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The Dark Nest Trilogy: Book 1: "The Joiner King"

chapter discussion thread

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#1
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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Prologue:
 
The call through the Force continues to come, distracting Jaina Solo from the interrogation she is receiving at Detention Center Maxsec EightAthadar Gyad is asking her about her and Lowbacca’s boarding of the Night Lady.
 
Though Luke had wanted to keep the Jedi out of the operation of the new government, it’s been difficult not to become involved.  While Tesasr and Lowie wait for Jaina to finish, the call through the Force doesn’t let up.
 
On Zonama Sekot, Tahiri Veila is working to encourage the Yuuzhan Vong living here to stop thinking in terms of castes.  The warriors refuse to live with Shamed Ones who are now called Extolled because of their role in exposing Shimrra’s lies.
 
She and Tekli, however, are compelled to come by something calling to them.
 
Jacen Solo is forced to get up and leave Akanah, expressing his gratitude for what she has shown him.  Akanah is loath to let him leave because she knows he doesn’t know why.  In her opinion, he is as clumsy in the Current as his uncle. Perhaps it’s his brother calling him.
 
Jacen knows that Anakin, dead eight years now, is not it.  Akanah thinks he’s a poor student, hearing but not learning.  Jacen has grown used to this kind of chastisement, hearing it from the Jensaarai, the Aing-Tii, the Witches of Dathomir and, now, the Fallanassi.  Usually when his questions about their view of the Force grow more probing.
 
He’s seen his brother’s image twice before.  Once, when a Vong creature tried to lure him into its throat, the second when Zonama Sekot had taken his form to speak.  This isn’t him.  Jaina senses it, though, and she’s responding. Akanah warns him he has the same power as his uncle, but none of the light.  He asks for his ship, telling her that he doesn’t see the Force in terms of lightness and darkness anymore.
 
She is aware that the Jedi embrace this new knowledge, but wonders at what cost.  If they do not serve the light, what do they serve.  Jacen says they simply serve the Force.  They are beyond light and dark; good and evil.
 
Akanah is surprised he doesn’t see the arrogance in that. In Jacen’s mind, the Fallanassi are too narrow-minded.  She fears for the power in him that has no light as a guide.
 
Jacen appreciates her concern, but he won’t find his light here.
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  • This is the first appearance of Athadar Gyad

  • Anakin Solo died 27 years ABY which was 8 years ago, according to this chapter.  This means that the time is now 35 years ABY.    Jacen and Jaina are 26.  Luke and Leia are 54; Han is about 64.  It is approximately 6 years after The Unifying Force.

  • Jacen remembers Anakin’s form being taken by a Vong beast on Coruscant and by Zonama Sekot.  I remember the beast and I remember Anakin speaking to Jacen in the Solo’s apartment on Coruscant in Traitor, but I do not remember it being Anakin Solo that Sekot took the form of.  In The Final Prophecy, Sekot took the form of Anakin Skywalker.

  • Akanah we met in The Black Fleet Crisis, pretending to have a link to Luke’s mother.

  • The Aing-Tii first appeared in “Galaxy’s Edge: The Kathol Outback” a West End Games Roleplaying Game.  They have been mentioned in Vision of the Future and Hero’s Trial.

  • The Jensaarai were the Force-users we met at the end of I, Jedi.

 


#2
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 1:
 
For the first time in Luke Skywalker’s lifetime, the galaxy is not at war.  There are still problems and probably always would be.  For right now, he’s dealing with the five young Jedi who have abandoned their duties and gone to the Unknown Regions.
 
Corran Horn is lamenting how Lowbacca and Zekk’s departures have caused their jurisdictions to suffer.  Kyp Durron suggests they send the Solos to make up for Zekk, but they all know that technically the Solos really aren’t supposed to be given assignments. 
 
Corran brings up the Bothan ar’krai.  Alema Rar reported that Reh’mwa’s group may have found Zonama Sekot to continue the Bothan war of eradication against the Yuuzhan Vong.
 
A young apprentice named Twool appears to let Luke know that Chief of State Omas is here.  Omas brings a trio of Chiss with him.  Luke requires them to remove their hidden weapons as only lightsabers are allowed in the Jedi Temple.
 
Aristocra Mitt’swe’kleoni allows his two bodyguards to wait in a conference room and Luke can tell he’s impressed by the Temple, pushed on the Jedi by a Galactic Alliance desperate to show they’ve made some progress after moving the seat of government back to Coruscant. 
 
The Aristocra asks to be called Tswek and asks Luke if he can explain what the Jedi are doing on the Chiss frontier.  Luke assures him that the five in question would not be there without a good reason.  As Tswek knows of seven Jedi, not five, he assumes that the Council has no idea what’s going on. 
 
Omas stays behind to ask Luke what he knows.  So far, a team of Jedi have involved themselves in a border dispute with the Chiss.  This is not what Luke is aware of.  Jaina had sent him coordinates from which they had received a mysterious call, but those coordinates were over a hundred light years from Chiss space.
 
Saba Sebatyne, the newest master on the Council, knows of only five Jedi anyway:  Jaina, Alema, Zekk, Lowbacca and Tesar.   Kyp guesses that Tekli and Tahiri joined them as they were also on the Myrkr mission.  No one know what that means, but Luke tells Omas that Jaina and the other survivors of the mission had reported a call coming from the Unknown Regions that turned into a cry for help the day they left.  Since Tenel Ka is still on Hapes, that leave Tekli and Tahiri. And, of course, Jacen, who was last heard from with the Fallanassi. 
 
Omas is upset because the Chiss clearly think he has control over what the Jedi do.  He wants Luke to personally look into it because he doesn’t think Jaina will listen to anyone else.
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  • First appearance of Twool.

  • Cal Omas has been Chief of State since Destiny’s Way which was 7 years ago.

  • The Myrkr mission occurred in Star By Star and resulted in the deaths of six Jedi and the disappearance of another. 

 


#3
Jedi Cool

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chapter 2:
 
At Borao, Han and Leia struggle to map the area under the Derelict Planet Reclamation Act.  When they are fired upon, Han gets irritated because he knows it the RePlanetHab pilots who think he’s too old and is slowing down.
 
The Ithorian Ezam Nhor appears in the cockpit, reminding Han that, per regulations, claims to the planet must go to the party with greater resources.  His people cannot even begin to match what RePlanetHab can do.
 
Han reminds him that he doesn’t obey regulations.  He thinks he may be able to talk Lando into sponsoring them.  A message comes in from Kyp Durron telling them that he’s taking over Tesar Sabatyne’s assignment and the council is hoping they would take over in the Maltorian system since Zekk had to leave.
 
Han gets concerned and mentions they were hoping to visit Jaina when they were done.  When Kyp admits that seeing her might be a problem, Han knows there’s something going on.  Kyp tells him Luke, Mara and Saba have gone to investigate.
 
Leia knows that Jacen is on the move, too.  Han decides that five years have been too long.  With their kids in trouble, they turn down the Maltorian assignment.
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#4
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chapter 3:
 
Jade Shadow moves toward the unknown object, Mara senses living inhabitants through the Force.  However, there is no sign of Jaina, the others or of the urgent summons. 
 
Along the way, Mara chastises her son, Ben, for tampering with the Defender Droid that’s supposed to protect him.  Saba offers to let him stay with her, but he refuses.  Mara tells her not to let it bother her.  Saba answers that Ben is cutting himself off from the Force. 
 
Luke admits that he started doing this after the war.  They aren’t sure why.  Mara says Ben has told them he wants to be like his Uncle Han but this has lasted for a long time.  They’ve speculated that there was too much anguish in the Force.  It’s possible that he may be hiding from then.
 
Saba assures them that Ben will not hide forever.  It’s obvious how attached he is to them.  
 
R2-D2 brings up an image of the unknown object.  Saba wants to take out a StealthX to investigate.  Mara thinks it’s a good idea to wait until they know what these things are.  Suddenly, the tiny circles making up that object begin to multiply.  Luke lowers the laser cannons while Mara arms the torpedoes.
 
There are now 500 tiny circles out there.  Artoo is having trouble getting profiles on them.  He is able to determine that old-style nuclear rockets are propelling them.  A cloud of stars appears, growing larger, then breaks apart into two parts.  Artoo identifies an old Imperial blink code coming from the vessels.  It’s telling them that Lizil welcomes them and directs them to enter the central portal.
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#5
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chapter 4:
 
The Falcon approaches an oval of darkness when it reverts from hyperspace to be escorted by a swarm of warships being flown by something that has antennae and bulbous eyes.  Leia senses Luke’s presence, telling Han he wants them to come in.
 
Evading dust and iceballs in space that Threepio claims is more difficult due to Han’s slow reactions times at his age, Han is irritated to find they are dealing with bugs.  Leia isn’t sure of the details of his aversion to insect species, save it has something to do with a religion he inadvertently started on Kamar, resulting in a group of angry Kamarians tracking him down and trying to force him to turn their desert world into the aquatic paradise he’d shown them.
 
Unfortunately, once they make contact with the Bug species, Threepio finds he isn’t able to translate the language.  He does figure out the message is repeating every 3.4 seconds.  Leia looks out at the hatch as the insects arrange themselves.  She tells Han to keep going because she knows what they’re saying.
 
Leia lowers the shield and sucks the membrane with the insects on it against the Falcon
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  • Han accidentally started a water religion on Kamar in Han Solo’s Revenge when he embarked on a scheme to provide entertainment to backwater worlds by showing them holos.  He didn’t realize what the sight of worlds filled with water would mean to the desert dwellers of Kamar.

 
 


#6
Jedi Cool

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chapter 5:
 
The Skywalkers are all feeling nauseous, but Saba seems fine, as they make their way through the asteroid colony.  Ben asks repeatedly if this is where Jaina is.  Luke answers that they don’t know where she is.  Ben points out that, if he doesn’t know where she is, she could be here.  Saba laughs and tells Luke he has a point.  Ben hides behind his mother.  For some reason, Saba seems to intimidate him.
 
Luke says that he would be able to feel Jaina in the Force, like he can feel Leia and Han now.  They’ve obviously arrived to help in the search.  Mara doesn’t blame them for wanting to see their daughter, especially with Jacen off chasing the Force.
 
Luke and Saba head into a cantina where a Duro bartender serves them drinks, noting that everything is free here.  People start getting used to it and don’t want to leave.  He was actually smuggling processing ships stolen from Tenandro Arms.  Five Jedi came after him.  He knew Calrissian had some influence, but he didn’t know it was that strong.
 
He describes the Jedi Luke is looking for accurately before he’s approached by a tense Falleen who lets him know they are going to depart with a cargo quickly.  Mara and Ben follow them at a distance.
 
A couple of Ishi Tib hit on Luke but are able to confirm the Jedi in question were here,but aren’t able to remember when before they are pulled away by a Defel who seems to have a murky presence in the Force.  Saba approaches with an Ewok named Tarfang who thinks he can help.
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#7
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chapter 6:
 
Han and Leia fly across a pallet of Reconstruction Authority supplies that seems to have been hijacked here.    The Jade Shadow is also at the spaceport, but there’s no one aboard.  When they land, they decide to go check it out.  Before they can, Han has an altercation with one of the insect creatures trying to board the Falcon.
 
Several attempt it to the disapproval of the Noghri when an Aqualish appears and begins cleaning the viewport.  He explains that the insects have marked the ship.  If Han doesn’t clean it up quickly, they’ll be back to see what he’s hiding.  The deal here is that they take what they want and Han takes back what he wants. 
 
Han notes the Aqualish seems rather friendly for one of his species.  The newcomer admits he’s just happy to help and doesn’t understand it either.  In the end, they make their trade, but Han has a hard time getting them to understand that they cannot keep Killik Twilight which they seem rather taken with.
 
Saba shows up with a Ewok before Han yanks the painting from the guilty bug again.  The three Skywalkers follow.  When the insect tries to pry open the smuggling compartment to get the painting again, Han gives up.  Then the Ewok spits on it and the insect doesn’t want it anymore.
 
Saba explains that Tarfang is not particularly nice, but his captain knows where to find Jaina and the others.  The ship is an ancient YT-1000 with a Sullustan captain named Jae Juun of the XR808G.  He desperately needs a warp vortex stabilizer,but can’t do business with them because the hosts don’t want them to find their friends.
 
The Jedi are on Yoggoy but Juun can’t take them there because it requires a Yoggoy navigator.  Until the part is put on the ship, it’s going nowhere.  Besides, Lizil doesn’t want them to find the Jedi.  Lizil comprises a nest and/or any of that nest’s members, but Juun can’t be sure of much else about them.
 
What he can tell them is that the Jedi have been absorbed and have become Lizil’s joiners.  This happens when someone spends too long in a nest.  They left with Unu who is the central nest of a large Colony.  It’s rubbing borders with the Chiss Empire, so it makes sense they would want Jedi on their side.
 
They negotiate a deal to get the ship repaired and follow Juun and Tarfang to their destination.
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#8
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chapter 7:
 
The Taat work hard in the floodplain to provide for their larvae.  Jaina feels guilty eating a lovely meal, but she knows that the Taat will be insulted if she doesn’t.  The world of Jwlio is dusty, winds raised by the tidal pull of the gas giant Qoribu, but no one really wants to spend a lot of time in the nest caves.
 
However, the group had noticed that a supply of whatever food they talked about would always arrive soon after.  They’d agreed not to talk about food at all, so Jaina wonders who thought about thakitillo.  Tesar admits he thought about it, but didn’t say anything.  It reminds him of the food they ate aboard Lady Luck before the Myrkr mission and that always gives him warm memories of Bela and Krasov.
 
They didn’t think the Tatt could eavesdrop on their thoughts.  It should upset them to have their thoughts read, but it really doesn’t.  Yet, they avoid the battle meld for that erason.  They’d learned, after the war, that they have been able to read each other’s moods as a delayed reaction to the minds they shared while on the Myrkr mission. 
 
Jaina also believes it may be why so many of the survivors of that mission haven’t been able to move forward with their lives.  Though Tenel Ka is still Queen Mother and Tahiri and Tekli seem to be doing well on Zonama Sekot, the rest of them just seem lost.  She knows this is why she hadn’t reconnected with Jagged Fel while he served as Chiss liason to the GA.
 
She does tell the rest of them that Jacen is coming. 
 
They all sense a sudden surprise and fear through the Force.  Another Chiss defoliator squad is coming in. 
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#9
Jedi Cool

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chapter 8:
 
Jacen Solo is sure he knows this ship: a wrecked CEC YV-888 freighter.  The hull is so covered with insects from the Colony that he can’t be sure this is the reason why they are all being called here.
 
When he confirms it is the Tachyon Flier, he knows this is the one that the strike team had planned to escape Myrkr with until it had been stolen by two Dark Jedi.  Jacen is quite demanding that he be allowed to inspect the ship because a friend of his was on board and he won’t leave until he knows what happened to him.
 
He cuts through parts of the wreck, searching, finding incinerated cabins and a melted lump of casing and circuitry that might have been Em Teedee.  In an area that smells of charred bone, he slowly breathes, puts his hand to the wall and sees the past.
 
The cabin full of smoke, flames everywhere and a badly burned figure with gashes across his chest drags two burned shapes along.  Jacen knows that his friend, Raynar Thul, always so naïve and out of place, risked his life to save the two Dark Jedi who had abducated him when they escaped.
 
Jacen follows the trail until he finds bones belonging to a human, wondering if his friend got out.  The Colony insects try to push him to fly for them, but Jacen tells them he will not fight and kill for them unless he knows why.
 
A voice comes to him, telling him he always thinks too much.  Jacen can’t tell if it’s Raynar or Lomi or Welk, but answers that the voice seems to know him, so should know he won’t just start killing.  The voice tells him that they know what he will fight for.  He is shown his sister and friends, told that they fight for the Colony and asked if he will help Jaina.
 
He walks along and sees the image of his mother standing at the crater rim with his father.  She asks what happened to the rest of the crew because they know Raynar survived.  Jacen greets her.  She turns to Han and tells him Jacen has been here.
 
Jacen realizes they are still behind him. He continues his tour, his mother calling for him until he tells her he’ll see her soon at Qoribu.
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  • This ability of Jacen to communicate with his mother from the future to the past is interesting and a bit scary.  Where did he learn this because I know of no Jedi who has done this.

  • Lomi and Welk were the two Dark Jedi (a Nightsister and a male from Dathomir) who had been captured by the Vong on Myrkr, rescued by the Jedi strike team and then betrayed their rescuers by taking the ship planned for the escape with an injured Raynar still on board.  Em Teedee had also been on the ship when it left.

 
 


#10
Jedi Cool

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chapter 9:
 
As the Falcon approaches Yoggoy, Leia cannot help but think of the tower spires below being very similar to the ones in Killik Twilight.  She assures Han she can feel the Jedi and that they are not Joiners.
 
Right now, they are upset because the transponder put on the XR808g has been lost and they don’t know where to go.  Mara assures them the ship hasn’t been lost because she put a homing beacon on there, too. 
 
They find the ships here fly on a different trajectory and want Luke to have Artoo plot a safe one.  Luke admits Artoo is behaving oddly.  He muttered not safe several times before going blank so he’s locked up right now.
 
Saba asks if Leia has been practicing her reaction drills.  Leia admits she hasn’t, so Saba has her do it now and imagine the remote is shooting vessels instead of stingers.  She begins to give Han directions this way.
 
When they finally catch up to the XR, Han is ready to blast the little Sullustan.  He sends the Noghri to the laser cannons.  The security droid, BD-8, helpfully tries to communicate for him, but Leia insists they not fire unless fired upon.
 
Juun hops out and insists it was the Yoggoy guide who found the transceiver and disabled it after their last jump.  A large group of insects arrive with a figure in the center.  He has a melted face with no ears or hair, burn scars over his flesh and colorful clothing.  Juun suspects it’s the Prime Unu, the head of the Colony, whom no one ever sees. 
 
Leia feels the individual is familiar to her and her mind goes back to the time when Anakin was too young to go to the academy and jealous of his siblings.  She tries to maintain her composure while, at the same time, knowing this person is connected to her son. 
 
She’s tells Han he’s Force-sensitive.  The Prime raises its fingers and the Falcon’s laaser cannons break off their turrets, wipes out BD-8, then pushes the Noghri back with the Force.  He crosses to the Solos and greets them.  He wasn’t expecting them or the Skywalkers.  He prefers the white of the Falcon rather than the black Han had painted it so many years ago.
 
Leia realizes they are speaking to Raynar Thul.
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#11
Jedi Cool

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chapter 10:
 
They are told that Raynar is no more.  He is now UnuThul.  They are in the Prime Chamber now and the Skywalkers are present, as well.  Luke notes that he still senses Raynar’s presence in the Force.
 
Speaking as though he were many, UnuThul is surprised that Luke cannot tell the difference between a ghost and a man.  Raynar died with the Crash.  He explains how the ship fell from the sky and the Yoggoy found the burned and dying body of Raynar.  They waited for his death so they could feed his flesh to their larvae.  Instead, he touched them inside and moved them to care for him.
 
They built a special cell, fed and cleaned him like he was their own.  Over time, Raynar ceased to exist.  He taught the Yoggoy how to care for the infirm among them, how to irrigate their lands and expand the nest.  Before, only the nest mattered, but he taught them the value of the individuals.  UnuThul started trading among the nests and encouraged the building of new ones.
 
The story goes on about conflicts between the nests, but Luke is struggling with what he’s learned.  He fears Raynar is lost to them and that Jaina and the others would be, too.  Mara asks about Lomi and Welk, but UnuThul does not remember them at all.  He feels that they are dead.
 
The conflict with the Chiss perplexes him, though.  They have entered a system over a light-year from the nearest Chiss base and only establish nests as food sources.  They have even offered to work in Chiss mines in exchange for food and supplies.
 
In retaliation, the Chiss have poisoned the food worlds.  Luke points out that they may be concerned the Colony is going to claim the system for its own.  They would be happy to investigate in order to resolve the issue.
 
UnuThul will not allow it. The Jedi he has will be enough.  They are welcome to go back to the Lizil nest, but he cannot let them see the Jedi.  Leia asks if he’s afraid they will learn something he isn’t telling them.  UnuThul knows Leia’s history of serving necessity rather than virtue.  He also points out to Luke that the Jedi Temple is on Coruscant, built by the Galactic Alliance and he remembers enough of Raynar Thul’s life to know how money can influence decisions.  He feels that the Galactic Alliance pays the bills which requires them to serve it and not what’s right.
 
Luke notes that this is just a point of view.  The Jedi have distanced themselves from vague notions of right and wrong, light and dark.  Raynar knows this and it grieves him to think that the Jedi have grown blind to the Dark Side.
 
They are welcome to stay here if they wish, but they serve the will of the Force best by letting Jaina and her friends do this themselves.  Leia steps in to agree to stay and hopes they can discuss this further.  UnuThul thinks it’s possible, but she won’t change his mind.  He knows them all too well.
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#12
Jedi Cool

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chapter 11:
 
As they follow one of UnuThul’s minions, Han pulls Leia aside and tells the whole group that he has an idea. He thinks he can talk Juun into giving him any information he has on the Colony and she can use the Force, too.   That should be enough to find out where the Jedi are. They know they’re within a light-year of the frontier.
 
Leia thinks it would be better to stay here and learn as much as they can about Raynar first.  Han doesn’t believe they need to know more.  He joined minds with a bunch of bugs and the same thing will happen to the others if they don’t hurry.  Raynar was a Jedi, after all.  Mara points out that Raynar was younger, inexperienced and very badly injured at the time. 
 
Saba agrees they need to know more, especially why they are lying about the Dark Jedi.  Most accept that there’s more behind the story of Lomi and Welk than UnuThul is telling.  It’s better to find out if they are missed up in this, too.
 
Further, they may be able to reach Raynar, still.  He cannot remain here, the King Bee of a galactic empire of his own making.  This Colony wouldn’t exist without him.  Luke knows that Raynar was trained in the old tradition of preserving life.  He found a need and helped them.  The Jedi these days hold themselves back and study the situation first before interfering.
 
Leia asks if that’s really a good thing.   While a modern Jedi waits, beings can die.  She can’t help but wonder if this new Jedi order focuses on improvement or convenience, about what it has cost them to abandon their simple code and embrace moral relativism.
 
Their guide finds them again and suggests they visit the Crash so they can see that no one is lying about the Dark Jedi.  The group realizes there is some kind of telepathy going on. It’s further exacerbated when they reach the hangar to find another Yoggoy complaining that the Nanny Droid opened fire when it tried to collect Ben to go to the site, too.
 
Realizing that there is a collective mind at work here, they know there is a lot to learn about this Colony.  The crash site is part shrine, part tourist attraction.  Luke and Mara debate whether this is appropriate for Ben, but he protests that he’s old enough.
 
The guide shows them where they found Raynar.  Leia turns to ask what happened to the rest of the crew as they know Raynar survived.  She feels a familiar touch through the Force and sees Jacen standing at the bottom of the crater.  He greets her.  She turns to Han and tells him Jacen has been here.  Luke realizes she’s having a vision through the
Force.
 
She tries to talk to him, but he only tells her he’ll see her soon on Qoribu.  A group of bluish insects pushes in on them before Luke uses the Force to scare them off.
 
They decide to return to the Falcon.  On the way, the guide does not seem to recall the blue insects at all.  Leia has a feeling of unease that won’t go away.  She orders the guide to stop the hoversled so loudly, that Mara uses the Force to push the guide off. 
 
The wall begins to rain down on both sides of the street.  The Nanny droid shields Ben while Luke and Saba use the Force to try to push debris away from their hoversled.  Leia spots dark blue insects rushing off.  Han decides that they were ambushed and, as Mara drives the sled down the street, thinks they should do things his way.
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#13
Jedi Cool

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chapter 12:
 
Han urges Mara to push it to the spaceport before Raynar knows they survived the attack.  Mara and Leia remind him that he already knows due to the collective mind.  Luke can’t believe Raynar was behind it, though Han points out that he’s UnuThul now. 
 
Saba thinks this was just a warning to get them to leave.  Leia agrees and decides they have what they need anyway.  She explains how Jacen appeared in a vision from the future to revel in the name of the planet.  Luke has never heard of the Force being used this way.  For those few moments, Jacen fixed Leia’s future.
 
When they reach the hanger, UnuThul and his entourage are waiting.  Luke has Nanna get Ben aboard either ship quickly.  Luke and Mara had decided long ago that the best way to ensure Ben’s safety is to keep him with them. 
 
Raynar claims not to know anything about the attack on them.  He is positive they would know if any of their nests had done such a thing.  Han warns him not to lie to him as he’s been interfering with dictators like him since before he broke Raynar’s mother’s heart.
 
As Luke questions that, Leia asks Raynar to admit that the collapse looks suspicious.  They did kill some of the blue attackers.  Raynar tells them they found no such bodies at the site.  Leia asks Raynar if maybe they were attacked by those outside the Kind, ones Raynar didn’t know were here.
 
She thinks the attack was supposed to look like an accident so he would not know others were here.  Leia drags him aboard the Falcon and shows him Killik Twilight.  He identifies it as an arm of the Lost Nest.  When humans came to Alderaan, they called it the Castle Lands but his people know the nest as their home Oroboro.
 
Leia asks if he’s saying that the Killiks didn’t go extinct, but just left Alderaan thousands of years ago.  Raynar confirms that the Celestials emptied Oroboro 20000 years ago.  Leia adds that, in that time, only three towers collapsed on Alderaan all due to the elements.  She wonders if Raynar understands why she’s suspicious that a tower happens to collapse just as they are passing by.
 
He admits he has no explanation, but offers his apologies.  Han asks about the Celestials.  Raynar starts to tell them how the Celestials were angry when the Killiks built Qolaraloq which is now known as Centerpoint Station when he notes that the Noghri are abducting Captain Juun and the Ewok.
 
Leia answers that she told Cakhmaim and Meewalh to bring the two to the ship and assumes they were resisted.  Raynar wonders why they are in a hurry to leave.  Leia admits that they do not feel safe here, especially if there are things going on behind Raynar’s back.
 
He assures them that they are safe, but they are always free to leave anyway.  What Juun and Tarfang do is up to them as well.   Juun isn’t happy that Tarfang is unconscious after the fight with the Noghri, but decides he will leave.  He’ll need a copilot because he’s not going without his ship.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 


#14
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chapter 14:
 
After a week of travel, the Jade Shadow arrives at Qoribu on the night side.  Luke ponders the Chiss frontier, wondering about the border conflict.  Though the Chiss have had a long-standing rule never to attack unless they’ve been attacked within their borders, that could have changed.  So much has since the Yuuzhan Vong war.  There are now 4 ruling families instead of 9 for some reason.  The Empire of the Hand has vanished.  It’s hard to believe they would abandon a basic tenet of their culture. It can only lead Luke to believe that the Colony started it.
 
He is saddened to think of what Raynar suffered before and after his capture at Myrkr.  It’s hard to blame him for what has happened to him.  Mara knows what he’s thinking and reminds him that billions are lost in wartime.  What happened to Raynar wasn’t his fault.
 
Luke knows this but he still feels something is wrong when Jedi become rulers.  It doesn’t take long for the desire for power to set in.  He thinks they may still be able untwine Raynar from the Colony, but knows it will take time and resources they don’t have.
 
He gets a welcome through the Force from Jacen who, nonetheless, urges him to hurry.  Saba gets it, too, and confirms that it sounds like things are getting unpredictable here. There is debris out here, indicative of some kind of battle.  Ben rushes in to tell them that Jacen needs their help. 
 
His parents tell him they heard Jacen, too, through the Force.  Mara assures him it’s alright as he touched the Force all the time as a small child.  Ben wants to go back to bed.  Nanna takes him back while the parents muse that he’s afraid of the Force.  Right now, they can only speculate that he associates it with the deaths of so many during the war.
 
XR speeds up ahead of the Falcon before Luke comms Junn and tells him to slow down until they can find out what the battle was about.  Luke checks the tactical display and, turning, finds Artoo leaning against his arm, twisting the information buffer back and forth.  Concerned at the speed at which the droid is deteriorating, Luke promises to schedule some maintenance time when they get back.
 
They all argue about what is going on out there before Luke spots blink code coming from the XR.  Artoo is able to pull itself together long enough to translate it as a message about bearing supplies to the Jedi warriors. 
 
The fact that they cannot sense the pilots in the Force concerns the Jedi.  When the dartships swarm toward them, they take evasive maneuvers.  The Killik ships break off into two groups and then come back.  The Falcon drags XR along as the swarm forms a wall between it and the Jade Shadow while a second swarm chases it.
 
Mara has Artoo plot escape vectors while she and Luke try to figure out who is trying to get them and why.  They get only confusion in the Force from Jacen and Jaina.  Luke stretches out with the Force, putting an image of the ship’s exterior and moves it out of the cockpit, then replace the current Shadow with an image of space.
 
He adjusts them, getting fatigued in the process of maintaining both illusions, before allowing his fear and anger to strengthen him.  He is burning himself up from the inside.  The modern Jedi Order does not consider this a Dark Side act because it lacks intent, but it still feels dark to him, especially since Mara had told him this is what happened to Palpatine. Luke can feel himself aging.
 
The crew of the XR is brought aboard the Falcon which starts to swing forward.  Luke is tired, dry and his eyes are baggy.  Mara brings the sublight drives online and Luke lets the illusion drop.  Han gets upset and asks if they just teleported their ship.
 
Mara lectures him to fall back behind them and stay there.  Luke feels like he grabbed a powerfeed.  She tells him to get some rest.
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  • Okay, so this version of the Force that Jacen was taught by Vergere and that Luke has seemingly embraced for the entire Jedi Order says that acts aren’t evil, only intents are.  So the Jedi can use Force lightning and do things they wouldn’t have done in the past so long as they aren’t doing it from a position of greed, selfishness, etc.  Is that right?  Because I really would quibble with that.

  • As we know from Revenge of the Sith and some of the Sith books preceding it, Palpatine used the Force for a long time without his visage changing or his body aging.  It was only after he absorbed the Force lightning Mace Windu deflected back on him in Revenge of the Sith that his face sank and his body showed abnormal aging.  The Joiner King was published only two months after RoTS so how much information the author had at the time is unknown.

 
 


#15
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chapter 15:
 
When the two ships land, the missing Jedi adopt different poses.  Mara takes her time shutting down the Jade Shadow, hoping to keep them in suspense.  She doesn’t believe they had any part in the attack on her ship, but she’s sure the Killiks are behind it and, unlike Luke, she thinks Raynar will do whatever he can to keep them in the Colony.
 
Ben rushes to Jaina, hugging her and telling her she is in trouble.  She notes he’s grown in the year since she’s seen him.  He hopes they don’t take away her lightsaber.  Jacen introduces himself to Ben who remembers Jacen slightly.  His cousin had gone away when he was two years old.  He asks if Jacen found it.
 
Jacen admits he only found some of it, but is likely not to find the rest, so he’s staying.
 
Mara is going to be the bad cop here, lecturing them for abandoning their posts and requiring more Jedi to come find them.  They explain that the call got so strong they couldn’t ignore it any longer. 
 
They take their family into the tunnels to the infirmary to show them what’s going on.  The Chiss injured are being treated here and they are free to leave when they are better, but their people won’t take them back.  Han argues that it’s because the captured pilots are induced to become Joiners.  Jacen explains there are actually two minds: the individual and the nest mind.  Some people are disturbed that the nest mind is more powerful than the individual one.  Han agrees that’s exactly what his problem is.
 
 Leia also expects the Chiss would feel threatened by this.  The Jedi argue that is doesn’t justify speciecide.  A Chiss Joiner has told them how Killik prisoners are kept in isolation cells and starved to death because the Chiss aren’t feeding them correctly.
 
The family is shown how the Killiks regurgitate food to each other, being reminded that bees and wasps do the same thing.  By being kept isolated from each other while imprisoned, they cannot feed.  The Chiss know this and are trying to force the nests into leaving.  They can’t because each one will need a ship the size of a Star Destroyer and many months to prepare.
 
Besides, this isn’t Chiss space anyway.
 
Saba explains that they were attacked by Killiks using hydrogen rockets when they entered the system.  Jaina assures them that the Kind does not use hydrogen in their ships, though the Jedi have been trying to get them to do so.  A nearby Killik thinks it was Chiss pretending in order to get the protectors to leave.  Mara insists she saw the pilots and they were insects, not Chiss.
 
The Killik won’t believe the pilots were part of the Kind and won’t say anything else since she doubts she would be believed either.  Luke has heard enough and decides that this situation is too confusing and volatile.  Since the Jedi team here have obviously lost their neutrality, he insists they come back to Coruscant.
 
Jaina accuses him of wanting to protect the Galactic Alliance relationship with the Chiss.  Luke reminds her that the GA is the strongest pillar of a peaceful galaxy and their alliance with the Chiss helps keep their mutual frontiers secure.  If that or the GA falls apart, the Jedi have failed.
 
Defending the poor and weak are noble virtues, but they won’t protect the galaxy and they aren’t the responsibility of the Jedi.   Jaina argues that allowing the conglomerates to snap up Killik space is just like Palpatine, but Mara will not allow her to go any further with that comparison.
 
Both she and Luke agree that prolonged exposure to the Killiks not only damages their objectivity, but it also increases the chances they will become Joiners like Raynar. Saba offers to stay behind until Luke can speak with Aristocra Tswek.
 
Jaina asks her mother what she thinks.  Leia admits she thinks they are making things worse.  She’s not sure how to avert a war here, but she knows it’s not done by destroying Chiss task forces.  It will just spur them to send bigger ones next time.
 
Tesar, Jacen and Tahiri agree to leave, stating Tekli will, too.  Mara asks about the remaining three.  Jaina reminds her there are four left, with Lowbacca still in a Force hibernation trance in space.
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------
 


#16
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chapter 16:
 
The Chiss search party has increased their radius, searching for survivors.  Han determines Leia is going to have to talk the Chiss into letting them retrieve Lowbacca.  They agree they will keep this part of the bargain and then get Jaina back home and they will do this together.  She reminds Han how he’d left her to deal with Zekk and it was all she could do to get him into the Academy so Jaina would stay there.
 
Han points out she was 13 then and can do what she wants now.  Their children were raised in the political world of deal-making.  They had a few things to fight against, but no real ideals to fight for.  They didn’t have the Rebel Alliance.  To these young Jedi, the peace-loving Killiks being pushed out by the Chiss is a clearcut need.   He and Leia may need to convince them that leaving is their choice.
 
Lowie dreams of being in the Shadow Forest with his uncle Chewbacca, racing along the wroshyr branches to the Well of the Dead, but never reach it.  Something touches Lowie, feeling human.  It’s Jaina.
 
Leia tells the Chiss on the comm. that she’s come to assist their search for survivors.  The Chiss asks if she means Jedi survivors.  Leia explains that all Jedi have been accounted for, but they’d like to help retrieve any Chiss.
 
They turn down her request, explaining they do not believe the Falcon is here out of any concern for the Chiss.  They are also not so intimidated by her attempt to use her position as former Chief of State and Luke Skywalker’s sister to not fire on the Falcon.
 
They warn her off, but she holds her ground, assuring them that Luke has already left with Tesar, Tekli, Jacen and Tahiri.  Leia promises to take the rest when they go, provided the Colony on Qoribu will no longer be hassled by Chiss ships.
 
Lowie remembers Jaina’s recollections of the despair of EV, waiting in the cold of space, dreaming of speaking with a Yoda who only spoke Gamorrean.  A dark shape appearsa and Lowbacca senses Chiss presences.
 
While Han and Juun chat about the overly-sensitive Threepio who insists he’s only worried about Captain Solo’s diminishing reflexes, the Millennium Falcon is confronted by the Chiss over a course deviation. 
 
Leia sends out to Jaina as Han explains they found some survivors.  The Chiss don’t seem to believe this, but allow them to carry on.  Leia tells Han that she’s warned Jaina, but she doesn’t care.
 
Jaina is frustrated, knowing the Chiss have found her friend.  Lowie activates his emergency beacon.
 
It’s not enough, though, when Leia senses through the Force that it’s over.  Jaina and her friends come back and the Falcon is pinged by the Chiss.  Colonel Jagged Fel assures Leia that they’ve recovered Lowbacca and he’ll be treated with all rights due an enemy combatant.  The other Jedi will be, too, when they are captured.
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  • Let’s point out that there was nothing in the YJK series that indicated Leia pulled strings to get Zekk into the Jedi Academy.  However, it does confirm that Jaina was 13 then which means that the first part of the YJK begins before the JJK series.

 


#17
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chapter 17:
 
Saba is sitting in a dark, deserted base deep below the Taat nest, bitter over Jaina’s insubordination.  Master Skywalker had only allowed Jaina to take part in the rescue mission if Saba was in command, but Jaina had, once again, submitted only to her own emotions.  Saba does not ordinarily question his judgment, but she doesn’t understand the wisdom behind allowing this disorderliness to continue.
 
In the warrens deep below, she smells prey and hunts it until she is attacked by a shadowy figure.  The creature quickly seems able to overpower a Barabel.  She pulls her lightsaber and is met by Force lightning.  A red lightsaber highlights this burned and scarred man that Saba realizes is Welk.
 
Clearly, Raynar and the Killiks have lied.
 
The battle is quick and fierce, she takes several hard blows, before facing a small blue-black Killik that spreads brown fluid from its mouth which hits her face.  The acid begins eating her cheeks.  She jams her saber against the Killik’s abdomen and activates it. 
 
It nearly explodes the Killik.  She springs after Welk, but collapses due to the venom of the spray.  She pulls herself up and feels another Killik piercing her leg.  Saba uses the Force to hit it with a boulder and toss it into the air.  There have been two Killik attacks, but three cells.  The third one is gone and so is Welk.
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#18
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Have you considered doing a blog of these? It seems like you might have a real audience, instead of posting for the same 10 people here.

You're of course welcome to continue posting them here, I was just wondering if you've considered it, especially with the relative success of NumberSix's blog.

#19
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If ever Nightly becomes defunct, perhaps.  But I've been doing this for 15 years now through the old Expanded Universe.  I'm very nearly done, as it is, with the old books (haven't decided if I'll do the new ones yet).

 

chapter 18:
 
Mara loudly calls for Ben to come to the galley, but the boy is on the utility deck with Luke, covered in lubricant, building a Killik droid.  Luke turns to Artoo and the sequestered sector he had found in one of the droid’s deep-reserve memory chips.  There is a fault there, but it hadn’t caused any problems until recently when a silver of casing seems to have bridged the break.  Artoo has worked well most of his life with this fault, so Luke wonders how long it;s been since anything new was written in that sector.
 
Mara emerges to confront Ben about an entire can of gelmeat that is empty.  Nanna told him he could have a slice and it appears they’ve gone through a whole case of it.  Ben assures her he hasn’t been eating it but feeding it to his Killik. 
 
They remind him that lying will keep him with Kam and Tionne next time.  He’s grounded from gelmeat for the rest of the trip.  Luke knows that Mara is upset about something besides gelmeat.
 
She admits that she isn’t sure if the Killiks are enemies or dangerous allies. They have to learn as much as they can.  She has the strong feeling they are going to be attacked again.
 
When Luke returns to Artoo, he wants to see what the deep reserve memory contains and if the droid can access it.  Half the entry appears, then each letter in the heading changes with each line.  Artoo denies he’s changing the entries, but admits it could be encoded.  The droid doesn’t seem able to slice through it until Luke threatens to fuse it to a sector that is in the directory.
 
It displays a hologram of Anakin Skywalker speaking with a beautiful woman in her nightgown, admitting he had a bad dream about her, similar to the ones about his mother before she died.  The recording stops.  Luke asks him who the woman was in the hologram and tells him to show it again.
 
Artoo plays Leia asking Obi-Wan Kenobi to help her.
 
Artoo insists the files are corrupted and he doesn’t know what woman Luke is talking about.  The files should be sequestered since they are defective.  Luke believes they were sequestered already and on purpose.
 
He tries to get further, but it only causes a crackle and fumes to come out of the access panel.  Clearly something was put into Artoo decades ago to prevent this information from being reveald.  Angry, Luke throws his tool and curses, getting Ben’s notice.  After his father acknowledges that he shouldn’t have used those words, Ben tries to wheedle some nerfspread.
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  • The holorecording of Anakin Skywalker was of the scene where Anakin and Padme spoke about his initial dreams of her dying in childbirth.  Clearly, Artoo recorded the incident. 


#20
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chapter 19:
 
The Killiks perform their Song of the Universe dance as Han frets over why Jaina didn’t marry Jagged Fel when she had the chance.  Jaina, Zekk and Alema are dancing among the Killiks in a ritual that Threepio describes as a bonding dance performed once a week before the Killiks mate in a Harem Cave.
 
Leia tells Han they’ll talk to the Jedi after the dance.  Han thinks kidnapping will be easier.  Suddenly the assembly grows alarmed.  Threepio, having learned that the Killiks know every language the Joiners know, is able to use Bocce to learn that Saba has emerged at the depths of the nest very badly injured.
 
They are hoping the Solos might be able to calm her down so they can close a hole in her skull.  It takes time to calm down Saba enough, but it’s confirmed she was poisoned by a venom that causes paralysis and there’s no antidote.
 
Han and Leia decide they’re taking her with them, especially since the Killiks do not believe her story of an assassin.  The time has come to bring the Jedi back, but Jaina, Zekk and Alema refuse to go.
 
Her parents prevail upon all three that they are getting in well over their heads here, not just with the Chiss, but with the Killiks.  They are not convinced that Raynar is in his right mind.  Ultimately, Alema agrees to go with them to show them the way back to GA space without stopping at Yoggoy. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------
 


#21
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chapter 20:
 
Saba is more annoyed by her wounds than anything else, but Alema thinks she looks like she’d dying.  Leia believes she’s just gone into a healing trance and offers Alema some of the supply of hot chocolate Luke has aboard.  Since seven of the eight planets capable of growing the pods have been reshaped by the Yuuzhan Vong, the delicacy is very rare and Alema jumps at the chance.
 
Leia questions her as to the real reason why she came aboard.  Jaina and Zekk were unhappy to see her go and surprised she offered.  This is unusual as they’ve been finishing each other’s sentences since the Falcon got here.  Leia knows there is a mental connection between the Jedi and the Killiks. 
 
Alema admits that there is a sensation of belonging and an awareness that’s wider than glitterstim without the sickness. 
 
Leia doesn’t believe this connection is not harmful.  Alema is certain the Colony is not responsible for the attacks on them.  As for Saba ’s story, it’s strange because there are no blue Killiks.  Yet, she seems to think that Welk was protecting a nest of them.
 
Leia thinks Alema and the others want to protect the Killiks from something.  The Chiss obviously have something to be afraid of and the Jedi are hiding that.  Leia accuses the blue Killiks of being assassins used by the Colony to ensure that Raynar gets to keep the Jedi. 
 
She grows concerned when Alema can’t remember Welk’s name or the name of his master, only that she is sure they are both dead.  Leia points out that Jacen saw that Raynar pulled both Welk and Lomi Plo out of the ship.  He may have been the only one the Yoggoy found, but that doesn’t mean he was the only one to survive.
 
Alema insists that the Colony knows that they are dead.  Leia has nothing to fear if she just does what they tell her to do.  Except Alema uses the word we.  Leia questions her and Alema seems to understand what was wrong with that statement and rushes off.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 


#22
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chapter 21:
 
At the infirmary at the Jedi academy on Ossus, the brain mapper proves to be useless in determining any problem with the young Jedi brought back.  Jacen, Tesar, Tekli and Tahiri had come back with Luke and Mara.  They insist it is only the battle meld they used on Myrkr that has made it hard to stay out of each other’s mind.
 
Cilghal believes they are mistaken as the mental activity is in the wrong places.  The prolonged use of the meld creates a different reaction in the hypothalamus.  The mental link they have now is the result of a change in the corpus callosum.  Tekli, Tesar and Tahiri are sending impulses directly from one brain to the other.  Jacen less so because he has been there less time.
 
It’s likely that the phermones in the nest affected the Jedi. 
 
The Jedi maintain it’s the meld.  They came back here to persuade the council to help the Killiks, but do not promise to abide by the Council’s decision.  Cilghal notes that they are being as honest as they are able to, but, at this point, it must be assumed they are being influenced by the same power that called them to the Unknown Regions in the first place.
 
The meld always comes from the outside so the receiver knows they are being influenced by someone else’s thoughts and emotions.  This joining comes from the inside.  The Jedi believe they are sensing it themselves.  They don’t know whether their thoughts are their own or someone else’s.
 
The four Jedi are disappointed and even Tesar admits it’s possible, but they cannot deny the Chiss are trying to drive the Killiks away.  Luke and Mara didn’t see a lot, but they can agree there and that the Killiks don’t have the resources to move.
 
Corran thinks there must be a reason for the Chiss to be acting this way.  They may be xenophobic, but they’re not expansionists.  Tesar mentions that the Chiss Joiners claim that the Chiss fear the Killiks expanding into their territory.
 
Mara points out that the Chiss would wait until a nest showed up in their territory first before attacking.  Something about them is so frightening that they won’t wait for that to happen.  Still, the Jedi need to understand both sides of the conflict and Kyp argues that their first concern is to their own consciences, not to any other entity.
 
The Masters argue amongst themselves, while Luke watches Jacen manipulate the colors on the brain scans and worries about finding a slicer that can access the sequestered sector in Artoo’s memory.
 
Jacen thinks that the Killiks are dangerous friends, but they are not enemies.  The danger is not in what the Jedi do, but in their failure to act. 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 


#23
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chapter 22:
 
Han and Leia are sitting quietly when he notices the coolant line is malfunctioning.  The hyperdrive is overheating.  The resulting commotion rouses Juun, Alema and the Noghri.  While Han works on a fix, Juun tells him dartships are coming. 
 
Han puts in his fix quickly so they won’t have to risk attack while Saba needs help.  It turns out that there was bad coolant and a short circuit in one of the nacelles.  The last place where they had the ship serviced was at the Jedi Temple.
 
Han has Threepio tell the Noghri to do a sweep of the ship to search for Killik stowaways.  The Falcon jumps out of hyperspace into a nebula and they can’t jump out.  Han determines that his fix was been unfixed.  In desperation, Leia turns the ship around and sends it backwards through hyperspace until a large planet pulls them out and they drop toward it.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 


#24
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chapter 23:
 
Jacen drops out of a tree to find that Queen Mother Tenel Ka is not even alone in her own garden.  There are courtiers all around who try to defend her when they spot Jacen.  She warmly embraces him and tells them she is going to catch up with her friend.
 
She admits it’s nice to spend time with someone who doesn’t connive to get what they want.  Jacen should be careful here now that he’s been identified as a favorite.  He assures her he won’t be staying.
 
He asks if she felt Raynar’s call.  Tenel Ka admits she did and that it was so strong in the end, she had to lock herself in the palace.  Jacen describes his journey to finding the Tachyon Flier, what happened to Raynar and how Cilghal believes Killik pheremones are affecting the Joiners’ minds.  He tells her about the attacks on his parents and how the Killiks don’t seem to know anything about Lomi or Welk.
 
She asks what became of Em Teedee.  Jacen thinks he was destroyed in the fire.  Tenel wonders if he wants her to leave and help them track down the Dark Jedi.  He admits he would like a battle fleet for the Colony.  It’s important to stop a war that would result in xenocide.  The Killiks are tied to this galaxy in a way they don’t understand.  He believes this is a turning point.
 
She asks what about the will of the Force.  Jacen tells her that the Force isn’t a deity that cares what happens to them.  Its only will is to remove what blocks the flow.  The light side is when they allow it to run through them to others.  Whent hey block the flow and turn it to their own ends, they make it dark.
 
Though Vergere taght that it was the intent that made an action dark or light, Jacen believes that this was only one point of view.  Good intentions allow for the Force to flow through you, bottling it up is the result of bad intentions.
 
Jacen tells her the Force is too big for truths to be true from all points of view.  She is sorry it took five years for him to learn only that.  She’s also concerned that Raynar has grown so powerful in a short time. 
 
She hopes he will stay the night as it will give the nobles more to talk about.  He admits he didn’t really come here to become her paramour.  She tells him paramours are playthings and she would never just play around with him.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 


#25
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chapter 24:
 
Aboard the Boranaryn Trading Company’s flagship, Tradewyn, Tesar Sebatyne is introduced to Aryn Thul, Raynar’s mother.  He had heard the masters debating how much the Thul family should be told and snuck off Ossus to find her himself.
 
Tesar explains he’s here about Raynar, but Aryn Thul reminds him that her son died on Myrkr.  Tesar admits he did, after a fashion, but that also he survived, after a fashion.  The news nearly overwhelms her to the point that her brother-in-law, Tyko, tries to speak with Tesar alone.
 
Aryn is determined to hear Tesar out.  The Barabel explains how Raynar was nursed back after the fire on board his ship by the Killiks and, as a result, has become the Voice of the prime Colony. 
 
Putting this in the context of business is all the Thuls can do.  Aryn is determined that Raynar will come back and take over the family business.  Tesar attempts to gently explain why that probably won’t happen.  However, he does indicate that Unu wants to establish a confidential relationship between the Colony and Bornaryn Trading. 
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • We saw Aryn and Tyko Thul last in the YJK books.

 




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