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

chapter discussion thread

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#1
Jedi Cool

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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.

 


#2
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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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. 
 ----------------------------------------------
 


#3
Jedi Cool

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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.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 


#4
Jedi Cool

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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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#5
Jedi Cool

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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.

 


#6
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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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#7
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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.
----------------------------------------------
 


#8
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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.
 ----------------------------------------------
 


#9
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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.
 -------------------------------------------------
 


#10
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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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#11
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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.  ‘
-----------------------------------------------------
 


#12
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chapter 12:
 
At Caluula Station, Han, Leia and a mechanic are working on the ship when Commander Garray[b] 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 [b]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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#13
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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.
 --------------------------------------------
 


#14
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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.
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  • It isn’t the first mention of Kyle Katarn, but this may be his first appearance.

 


#15
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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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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#16
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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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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