his blaster. Leia warns him that, just in case it is Fett, not to hit the jet pack.

The heretics rejoice when Yu’shaa returns to them. It hadn’t really been his plan, but he was swarmed by Shamed Ones on the streets even as he was trying to evade spies. Kunra greets him.

Nothing Anor says is taken the way he means it. He tells Kunra to call off the demonstration at the ceremony and Kunra responds by telling the crowd to make the first move quickly and in greater numbers. Everything Anor tells him, Kunra uses to spur on the heretics. Anor realizes that Kunra is not about to let him go back on his promise to elevate everyone after he himself has been returned to grace.

Kunra quietly warns Anor that all things are possible both today and tomorrow.


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chapter 14:

Jaina waits several hours, checking in every four, to see if her parents have been heard from. A courier arrives from Caluula to report that the Yuuzhan Vong attack on the orbital station is imminent. He did not see the Millennium Falcon before he left.

Jagged Fel appears and assures her that her parents and Jacen are fine. She doesn’t get the same feeling through the Force and takes off for her next meeting.

Kyp intercepts her and lets her know that he gets the impression that Jacen is okay, but her parents are in trouble. She admits she gets the feeling they are in the Tion Hegemony which a courier is reporting may be overrun soon, if not already.

He offers to be her wingmate, if she needs one.

Han fires at the Yuuzhan Vong warrior, the Mandalorian fires his jetpack and flies up. Leia takes down several warriors with her lightsaber. A new group of warriors, short and utilizing their amphistaffs as if they were lightsabers.

The Mandalorians take off with the Solos veering off the other way. Garray’s adjutant tells them that the Falcon is ready to leave. Page and Cracken refuse to leave, despite the evacuation alarms. Han reminds them that they are wanted at home to rally their people.

Cracken says they’ll take their chances here.

The Falcon’s engines rear up and they watch more coralskippers head into the atmosphere. A large Firespray clears a path for them before Fett comms them and lets Han know it was only ever a personal thing against the Jedi, not him.

Han tells him he was never more than a nuisance. They salute better days and part ways.

Kenth Hamner gathers a dozen Jedi in Tresina Lobi’s quarters on Mon Calamari: Tresina, Markre Medjev, Cilghal, Jaina, Kyp, Lowbacca, Alema Rar, Kyle Katarn, Octa Ramis, Waxarn Kel and Zekk. Hamner reports that Baljos Arnjak hasn’t returned from the infiltration mission to Corsucant where he stayed behind to help resistance fighters.

He had reported that Yu’shaa the Prophet of the heretics was recently seen on Coruscant. He either didn’t go to Zonama Sekot after all or he came back without Corran and Tahiri. They cannot determined if he arrived on Coruscant in the same vessel they all left on.

Luke and Mara should have been able to contact them since the Esfandia relay station is still working. Octa Ramis thinks they should send a ship, but Cilghal believes the planet may have jumped. Jaina agrees as her brother feels farther away than he was before.

Hamner proposes a talk with the Prophet. They could go to Alliance command but that would bring up awkward questions. Ultimately, he decides to give Luke a week before assembling a strike team.


  • It isn’t the first mention of Kyle Katarn, but this may be his first appearance.

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chapter 15:

Luke, Mara, Jacen, Harrar, Saba, Jabitha and the pilot Kroj’b are aboard an airship on Zonama Sekot. It’s still strange for Luke to not sense Harrar through the Force, indeed, to be so near a Yuuzhan Vong without fighting him.

He could use the Force to levitate him or move him about, but not see him in the same way he could see the others. Vergere had maintained that the failure was in the Jedi ability to perceive the Force. Luke can accept that the Force is grander than his understanding, after all, his training had been rushed and the deaths of his teachers had forced him to learn himself.

As a result, he’d become a master of the Living Force, rather than the Unifying Force. Jacen can grasp some of this due to his re-education at her hands, though some argue it was a reindoctrination. He’d insisted Harrar come with them on this journey.

Jabitha had proposed the trip because she can sense that Sekot is aging, trying to figure out what has happened and, consequently, neglecting Zonama. It’s not a deliberate withdrawal, but it’s as if the entity has been abducted by dark forces.

Harrar admits that he and his companions were responsible for this. The gods will surely turn their backs on the Yuuzhan Vong now that they have despoiled a living world. This is the world that his people have dreamed of. He felt at home here the moment he landed.

Luke asks what turned the Yuuzhan Vong toward war. Harrar can’t be sure but it appears that they were invaded by a race that was technologically based and called on the gods for protection. The gods gave them the means to turn their living resources to weapons.

This led to their development as conquerors.

The airship lands near where her father’s fortress once stood. Inside, the tunnels remind Harrar of their space vessels. Luke is reminded of the dark side cave on Dagobah, albeit with a maternal sense.

Sekot greets them through Jabitha, asking about Harrar and how she seems to know him. She cannot perceive him as she does the others. Jacen asks Harrar why his people left this world. He answers that the ancient texts seem to indicate that they were banished because of their obsession with war. Jacen wonders if they were also banished from the Force.

Whether it was the Force or their gods, some power separated them from their original symbiotic relationship, leaving only pain behind. Sekot understands that the people were stripped of the Force.


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chapter 16:

On Yuuzhan’tar, a ceremony with no equal for generations is about to take place. Nom Anor really can’t appreciate it, though. Shimrra has found some way of bringing the World Brain into line for it.

Into the Palace of Sacrifice proceed Anor and the consuls, High Priest Jakan, Nas Choka, Qelah Kwaad, High Prefect Drathul and Shimrra with his seers, all accompanied by their various representatives. Onimi, as a Shamed One, is barred from this ceremony.

The captives, swelled by those captured at Caluula three days ago, now number 1000. As they are forced up staircases toward an honorable death they don’t seem to appreciate, chuk’a caps start popping and Shamed Ones emerge with weapons.

Though the slayers surround the Overlord to protect him, the Shamed Ones do not attack him but work to free the captives. Shimrra demands the heart of every one who has aided the Prophet. Anor, from his position, is able to see one of the slayers move through the crowd and notes it wears an ooglith masquer. From the way the slayer moves, it is clear that it’s Onimi.

Han and Leia have made their fourth microjump before they reach Mon Calamari. There, they find a group of warships from all manner of species. They board the Ralroost where they are greeted by Jaina who had been prepared to go to Caluula after them A courier arrived yesterday to tell them that Calulla had fallen and the captives were taken to Coruscant.

The ships in orbit here are preparing for an expected Yuuzhan Vong attack. On the way to meet Admiral Kre’fey, she tells them that Luke, Mara, Jacen and the others have not made contact.

With Kre’fey are Supreme Commander Sovv, Grand Admiral Pellaeon, Generals Antilles, Farlander, Bel Iblis, Rieekan and Cracken, Commodore Brand, Queen Mother Tenel Ka and General Davip.

Cracken confirms that his son was among those taken to Coruscant, but he’s sure Pash can escape. Kre’fey announces that the sacrifice ceremony took place, but was disrupted by heretics who rescued more than 300 prisoners.

It appears that a huge number of Shamed Ones has been rounded up and are going to be executed in retaliation. No Alliance prisoners seem to have been recaptured. Still, they cannot be sure that Shamed Ones are truly allies. They have, however, learned that the sacrifice had been planned to ensure victory at Mon Calamari.

There are yammosks installed at Toong’l and Caluula; the enemy will launch directly from the Perlemian Trade Route. About 5000 vessels are expected. While that is an overwhelming force, it is thought that staging from such remote worlds is strategically unsound.

The plan is to look like they have been surprised and engage the enemy head on. Half their forces will be at Contruum which is their staging are. They are hoping Captain Page will prevail upon his homeworld of Corulag to do the same.

Han warns them that jumping the fleets back to Mon Calamari won’t work under these circumstances. Kre’fey points out that they aren’t going to send the staged ships to Mon Calamari, but to Coruscant.


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chapter 17:

Three days after the ceremony, three thousand Shamed Ones have been gathered to be executed. Anor speculates that this may not be the best decision Shimrra could make, but his ruthlessness is well known. From his killing his own twin to eliminate a rival for power to killing the previous Supreme Overlord Quoreal. All of the previous Overlord’s supporters had been executed as well. The remainder did not question Shimrra after that.

Now, the Shamed Ones are going to their deaths, without pleading, but with exhortations to their Prophet. Anor cannot help but notice that Shimrra is laughing.

Kre’fey shows the gathering images of Corscant as it is now. One of the participants, Embra the Hutt, points out that the planet is obviously beyond restoration. Others wonder why they should waste resources rescuing the planet when the New Republic Senate did virtually nothing for the Outer Rim and Mid Rim worlds.

Sovv points out that the planet is not beyond redemption, though Shimrra would very much like to believe it is. Gavin Darklighter offers that Jacen Solo reported that the planet is defended by hidden weapons that would make the world uninhabitable if attacked.

Kre’fey has certain read the report, but will not take the word of someone tortured by the Vong as the sole authority on the subject. The attack on Mon Calamari will leave Coruscant lightly defended. They may be able to kill Shimrra or, at least, push him off the planet.

Cracken adds that their resistance forces on Coruscant believe the time is right. The Shamed Ones are prepared to act and it’s believed Shimrra knows he must win a decisive victory over the Alliance which is why he’s attacking now.

In addition, the resistance there has swelled due to captives who escaped from the same seedship that Jacen Solo was on.

The attack on Mon Calamari will be coordinated by a yammosk. There will be warships and coral skippers strung out in a tentacle formation. The Alliance will sow confusion by using ships to strike and fade. When the armada nears Mon Calamari space, the largests ships will hammer away at the center of the enemy’s formation. Couriers will be sent to Contruum to signal the jump to Coruscant. The Yuuzhan Vong commander may send reinforcements back via Toong’l and Caluula, in the hopes the yammosks there will be able to coordinate.

They will not be employing standard interdiction technology there, but will send Alliance infiltrators to incapacitate the yammosks.

Leia notes to Han that there wouldn’t even be a yammosk at Caluula if it had been defended properly. Han jumps up and volunteers to be on the Caluula mission. He tells Leia he’d rather they do it than someone else. Besides, he wants to do it for everyone who was captured or killed there.


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chapter 18:

Two days after the execution, Shimrra is in a merry mood. Nas Choka implores him to give additional thought to the upcoming attacking on Mon Calamari. He is concerned about the cost.

He’d rather secure the worlds they already hold, so they will create a wall against any incursion. From inside the wall, they can make forays into the Mid Rim until they’ve driven out their enemy. Shimrra thinks they’ve done that already, but Choka reminds him that pockets of resistance remain. It took years to subjugate the Hutts and it make take longer to bring down the Hapes Consortium, the Chiss Empire and the Corporate Sector.

Their recent campaigns have cost them plenty already. All of this makes sense to Nom Anor, but he knows that Choka is ignorant of the one thing that is compelling Shimrra to act quickly. Zonama Sekot.

Shimrra assures him that the gods are smiling upon them. Of course, the priests can say nothing against this as Shimrra is the conduit of the gods. Anor feels someone’s eyes on him and notes Onimi watching.

Nas Choka meets with his seers who assure him that Shimrra is deranged. Choka knows there’s nothing they can do about it. The enemy is organizing against them after their moves in the Imperial Remnant and the Koornacht Cluster. They might have been able to use the Imperials and the Yevetha. He might have kept the Hutts on their side were he able to do it all over again.

Tsavong Lah was too fixated on the Jedi who are hardly the secret weapon they were first thought to be. It is his fault that Nom Anor has been escalated so. He doesn’t understand why the enemy remains at Mon Calamari. They would have to be blind not to notice the yammosks at Toong’l and Caluula.

He’d hoped they would disband their battle groups, but they’ve done nothing to suggest they’ve noticed. He suspects they will not scatter until his armada shows up and are forced to chase them all over the galaxy, taking years and resources to do so.

If they make a stand at Mon Calamari, there must be a counterstrategy they have developed instead. It is possible they may use the opportunity to strike at Yuuzhan’tar, ut they cannot inflict much damage. He has planned for that anyway.

The seers offer to cause some delays, but Choka warns them that Shimrra will only allow so much of that. They need to alert their spies and allies on all occupied and contested worlds to report on any unusual activities, but they are to trust nothing from any agent on Mon Calamari. The Alliance surely knows they are there and are leaving them to make use of them.

He wants only information, no action taken


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Part II: Force and Counterforce:

chapter 19:

Artoo confirms they’ve come out of hyperspace. Sekot had wanted to perform small trial voyages to determine if there has been permanent damage to the hyperspace cores. There really isn’t anything Luke and the others can do besides wait, so he’s spent time meditating on Sekot’s revelation that the Yuuzahn Vong have been stripped of the Force. Sekot hadn’t elaborated and had only communicated through Jabitha that it is important that Zonama be returned to known space.

The Jade Shadow is nearby and Luke thinks Sekot is preventing the ship from being crushed by toppled boras. The most recent jump may have placed them somewhere near the Mid Rim.

Jacen, Corran and Danni are trying to convince the Ferroans that it’s safe to come out of hiding. Tekli, Saba and Tahiri are with Harrar. They may be close enough to contact Esfandia Station, but an attempt to do so brings only static. Artoo cannot find any functioning HoloNet transceivers.

Mara thinks something terrible has happened and wonders if Alpha Red has been used. Luke mentions that Omas promised it would be only a last resort. Of course, for all they know, it could have come to that and the Yuuzhan Vong retaliated in kind.

Mara knows he wants to leave, but Luke tells her they can’t. He’s worried about their son and their other family, too, but they must think of the larger picture. Mara accuses him of not getting past the one mistake he made years ago when he acted when he should have completed his training. There are times when action is required.

The only consequences here are that Corran and Jacen are left to handle the situation. Luke is worried that Sekot may not trust them and change its mind. He has seen Ben in the future and knows he will be fine.

Mara asks if he saw her in that future. He doesn’t tell her that he didn’t at first. She wants him to promise that he will love Ben with all his heart if something should happen to her. She promises the same.


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chapter 20:

Nas Choka pushes through to announce that their course is set and they will launch the armada in three days. His tactician reports that intelligence has sent word of heightened activity. Empty spice ships leave Hutt space and Bothawui, the Hapans are coming in, as well as those from the Imperial Remnant and the so-called Smugglers’ Alliance.

Almost half the fleet at Mon Calamari has left. Fortunately for Nas Choka, his time in Hutt Space has familiarized him with all manner of deceptive practices. He thinks that the enemy is overwhelming him with activity in the hopes of concealing a few genuine movements. The sabotage of the HoloNet may have come back to haunt them as they cannot eavesdrop on enemy communications. Couriers will go only to those who need to know the information.

The yammosks are doing well, but the tactician notes that the governor of the planet Caluula offered to yield. This is not unusual in and of itself, but the governor wanted scientests to visit first so they could view some natural phenomenon specific to the world. The commander of their forces agreed to this in the interests of a quick pacification.

For now, the petition to allow scientists rests with Drathul who will defer to Jakan.

Choka decides he wants to speak with Jakan first, as well as with the commander at Caluula.

At Caluula Spaceport, the Yuuzhan Vong warrior receives authentication from the scientist who provides it, beore nodding to Han, Leia, Kyp, Page and a Bothan Intelligence agent named Wraw.

They are told they have three days to return before being hunted and imprisoned.

It was a surprise to everyone that they had been granted permission for a few scientists to visit in order to observe the Nocturne of the Winged Stars which occurs every three hundred years. This is not normal Yuuzhan Vong procedure, but Dif Scaur had shown them other recent examples of the Vong’s attempt to be more conciliatory toward defeated populations.

They are in disguise, but, thankfully, do not have to wear the Wraith Squadron branded ooglith masquers like those infiltrating Toong’l.

The inhabitants of Caluulah continue their primitive existence, adapting to Yuuzhan Vong ways. A Rodian and a Ryn, named Sasso and Ferfer greet them, telling them that a condition of the surrender was that no one be fitted with slave coral. However, the governor is still hiding behind a reinforced compound.

They are taking the south route to the yammosk and weapons are buried everywhere. They’ve hidden food, weapons and droids all over the hills. Of course, there are Yuuzhan Vong creatures in the area, some of them watching.


  • So it appears that Page was among the ones rescued from the sacrifice at Coruscant as he was with Pash at Caluula. What happened to Pash, though?

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chapter 21:

The Yuuzhan Vong flotilla circles Yuuzhan’tar as Shimrra offers a benediction to Yun-Yuuzhan. Some rumblings of the high caste have reached the ears of Nom Anor. He can also hear the angry voices of those living in the underworld. Even Quoreal had never been loathed this much. Shimrra’s war may be against the gods, but, it it were up to the Shamed Ones, Nas Choka would be routed at Mon Calamari and Shimrra be dragged from the throne by Yun-Shuno.

Onimi urges Nom Anor to be of courage, reminding him how vulnerable his position is.

At their camp, Sasso drops a flying biot to keep them from spying on the team. The scientist, Meloque, describes the Nocturne, explaining that they’d done simulations at home. It’s unlikely that the Vong will do anything to this planet as they seem to revere life.

Page and Kyp return, explaining they’ve found signs of a patrol so they’d better get moving. The team moves out, not really able to avoid the hunting party. They take down the party instead, including the hunting animals, to the disgust of Meloque.

Han notes that these warriors were inferior and so was their armor and weaponry. He thinks there’s a trap being laid here.


  • Why are the hunting parties out? Did the team stay past three days?

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chapter 22:

Jaina watches the armada revert from hyperspace again, surprised by the huge number they have gathered. This indicates that they are entrusting hundreds of worlds to patrol craft to risk everything on this one battle.

The ships move into an arc of smart mines that taper off quickly. Jaina comms Quermia control that the enemy has arrived. She is given leave to return to Mon Calamari.

Twin Suns sets off to rendezous with Scimitar, Vanguard and Rogue Squadrons. A frigate at Quermia is being used as a courier between the ships and Mon Calamari Central Command. Jaina uses the opportunity to rest, unable to reach either her parents or brother through the Force. With Kyp gone, Octa is leading the Dozen, Lowbacca and Alema are leading their own squadrons, while other Jedi, such as Madurin and Streen are station aboard the capital ships.

At a remote part of the Mon Calamari star system, several dozen unarmed and remotely piloted freighters are sent toward the armada, sending out thousands of probe droids out with signatures programmed for Alliance starfighters, drawing enemy fire as they go.

What the enemy is not aware is that each droid has been programmed to calculate entry points and targeting solutions for the starfighters. This data is relayed to commanders and pilots.

The faster starfighters are going to urge the corakskippers out of formation, some hitting skips before the pilots knew what was happening. This clears out lanes to the capital ships. The SSD Guardian and the Mon Calamari cruiser Harbinger move forward and fire down the cleared lanes.

B-Wings and TIEs are used to clean up what’s left behind. Suddenly, the Yuuzhan Vong capital ships begin funneling firestorms along the lane. Jaina is sent tumbling along, her shields all but gone, frees herself and scans space to find the TIEs atomized.

The tentacle arms of the yammosk sends full corakskipper forces and picket ships to make up the ones taken out.


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chapter 24:

On Caluula, the team finds a crashed coralskipper with a dead dovin basal. It could have crashed but not from orbit and there are no blaster marks on it. It could be just a shoddy ship as the Vong may be devoting their best to the war. Kyp notes that it only appears to be a problem on Caluula, though.

Han thinks they’re being reeled in. Kyp agrees, but thinks they can still pull the mission off. Han asks if Intelligence ran backgrounds on Sasso and Ferfer. Kyp says they’ll have to check with Wraw, but they both joined the resistance before the Vong showed up in Caluula’s system.

Sasso whistles them to his position. They find the bodies of Winged Stars everywhere. Something has happened here.

It takes hours of trudging before they arrive at the southern portion of Caluula City which houses the yammosk in the center. Sasso gives them a rundown about what to expect. Kyp will take down the yammosk and Page mentions that villip communications will need to come down, too. Ferfer heads off and returns with his belly opened up.

Four short and dark Yuuzhan Vong warriors appear. Leia and Kyp use their lightsabers before Han is bitten in the neck by an amphistaff. He tells Leia that he knew from that start that this wasn’t his war, shudders and goes limp as Yuuzhan Vong warriors drag her off, screaming.

Nas Choka is not impressed by the confidence of his subordinate. He notes that the number of ships here is much less than expected. Doubtless, the enemy has kept reserves to meet their second objective. When the starfighters appear again, he orders the areas sprayed and have the yammosks add more coralskippers.

The plasma discharges burst out again and then once more. Shimrra comms them to tel them that Yun-Yuuzhan and Yun-Yammka are soaring at their sides. Though Choka has no doubt they will win, he observes the tactics of Sovv and Kre’fey and determines that this is a feint. This is not a last stand at all.

He has several groups break off to head to Contruum.

Leia, Kyp, Page, Wraw and Meloque are marched to the yammosk installation, leaving Sasso and Ferfer behind to die in the forest. Han is being dragged by the wrists, alive, but unconscious. There is one weary guard at the east membrane which looks weak itself.

Kyp knows something is wrong now. They are greeted by a shaper who congratulates the warriors for the capture. The shaper calls over one of the warriors who has a growth on his neck and fears he will be a Shamed One. Meloque translates that the shaper is assuring him that the gods have nothing to do with it and that the environment of Caluula is responsible.

She wants to head to Coruscant to advise her masters what has happened here to make everyone ill. She is promising the slayers that the commander will see to the prisoners’ execution personally.

Malik Carr appears, borne by two large warriors, reminding Page of his promise to see him on a funeral pyre.


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chapter 25:

Jaina’s ship is coming apart due to the plasma coming from the capital ships. Two dozen other craft are blown clear while the larger ships are not able to fire for fear of hitting their own ships.

Jaina thinks they should withdraw, but there are socres of ships who can’t. Jag opens up exit holes which give the capital ships a chance to fire once the dovin basals shift. She sends out to the Jedi that she needs help, but it’s Jag who comes to her rescue, leading Twin Suns to her.

Then three groups of coralskippers peel off. The flotilla jumps for the Perlemian Trade Route. Ships at the Quermia transfer point are under attack now. All starfighter groups are ordered to regroup.

The prisoners are left in blorash jelly in the yammosk chamber, but it soon begins to liquefy. Leia can finally sit up and crawl to Han who is returning to consciousness. She tells him that Malik Carr plans to sacrifice them to the yammosk.

Han wonders why he is still among the living. Leia thinks it has something to do with Caluula. Apparently, everything from the winged-stars to the warriors and the amphistaffs has been weakened. That may explain why the venom didn’t kill Han.

Carr shuffles in and wonders what it is about this world that has brought death upon him. They know that there was a pollen on Garqi that felled warriors there. There’s nothing about the Ithorian trees that connects them to the winged stars.

Carr doesn’t understand how something living could kill Yuuzhan Vong. He thinks Yun-Harla is laughing at them. At least, he has the comfort of knowing they will die before he does, though, admittedly, he no longer hates them.

The yammosk cannot even direct a flight of coralskippers. It screams out and drops. Malik Carr’s amphistaff cannot even straighten. He looks at Page, tells him he has won the day and then falls to the floor. Meloque pronounces the yammosk dead.

The team grabs its weapons when they hear voices. Lando, Talon Karrde and Shada D’ukal walk in with armored suits and blaster rifles. YVH 1-1A follows. Lando explains that the Errant Venture is here, prepared to fight a war.

Though Caluula was supposed to be a major staging area for Mon Calamari, they only had to tangle with Peace Brigaders whom Karrde confirms are healthy and well. Leia realizes Han knew that the Smugglers’ Alliance was going to back them up.

Lando explains that this waning of Yuuzahn Vong biotic is evident everywhere on the planet and in the spaceport. They caught something that affected their ships and weapons. Kyp realizes that he knows what it is and that it was the crashed coralskipper they found that should have tipped him off.


  • The chapter mentions Crev Bombassa specifically whom we remember from Vision of the Future.

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chapter 26:

Everyone runs for shelter when Jabitha announces that Zekot is going to jump again. Jacen feels something is happening. Luke can sense it, too. It’s some kind of evil unleashed by the Dark Side.

Jacen notes that Luke’s entire history has been marked by his fear of falling to the Dark Side. Vergere had told him on Coruscant, in the ruins of the Jedi Temple, that there was no Dark Side. Since the Force is one, it cannot take sides. The raw unrestrained Force is what the Jedi have chosen to call the Dark Side.

Luke remembers how Vergere had accused his teachers of holding back this truth. For this reason, he has learned to equate anger with darkness and passed that along to his students. She had taught him that he didn’t have to fear the Dark Side once he accepted that he can jettison the darkness by self-awareness.

Jacen thinks that Luke has held himself back by not utilizing the raw power. Vergere received years of formal training in the Force and the Jedi of old must have known all this. Luke points out that she also spent decades being strongly influenced by the Yuuzhan Vong.

It’s not her fault because all of them are only capable of seeing so far in any direction. The Jedi have always emphasized the need for control. This is why the Old Republic Jedi only wanted children. Luke and his students haven’t had that luxury of being raised as instruments of light. For this reason, they must always exorcise the darkness.

In a way, Vergere is correct in that the Dark Side has dominated Luke’s life. Luke has begun to suspect that the fatigue he suffers during combat is due to his fear of abusing the power of the Force.

However, he believes that Jacen and Vergere are incocrect in a very simple way. The Dark Side is real bcause evil actions are real. The Force contains light and dark because of what sentient beings brought to it. That’s why balance must be maintained; because their actions have the ability to tip the scales.

The Emperor was very self-assured and yet he chose evil over good. One person with the right circumstances can tip the universe into darkness. Luke wonders if Jacen thinks he really spoke with Vergere after her death or if this was just conversation with his own mind.

Jacen is certain it was her. Luke notes that he saw Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker after their deaths, too. If that’s true, then where was Vergere speaking from? It’s possible that she tapped into a power that is more all-embracing than the Living Force. This Unifying Force may be the means to recover the Force’s power to glimpse the future.

Jacen admits he’s spoken with Sekot about their plan. It thinks this can be done. It will also speak with Danni about yammosk jammers and decoy dovin basals. Luke believes that’s good, but they must remember that the most important battles are won in the Force.


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