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The Dark Nest Trilogy #3: "The Swarm War"

Jedi Cool

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chapter 25:

Several assault shuttles carry YVH droids modified for Killik hunting with Luke in command. The shuttles head off, encountering much of what Bwua’tu expected they’d find, until the shuttles start coming apart around them. The YVHs can handle themselves, but Luke has a Force bubble around him. They move toward the Ackbar and breach the hull.

Inside, Luke can sense Raynar’s pull. Raynar wants him to leave. Luke is glad to do so…but with Raynar. He reminds him of all the memories they have, how Luke had protected his family from the Diversity Alliance, had helped Bornan Thul destroy a galaxywide plague. Raynar starts to retreat, but UnuThul has the power of the Colony behind him and asserts himself.

He can sense Unu coming for him. He has the YVHs seal off the hatch to make the corridor airtight and fix the hatch. Raynar comes through and flicks one of his hands. Luke is pushed back, bounced off droids and grabbing for hatches.

He finds his helmet dropping to the floor in two pieces. Luke orders the Dazers droped which deadens the auras of the Killiks. When bodyguards fire at him, Luke bats the projectiles into a wall. Unu ignites a gold lightsaber and deflects the YVHs.

Luke ignites his spare and kills the rest of the bodyguards. Raynar, being younger, thinks strength is the answer to every problem. Luke has learned much and is able to evade attacks. When he has to block with his blade, though, he takes off Raynar’s weapon hand.

Raynar uses his remaining hand to try to push Luke down the corridor. Luke roots himself there and waits, not budging. Luke asks Raynar what he can do with someone who won’t learn from their mistakes. He picks Raynar up by the collar and pins him against the wall.

When Raynar uses the Force to call his weapon back, Luke intercepts it and takes out the focusing crystal. He tells Raynar his days as UnuThul are done. It’s time to come home. He cannot stay with the Colony because, as long as he is the Prime Unu, Lomi Plo will be the Dark Queen of the Gorog. The Colony will be in conflict with the Chiss as long as that happens.

Raynar suggests there might be a weapon to kill the Chiss. Luke reminds him that it wouldn’t be right to use one if it did exist. The Jedi will not allow the Killiks to destroy the Chiss anymore than they would allow the Killiks to be destroyed. The Colony will grow too large again and devour its own worlds. That is why the Celestials drove them into the Unknown Regions. They had devoured their own world and tried to take someone else’s.

Lomi Plo bursts through blasting at one of the remaining droids. Then she parries the blastfire of the last one before using the Force to drain its power. Knowing she can do the same to his lightsaber, Luke springs down the corridor. She uses her white-bladed one and then produces the one Raynar had confiscated from Luke on Wotega: Luke’s green-bladed one.

Luke sends her staggering back with all arms flailing as she tries to keep balance on her mismatched legs, one human, one insect.

Something slams into him and sends him across the floor. He finds he’s not holding his lightsaber and cannot move his arm. He calls the weapon back to his good hand and parries her blows while someone fires shatter gun pellets at him.

In his earpiece, he gets a message from Control about Killik swarms headed to the medical frigate. Luke knows she’s probing him through the Force, looking for fear or doubt. He focuses on the fight and not on his loved ones on the ship.

Luke slides across the corridor and grabs a section of destroyed YVH droid that comprises a pile Raynar is standing on. Sending the droid down the corridor to Lomi, who deflects it, giving Luke time to knock Raynar out.

Control advises again that swarms are opening fire on the medical frigate. Luke was expecting it this time. He knows she can call off the attack. But he doesn’t need her to. He tells her Bwua’tu knew she would attack the ship and nothing is on it but a few mouse droids. Mara and Jacen are on Coruscant.

She lunges at him, he steps inside the attack, sweeps his blade up and around, cutting her in four pieces. He almost expects her to vanish in smoke. Luke retrieves the two lightsabers and goes to grab Raynar, telling him it’s time to go home.


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A week later, the conference room aboard the Megador awaits the conference call from Aristocra Formbi for over an hour. Formbi finally appears and indicates they will not listen to any proposal that does not eliminate the Colony.

He is assured that Lomi Plo is dead, Raynar Thul is in custody and undergoing modification treatments designed to rid him of the link to the Killiks and Leia is fairly certain that Alema Rar was devoured by a predator on the planet’s surface. Cilghal has developed an agent based on the natural defenses of Woteba that has seeded the Killik worlds in a way that will keep the population manageable.

Formbi isn’t convinced by any of this. He would, however, like them to agree to come to the Ascendancy’s aid if the Killiks ever launch an unprovoked attack again.

Leia asks if Jagged Fel has been retrieved. Formbi knows it was the Millennium Falcon that shot him down. He indicates that Commander Fel has not been recovered yet, but his rescue beacon is transmitting. They’ve sent in a team to try to find him. He does refuse Jedi help.

When the conference is over, Saba takes Leia’s lightsaber off her belt and asks where she got the lightsaber. Leia says she built it over twenty years ago. Saba tells her it’s a terrible weapon unworthy of her skills. She shouldn’t carry it any more. She needs to build a replacement.

Luke thinks that means she’s graduated to a full Jedi Knight.

Pellaeon informs Luke that Omas wants a meeting of the Advisory Council upon their return. Han and Leia suspect the Chief of State was the one who betrayed their mission, but have no evidence. It probably isn’t even considered a crime.

Luke knows he probably wants to discuss the Jedi’s new role in the Alliance and he is happy to do so, but the Jedi will be withdrawing from the Advisory Council. Jedi serve, not govern. They’ve just seen how badly things turn out when Jedi run the state. He is going to establish a new Jedi Council to give advice only.

Pellaeon thinks that’s fine so long as Luke is at the head. He wonders what happens when Luke is unavailable. Luke doesn’t know the answer.


The End:

  • Let’s think about what Luke now knows about Anakin Skywalker. He knows his father was a slave on Tatooine who was freed before being trained as a Jedi by Obi-Wan Kenobi. He knows his father returned to Tatooine around the time that his mother died and that Anakin had had visions of her death. He knows his father reacted in rage when he failed to save his mother. (This is from Tatooine Ghost). He knows that those visions prompted him to believe that visions about his wife, Padme, dying in childbirth were fated. He knows that Anakin was determined to prevent his wife from dying and seemed to seek power that could protect her. That search for power likely propelled him to the Dark Side. So there is a precedent for a Jedi so desperate to save someone he loved that he sought out power that eventually corrupted him. What Luke does not realize is that Jacen is doing the exact same thing. He knows Jacen is hiding something personal. He just doesn’t know what it is because no one even suspects that he might be the father of his one-time girlfriend, Tenel Ka’s, baby daughter!

  • The fact that Luke is unaware of what is happening right underneath his nose is so significant because Jacen is becoming too powerful. He can hide himself in the Force and knows a number of dangerous Force techniques that could be devastating in the wrong hands. He subscribes to Vergere’s no-holds barred Force philosophy. He also has a history of tricking or manipulating those closest to him to get what he wants. But he’s allowed the benefit of the doubt because he is helping Ben become more confident in the Force. Luke Skywalker historically believes the best about people, but it’s astonishing that Mara would allow her love for her child to blind her to Jacen’s flaws. Second in command to Luke? Does she know what she’s contemplating?

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