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Legacy of the Force #2: "Bloodlines"

chapter discussion thread

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#1
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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Prologue:
 
Ten years after the Yuuzhan Vong war, Slave I pursues a prisoner named H’buk, an Atzerri glitterstim dealer who owes the Traders’ Coalition money.  H’buk offers Boba Fett double to call it off. 
 
H’buk just doesn’t understand a contract is a contract.
 
Technically, an old Firespray like Slave I shouldn’t be able to catch up, but Fett’s made so many modifications that the only original part of the ship is the pilot’s seat. 
 
He is rather disgusted at how these things always go.  Threatening to fire on him doesn’t work.  He grapples onto the fighter and starts pulling it in.  Offering to pay him millions doesn’t do anything.  When told the man has a beautiful daughter, Fett just gets mad at how they sometimes use their kids.
 
His father put him first.  All fathers should.  That really makes him want to kill the guy, but the contract specifies alive. 
 
When he delivers the bounty, the customer asks why he till does this.  Fett tells him that people still ask him.  Privately, he doesn’t really know why.  He’s headed back to Kamino to see his doctor.  On the way, he can’t help thinking of the daughter, Ailyn, he hasn’t seen in 50 years.  He wonders if she’s alive.
 
He won’t be long.  He thinks he’s dying.  If so, he’s going to find his daughter, decide who is going to be Mandalore when he’s gone and find a way to cheat death.
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  • Like all of Karen Traviss’s novels, each chapter begins with a quote.

 


#2
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 1:
 
Admiral Cha Niathal wonders how long they are going to go from one crisis to another now that they are on their third galaxy-wide war in 40 years. Omas is going to have to crack down on dissent before this gets worse.
 
16 days after the raid on Centerpoint Station, Ben Skywalker is in the reception area of the Chief of State’s office on Coruscant with his cousin, Jacen Solo. 
 
The holozines are boring and outdated, but one of them has Jacen on the cover.  The news shows clips of reports on the raid, but doesn’t mention Ben.  Just as well because they are Corellian sources and they are calling Jacen a traitor. 
 
It isn’t so nice about Uncle Han either, calling him a coward and a puppet for the Galactic Alliance.  Jacen isn’t happy about it because all of this is just pushing other worlds to Corellia’s side.
 
Ben thinks there will always be worlds like that.  The important thing is that they made people on this side feel safer.  Everyone will know Jacen is doing is best to stop a war.   It’s important to him that he not let his cousin down.  Jacen is a good teacher and Ben would much rather be known as Jacen Solo’s apprentice rather than the son of Luke and Mara Skywalker, the heir to the dynasty, so to speak.  It’s hard being the child of legends.
 
When Admiral Niathal leaves, Chief Omas welcomes both Jedi into his office.  Ben is glad to see that the Chief meets his eyes and doesn’t make tired comments about how tall he’s gotten. 
 
Jacen explains that crippling Centerpoint has only bought time.  It will be operational again at some point and they’ll be back at the starting point with an even more angry Corellia.  The time for preemptive action is now.  Corellia and its allies need to be discouraged before any real opposition develops.  Their shipyards need to be destroyed.
 
It seems Niathal is of the same mind.  If Omas gives Jacen command of a battle group, he will destroy the main shipyards and put an end to it now.  It will send the message that no one planet is bigger than the Alliance.
 
Omas tells him that he cannot get Senate backing to declare war and he knows how the Jedi Council feels about this.  Further, it’s likely to drive a wedge between Jacen and his father.  Jacen accepts that, as a Jedi, his decisions will not always make his family happy.  That’s why Jedi are trained to disregard their personal motivations.  He warns Omas that billions will die in the coming years if they fail to stamp out dissent now.
 
Omas remembers the Empire and doesn’t want to head a government that becomes like it.  Escalating military action will be what tips them over into war, not stop it.
 
On the way out, Ben notes that Omas and Uncle Han both remember the Empire.  If neither wants that, why are they are on opposite sides?  Jacen is glad Ben is perceptive.  The answers will come to them at some point.
 
They pass the protestors outside.  Ben tells Jacen he senses a threat, like a bad storm coming, but it’s a long way away.  Jacen tells him that there are billions of unhappy people who are ready to fight.  They need peace.  That’s the job of the Jedi.
 
Jacen assures him they will work together, but there are some things Ben will have to keep from his father.  Ben is happy to know that he has Jacen’s approval.  He really wants to ask what actually happened to Brisha and Nelani.  A soldier, though, understands there are some things he doesn’t need to know.
 
At Tipoca City, Dr. Beluine is one of the few who has seen Boba Fett without the helmet.  The city is now nowhere near the elegant place it had been when he was a boy, but Fett feels more at home here than on Coruscant. 
 
The doctor tells him he’s dying.  Fett knows this.  He’d rather know what he can do about it.  Beluine glances at Koa Ne, the current administrator, then tells Fett that there’s nothing that can be done.  He has a year or two at most.  His tissues are degenerating, there are tumors in his leg, his medication isn’t controlling his liver functions anymore.  It could relate to his background as a clone.
 
Fett decides that he’ll die when he’s good and ready.  When he is alone with Kao Ne, he demands to know where the data and Taun We is.  He’s told she’s left.  This surprises him as Taun We had always been loyal to her people and looked after him when he was a boy.  She was one of the few beings he’d actually liked.
 
It appears she’s run off, like Ko Sai, at the first sign of trouble.  Ko Sai’s original research had never been found, either.  It’s no point hunting Taun We now, but he should have gone after Ko Sai decades ago.  Kao Ne believes Ko Sai was found at some point.  As it was, the Kaminoans were able to continue cloning even if they’d lost the ability to control the aging process.
 
Boba has no idea who would sit on valuable information like that for so long.  Unfortunately it’s data he needs now and the trail is over 50 years cold.  She had to have gone somewhere and Taun We might know.
 
Part of him wonders if the Kaminoans ever think of Jango Fett as anything other than a clone template.  He’d never been happy about them using clones to defend this world against the army of the Empire.  One of Jango’s friends used to call them aiwha bait.
 
In the end, he cuts a deal with Kao Ne to bring back Taun We alive with her data.  He doesn’t even really need the credits.  Or the power.  As it is, he’s the head of a bunch of Mando’ade farmers and metal workers scraping a living on Mandalore.  At 71, he should have many more years left to him.
 
He leaves, looking out from the cockpit on an ocean world, remembering being a child flying with his father.  This had been where he’d been happiest and he had never been that happy since.
 
He hadn’t realized how much he’d missed Kamino.
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  • It would appear, then, that much of Betrayal took place over about 3 weeks.

  • Taun We had been the Chief Cloner in Attack of the Clones.

  • Ko Sai had been a Kaminoan geneticist who had been kidnapped by Kal Skirata’s gang to do research on how to slow their aging.  She committed suicide while in their custody, believing her research to have been destroyed.  It was Skirata who had called the Kaminoans aiwha bait.

 
 


#3
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 2:
 
In Jacen Solo’s private journal, he has deleted an entry where he questions whether or not he’s making the same mistake as his grandfather.  He doesn’t think he would have this doubt, if he were just motivated by ambition.  He can’t tell Jaina this but she will see it someday and, when she does, she must know that he loves her regardless.
 
In Corellian airspace, Han hates having to crawl home under a fake transponder signal.  Leia thinks he needs to learn to meditate.  Jacen has left three messages but his father isn’t calm enough to speak to him right now.
 
He might try speaking with Zekk about his intentions toward Jaina instead.  He liked Jagged Fel much better.  Even Kyp Durron.  Leia reminds him that Jagged was shot down. 
 
Han just can’t understand how he has suddenly become the villain here.  He doesn’t know why Jacen or Luke, for that matter, can’t see how the GA is becoming just like the Empire.  Leia offers to speak to Luke, but she pushes him to talk to Jacen.
 
They land and walk separately to the small apartment they’d rented.  They can walk the streets without being recognized.  When they approach the door, however, they find a message from someone named Gejjen warning Han that Sal-Solo has put out a contract on him in retaliation for what Jacen did at Centerpoint.
 
Leia remembers someone named Nov Gejjen who’d been an opponent of the Human League all those years ago, but he has to be dead by now.  She’ll look into it while Han calls Jacen.  He wishes life would be clear again.  He almost misses Boba Fett who never had personal axes to grind. 
 
He knows Thrackan will send Fett.
 
The mystery man never leaves Luke alone now.   He intrudes on his dreams as a vision in the Force. He can never see the man’s face, always waking up as he pulls the hood away.
 
There are messages.  See-Threepio reports Han and Leia are well but the Noghri are getting irritated at being kept out of the way.  He wonders if the droids might be needed elsewhere.
 
Luke reminds him that Han and Leia don’t need a conspicuous gold droid advertising their presence wherever they are.  He does not say Corellia.  The tensions within his family are already high over this issue and Jacen’s relationship with Ben doesn’t help.
 
Luke has grown increasingly concerned over how far Jacen is willing to go.  This mystery man could be someone threatening him or attempting to corrupt him. 
 
He admits his concerns about Ben to Mara who reminds him he wasn’t much older when he joined the Rebellion.  Luke points out he was 18, not 13.  She thinks he’ll be with Jacen taking care of him.  They aren’t going to agree on that.
 
Luke has never felt this way before.  Something about Jacen makes him uneasy and it’s hard to ignore.  Mara has sensed something different, but her theory is that Jacen is in love.
 
She sees Ben becoming someone who is comfortable using his powers.  They couldn’t help him, but Jacen did. 
 
Luke argues that Jacen is very loose with his abilities on top of projecting himself into the future.  That has to worry her.  He’d rather Ben not learn those kinds of things.  They don’t know what else Jacen learned while he was away.  Luke knows he’s changed.
 
This mystery man is a threat and Luke feels that the threat is against Jacen.  Ben could get caught up in that.  Mara points out that the future isn’t fixed.  Luke maintains that it is when Jacen is involved.  He wants another mentor for Ben.
 
She tells him he will alienate Ben just as he’s settling down.  If Jacen has explored some strange philosophies, that doesn’t make him more dangerous than either of them, especially since they both have been to the Dark Side and came back.
 
She accepts that Jacen’s powers are developing well beyond hers, but he’s good for Ben and would never harm him.
 
Luke takes a long time, trying to make the mystery man show himself, but it’s always elusive.  He cannot shake the feeling of familiarity.
 
Jacen reaches out to touch Tenel Ka in the Force, wishing she were here.  His baby, Allana, is four years old now.  She is bigger every time he sneaks a visit to see her.  He doesn’t even have a holo of her.
 
He has to protect this secret family, even from Lumiya.  The thing to do would be to speak with Anakin Skywalker who had also once stood on the threshold of being a Sith.  This isn’t something he can return from. 
 
For all he knows, Lumiya may have presented a one-sided version of history, but Jacen can sense that she’s not lying about the way of the Sith being a force for peace so long as he uses it selflessly. 
 
He wishes it wasn’t him.  If he could only speak with Anakin and ask if he felt the same doubt and reluctance before crossing the line.  After all, Anakin had a secret love, too.  Jacen has to be sure because his grandfather’s choice two generations ago had had terrible consequences.
 
In an airtaxi with Admiral Niathal, Jacen is asked how much time the raid on Centerpoint has given them.  He guesses about six months.  They both agree that this galaxy cannot handle another war. Jacen does mention his thoughts on a strike at the Corellian shipyards.
 
They also agree that the political climate will only go as far as a blockade that will tie up resources.  The subject is interrupted by Jacen’s sense of danger.  He uses the Force to put a bubble around the airtaxi which protects them from an explosion that brings several others down to the ground.
 
The pilot is sure this is the work of Corellians.  The idea of mindless terrorism hitting Coruscant feeds Jacen’s sense of outrage.   He cannot sense Lumiya’s hand in it, but it means nothing.  Events are conspiring faster than ever and he is needed to stop it.  Somebody has to.  It’s time to test Lumiya.
 
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  • It’s nice to know that Jacen isn’t buying Lumiya’s story lock-stock-and-barrel.

  • Let’s talk about the GA becoming just like the Empire:  Where have we seen that happening?  At the beginning of Betrayal, we were told that the Corellians want the benefits of GA membership without the obligations.  The negotiations with the Prime Minister seemed to confirm that.   Jacen’s raid on Centerpoint disabled it, but the GA task force sent to present a purely symbolic show of force ended up engaging Corellian ships that deliberately moved too closely to GA starfighters   So, fault for the start of the conflict is the Corellians.  According to Betrayal, the outcome should have still been fine save for the mentally-unstable Admiral Klauskin who attacked and occupied Tralus.  Since Lumiya seems to be adept at making people see those who aren’t there, I will assume she was responsible for that.  However, the GA knows that Klauskin is unstable and Luke knows that, too.  Not the GA’s fault.    The GA, not able to pull off of Tralus without looking weak, decided to agree to withdraw from Tralus as a concession at the conference.  The conference, as we know, was disrupted by assassins sent by Trackan Sal-Solo who was aided by Lumiya.  Again, nothing of this is the fault of the GA!  The Corellians attack the GA command center on Tralus.  Not the fault of the GA!  This is my issue:  Han Solo may not know about Lumiya, but he has blamed Thracken for just about everything that’s happened.  He should also know the events as they’ve happened.  So why is he comparing the GA to the Empire?  Nothing the GA has done during this entire crisis is even close to what the Empire would have done.

  • This conversation between Luke and Mara bothers me.  Luke clearly has reservations about the powers Jacen has, many of which Luke is not even aware of, of his willingness to use them as he wishes and how this may affect Ben.  He specifically points out Jacen’s blatant pushes into the future.  Luke should also be aware of Jacen’s ability to rub minds and alter memories.  I don’t think it’s unreasonable that he wants to protect his son.  But, Mara’s right in that Ben will pull away from them.  The time to have nipped that relationship in the bud was a long time ago.  It’s very nearly too late.

  • Even Jacen recognizes parallels to his and Anakin Skywalker’s story.  What he doesn’t realize is that Anakin, while groomed by Palpatine for years, never really had a lot of time to think about his decision.  In fact, that was the problem with Anakin’s fall.  He abruptly changed sides with little time to think about what he was being told.

 


#4
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 3:
 
A Mandalorian proverb says that family is more than bloodline.
 
Mara almost drops her cup and tells Luke that Jacen blinked out in the Force.  She comms Ben to find Jacen isn’t with him.  Turning on the HoloNet, they find that there’s been an explosion near the Senate.  They head to the Senate district where most are convinced this is the fault of the Corellians.  Chief Omas is with the CSF.  Officer Lon Shevu tells them it was a bomb placed in one of the hotels in a guest room. 
 
Luke asks what will happen if this is the fault of the Corellians.  Omas says they have to treat it as any other crime.  Jacen enters without any of the Jedi feeling it and translates for Omas that Luke means the unofficial response. 
 
Abruptly his presence in the Force erupts and Luke knows it’s an attempt to show how powerful he is.
 
Shevu explains the likely result is going to be the victimization of Corellians living here on Coruscant. 
 
On Taris, Boba Fett meets with Goran Beviin who rather misses the days they were frying Yuuzhan Vong.  He wants Fett to know that Thrackan Sal-Solo wants to take out a contract on the whole Solo family. 
 
Fett notes that he was always being asked to go after Solo.  That Thrackan didn’t ask him to do it means he thought Fett would be too expensive or find the task too boring.  He would be right.  Fett never had a feud with Solo, the man is irrelevant now anyway.  The past contracts were just business. 
 
Beviin does want him to know that Ailyn is back and seems interested in the contract.  Glad of his helmet, Fett can’t help but be elated.  His only child is alive.  Billions had died in the Vong war and it’s been that long since he’s heard of her.  She should be about 54 or so now.
 
Beviin goes on to say that she’s using the name Ailyn Habuur, instead of Ailyn Vel, but she’s got the Kiffar facial tattoo, flies the KDY assault ship and is around 50.  It’s probably her.  Fett’s daughter had killed a clone of him, then taken his armor and ship.   That was 20 years ago and he’d shrugged it off then.  Things have definitely changed.
 
He turns the subject to Ko Sai.  It was said that she was killed during the Battle of Kamino but most think she defected to the Separatists.  There is a story that she was sent back to Kamino a piece at a time.  This is bad news for Fett.  Whoever had done that was out for revenge.
 
He’s not certain what to do now.  His father had worked hard to make him self-reliant, but he’s also the Mandalore and has a responsibility to a hundred warriors.    Beviin asks him if he still doesn’t speak Mando’a, suggesting he do a little less business and a little more Mandalore.
 
Fett does a little more digging on the Interstellar Stock Exchange and finds a biotech company called AruMed that has sold a huge block of shares in the last week.  He finds the headquarters on Roonadan.  He also finds a Rothana-based company called ConCare which focuses on drugs for the aged.  Rothana isn’t far from Kamino so he will check it out, too. 
 
After buying a number of shares in a company that specializes in battlefield dressings, he is approached by a girl who shows him the heart-of-fire gemstone he’d given Sintas Vel whom he’d married when he was 16. 
 
It had only lasted three years, ending before Ailyn was two.  Sintas has never returned from a bounty when Ailyn was 16.  Which is why Ailyn wanted him dead.  The girl tells him she got it from the man who killed his wife.  She’s trying to find his daughter who owes her and she knows where she is.
 
In a tapcaf in Coronet City, the Solos and the other patrons watch the news from Coronet.  Several customers agree that Corellians fight clean and would never do that.  Han wonders if GA Special Ops was responsible, but knows Luke would never let them get away with that.
 
Dur Gejjen chooses that moment to approach them.  Nov was his father.  He explains that he found them through the large amount of currency they secured the apartment with.  CorSec’s attention was attracted, but not all of them work for Thrackan.  In fact, some would be happy to get rid of him.
 
They change locations as Gejjen tells them that Thrackan has put out a contract on the whole family and is close to getting loads of Corellians killed in a war.  He is hoping Han would be willing to take Thrackan’s place if he’s removed.  Han refuses because Corellians need to be united against the GA. He’s better with a blaster than an office.
 
Leia knows Han thinks Fett is coming after them.  Han reminds her that business is business with him.  Thrackan has never gone this far before.  Han wants to kill him. Leia tells him he’s not going to hire Fett to kill Thrackan.
 
The HoloNet reports that Thrackan has declared the Solo family enemies of the state.  The picture is about 20 years out of date, but Han and Leia slip out anyway.  He plans to grow a beard and suggests Leia do something with her hair. Leia tells him the Aurra Sing look is so her.
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  • Aurra Sing was last seen in Coruscant Nights falling into that big huge thingamabob on Coruscant.  That was decades ago.  Would Leia even know what her hair looked like?

 


#5
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 4:
 
The HoloNet news reports the Corellian Sanctuary on Coruscant has been desecrated.
 
The girl’s name is Mirta Gev, a bounty hunter specializing in object recovery.  She thinks Ailyn would like the necklace as it’s all she has left of her mother. Fett remembers that he only had his father’s armor and ship left.  His father certainly hadn’t abandoned his family the way he had.    
 
The pain of that loss is no dimmer now that it had been 60 years ago.  He’d give almost anything for a few more minutes with him. He asks Mirta why she cares if he finds a daughter he hasn’t seen in over 50 years.  She tells him she’s hoping he’ll pay her for the necklace.
 
He will if she takes him to Ailyn and provides proof that’s who she is.  Of course, he could just find Han Solo and wait for her to show up, but offers her transport anyway so she won’t skip out on him. 
 
Omas tells Mara that he believes they need a separate wing of the Defense Force to concentrate on domestic security.  Jacen is there and Luke.  The tension is there.  It saddens Jacen that there’s a conflict between them.  It’s one reason why Jedi weren’t supposed to have loved ones.  Jedi, not Sith.  He tries to shake off indecision.  At least, his doubts prove to him that he is doing this for the right reasons.
 
Omas would like Mara to head this division. She’s not comfortable heading up what amounts as a secret police.  Omas warns her that they have to move fast before terrorist networks develop.  The World Brain has already told Jacen they are on the move.
 
Luke and Mara take off.  Jacen confers with the Chief and the Head of the Intelligence Council, G’vli G’Sil about the security measures that citizens will just have to get used to.  He has Ben down at the bombing site trying to get a sense of what happened there.
 
This will give Jacen the time he needs to make a decision about Lumiya.  He heads back to the Jedi Temple, a largely modern structure with elements that have been retained from the old.  The council chambers are an exact replica of the old one, reminding Jacen how the Jedi Order clings to the status quo and will not embrace change.
 
He wonders how Luke got talked into this.  It’s like he’s walking back in time.  He can see a Jedi flanked by armored troopers, lightsaber in hand.  He can feel the sense of dread that something terrible was about to happen.  There is a sense of desperate loss.  Jacen knows this is about Padme and realizes that this fall was caused by agonized love.  It’s so different from what Jacen feels…it’s so selfish.
 
He wants to tell his grandfather how his actions are going too far, but he cannot influence the past.  He watches as children are cut down for the love of one woman.  He isn’t sure he could go that far for his own wife.  Understanding now that he is not his grandfather, he is relieved because he was obviously meant to see this. 
 
He is older and more experienced than Anakin Skywalker had been.  He can handle this better, without doing another’s bidding.  This is a duty and is certain of it now.  All that’s left is to test Lumiya to make sure she can do as she promised or is just exploiting him.
 
In meditation in the re-created Room of a Thousand Fountains, he bids her to come to him.
 
At the Corellian Sanctuary, Ben finds three men scrubbing the red paint off the walls.  He asks if he can see inside as his uncle is Corellian.  Inside, an old man shows him the black ceiling with diamonds studding it.  Corellians who die away from their homeworld are cremated, the ashes compressed into diamonds which are put on the ceiling to reflect the sky as seen from Corellia. 
 
Some of the diamonds were removed by the vandals.
 
A young man named Barit Saiy, who looks about 18, asks him whose side he’s on.  Ben tells him Jedi don’t take sides.  Barit thinks everyone will be soon.  His grandfather thinks this is just like the Empire all over again.  Barit was born on Coruscant and has lived here all his life.  He’s never even been to Corellia.  Ben cannot understand this us versus them mentality under those circumstances.
 
The news reports say the bomb that exploded went off in the room of a Corellian here on business.  Barit thinks that’s just a cover up by the government which planted the bomb itself to have an excuse to attack Corellia. 
 
Having sabotaged Centerpoint weeks ago, Ben can’t rely deny that the GA plays dirty tricks.  He asks what the other Corellians think. Barit tells him that there are plenty here who feel the same way.  Why go back to Corellia, though, when they can fight better here?
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#6
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

    They call me MRS. Six!

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chapter 5:
 
Ailyn Habuur demands 500, 000 credits each for Han and Jacen Solo.  The others will be extra.  She remembers the Solo kids but she doesn’t think they’ll recognize her again.
 
Han goes to work on the Falcon in the dark.  There are plenty of ships like this here so he isn’t too worried about being tracked down.  While working, he focuses on the Thrackan problem.
 
Blasterfire misses him.  Han knows it’s not Fett for that reason.  A voice calls for him to come out.  Han refuses and fires back.  Leia’s lightsaber takes care of the rest.   They decide to head for Coruscant for spare parts.  He plans to be ready for Thrackan when it’s time.
 
On the approach to Coruscant, Han arranges for a berth.  The landing strip ahead, the ship shivers.  Leia tells him not to say he’s got a bad feeling.  She does.
 
Jacen finds Ben sitting on a bench.  His cousin has been wearing a small braid in his hair.  Jacen asks if he’s having a bad hair day.  Ben tells him he thought he should grow it and asks if it looks stupid.  Jacen doesn’t mind, but he’s not really an apprentice so he doesn’t have to wear it if he doesn’t want to.  Ben does.
 
He tells Ben they are waiting for a woman named Shira who is going to give them a military threat analysis.  He asks about the locations he visited.  Ben didn’t find much at the bomb site, but the Corellian Sanctuary bothered him.  There were Corellians cleaning that place who really seemed to hate Coruscant, even though they live here.  They were even taking about fighting here.  It may have just been bravado as one of them was only a little older than Ben. 
 
He notes that it’s always something small that starts wars, but they tip the situation into chaos.  Chaos is the real enemy.  Jacen is proud of Ben’s perception.  This is even a Sith sentiment.  Ben would make a good apprentice.
 
When he senses Lumiya nearby, he opens his presence.  They greet each other and Jacen believes they sould go to the Jedi Temple.  Ben asks if he can visit Fleet Ops as he was invited by Admiral Niathal.
 
Jacen and Lumiya head off together.  He has thought about what she has said and would like to take her up on the offer.  He hopes she can suppress her dark energy.  She knows he’s testing her.  Jacen admits he needs to know how safe it is to have her near him.  If she can pass through the Jedi Temple unnoticed, it’s a good indication that she won’t be a problem.
 
He walks her through areas where visitors are allowed, into the Room of a Thousand Fountains where the few meditating Jedi in there don’t notice a thing.  His real goal is to get her in his uncle’s presence.  Jacen tells her he wants her to stay on Coruscant and discuss how his future instruction will go.
 
He asks if she arranged for the bombing.  While convenient, Lumiya explains that she doesn’t need to create chaos when so many are willing to do it for her. 
 
At a time when he knows the high council meeting will be ending, he leads her to the main lobby.  Worrying that Luke might sense her, he cloaks her in a Force illusion as Luke approaches.
 
He seems to look like he can sense something is wrong but isn’t sure where it is.  He greets Jacen and the unintroduced woman next to him.  He is off to see Chief Omas and leaves quickly.
 
Lumiya assures him that her issues with Luke are long over and he didn’t have to shroud her.  She doesn’t see the Jedi as the enemy.  They are just people with half the picture who believe they have all the facts. 
 
He watches her walk away, then is startled by a a ripple in the Force.  His mother is in trouble.
 
Ben did go to see Fleet Ops, but it didn’t take as long as he thought.  He is wandering Coruscant now in one of the Corellian neighborhoods.  A CSF assault ship is above, giving out instructions not to use the water supply as contamination has been found in it. 
 
A woman in a tapcaf tells him someone put toxic chemicals in the water supply and ten pumping stations have been shut down.  Half of the central part of the city can’t get water.  The dicussions here range from those afraid the Corellians will be blamed for it to those who are glad the government got what was coming to it. 
 
Ben tries to comm. Jacen but gets only a message service.  His danger sense is building, so he gets in a taxi to get to the Senate District.  The driver won’t go to the center because there’s a riot going on there.  He will take Ben as close as he can, though. 
 
A mob is in front of the Corellian embassy which is being hit by missles  He knows that his sabotage of Centerpoint started all of this.  CSF heads into the crowd to break it up.  The mob has a life of its own, though, and the CSF has to resort to dispersal gas. 
 
When an officer pulls Ben off the street to get him out of harm’s way, Ben sees Barit Saiy aiming a blaster at him.  He uses his lightsaber to deflect the bolt.  Besides saving the man’s life, he also prevented a bad situation from becoming a disastrous one.
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Regarding Ben’s braid.  Jacen specifically says that Ben is not an apprentice, so he doesn’t have to wear the braid if he doesn’t want to.  Do Jedi apprentices in Luke’s New Jedi Order wear the braid then as the Jedi apprentices of old did?  We really haven’t seen that happening.

 
 


#7
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chapter 6:
 
A Corellian proverb says that the bigger the galaxy, the sweeter the homecoming.
 
Jacen uses a Theran technique that lets him hear remotely through the Force.  He can hear his parents’ voices. He visualizes the ship and can feel Leia trying to use telekinesis.  He can also feel Jaina on the way.  He sensor alarm indicates the hull has been breached.  His father says the drive is shaking loose.
 
Jacen knows Leia is trying to stop the cracks in the drive from spreading and ripping the Falcon apart.  He uses the Force to augment her abilities until the ship can land safely.  He moves swiftly to get to the landing strip.  Attachments do have their place in his life, so he has no problem rushing to his parents’ side.  Sooner or later, a permanent rift may have to be the price he pays for a safe galaxy.
 
Fett doesn’t carry passengers normally, but Mirta Gev has a piece of his past.  She also seems to have a quiet toughness that he admires far more than someone with a big mouth and a blaster to match.  He doesn’t like most people, but he doesn’t dislike her.
 
They land on Roonadan.  He leaves her on the ship, goes to a store and is measured for a suit that will fit over his armor.  Then he heads out on the street for the first time in his adult life without his helmet.
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#8
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chapter 7:
 
Cal Omas tells Luke and Admiral Niathal that it’s very tempting to expose the secret assault fleet Corellia is building in the Kiris cluster, but they’re going to sit on it and hope they can persuade the planet to disarm before the fleet shows up on Coruscant.
 
Leia urges Han to show gratitude when meeting with Jacen.  Han doesn’t need to be told this.  He grabs Jacen and hugs him.  Jacen tells him not to scare him like that again.  He knows that his actions on Centerpoint provoked Thrackan and he feels responsible for their safety.
 
He’d like them to come back to his apartment as Thrackan probably has theirs staked out.  Jaina approaches them in an orange pilot’s uniform.  Han asks why she didn’t tell them she was going back to active service.
 
Jaina squeezes her parents’ hands and just nods at Jacen.  She offers her help repairing the ship, but she’s a fighter pilot and is doing her job.  Han can’t believe she really thinks the GA is right about this.  Jaina reminds him it doesn’t matter.  Being in the service means doing her job regardless of her personal views.
 
He knows this, but it breaks his heart to see her risk her life for a regime headed back to the days of galactic totalitarianism.  She kisses her parents’ good-bye, but turns to Jacen and tells him he doesn’t feel right to her lately.  She wonders if he’s in trouble.
 
Luke is in the lobby of Jacen’s apartment building, knowing Ben will come back here sooner or later.  He knows something has happened to his son.  Since Jacen has disappeared from the Force again, Luke and Mara have come here. 
 
When Ben appears with swollen eyes and a runny nose, Mara grabs him.  He tells them he got a whiff of riot gas.  They drag him to the turbolift as he explains he doesn’t know where Jacen is, but, since it’s Jacen’s apartment, he should ask his cousin if it’s okay to go inside.
 
Luke reminds Ben it’s his home, too.  He thinks about how Jacen is controlling Ben, a boy who doesn’t even obey his mother when his own life is at risk.  Jacen’s influence is bothering Luke who has to try to guess if it’s darkness or he’s just jealous of his nephew’s relationship with Ben.
 
Remembering there is no water, Luke pulls it out of the conservator to wash Ben’s face.  Ben assures him that this is not Jacen’s fault.   When things calm down, they sit in the living room.  The seriousness on his son’s face makes Luke wonder if maybe Mara is right.  He really doesn’t have any evidence Jacen is doing anything wrong.  In fact, Ben is doing much better than he was at home.
 
But something tells him something is wrong.
 
Han and Leia walk in with Jacen.  Luke sees Han’s face and tells Jacen that they made Ben let them in.  Jacen tells him that the Falcon nearly crash-landed after they escaped an assassination attempt on Han.
 
Luke urges them to stay on Coruscant where it’s safer, but Han won’t budge.  He’s Corellian and won’t stand by while the GA plays Empire-building.  Luke tells him that he thinks Han is just playing Thrackan’s game by falling back on Corellian independence.  Han points out Luke has been happy in the past for his sense of individuality.  The GA uses the Jedi just like the New Republic did. It’s like the Jedi Order is a rubber stamp for legitimizing whoever is in power. 
 
Leia tells them to cut it out.  Luke offers a hand, but Han won’t take it, stalking out instead.
 
Jacen points out that with the attacks, his father is already bent out of shape, but he’s upset about his ship and about Jaina, too.  They briefly discuss how Jacen projected the Force to help his mother with Luke acknowledging his nephew developing a great many powers lately. 
 
When Jacen turns, Luke catches a familiar touch in his mind.  He knows who it is.  The mystery man isn’t a man, but Lumiya, the one called Shira Brie.  He knows she’s here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Cal Omas’s quote at the beginning underlines the idea for me that the GA is not in the process of Empire-building, as they keep being accused of.  I keep saying it, but I have seen nothing, so far, that would indicate that the GA is forcing its will on anyone.

  • Ben lives with Jacen???  I brushed off an earlier passage in another chapter about Ben being asleep in Jacen’s apartment, assuming that Ben was just spending the night.  But he lives there?  Why?  Ben is not an apprentice.  We keep being told that.  Sure, Jacen is his mentor, but I’ve not seen any example of a Jedi student living with anyone other than their parents when they are not at the Academy.  No wonder Luke is worried about Jacen’s influence on his son!

  • Didn’t Han notice Jaina flying in the attack on Tralus?  Why is he just now figuring out she’s back to active duty?

 
 


#9
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chapter 8:
 
The Holonet reports that Corellian militants have claimed responsibility for the contaminated water which has killed 456 beings and left over 5000 with nerve damage.  The riots have resulted in an increased presence of the CSF.
 
Chief Omas gives an interview on the HoloNet, holding a clear glass in his hand, drinking water and assuring the population of the Coruscant that the supply is safe.  Security forces are taking every possible action, though many are criticizing Omas for not going far enough.  Some are calling for the internment of Corellians living here on Coruscant.  Omas thinks that’s a big step considering they’re not at war.
 
Jacen watches the interview and bristles at the very thought of his father being confined.  Afterwards, in Omas’s office, he speaks with the Chief of State and Senator G’sil of the Security & Intelligence Council. 
 
Since Mara isn’t willing to take on a security role, Omas thinks that Jacen would do a good job of filling the gap between the army and the CSF.  They aren’t asking him as a Jedi.  If he accepts, he will be given the rank of colonel.
 
Jacen knows the Jedi Council will not like it, but accepts on the condition that he can put together his own team that’s visibly separate from the CSF.  They can’t have civilian police raiding homes and rounding up residents.  G’Sil agrees that the ordinary citizens have to know that they have nothing to fear if they are obeying the law.
 
G’Sil doesn’t mince words here.  He knows they are talking about internment which will require a vote by the S&I Council.  Jacen wants to recruit Captain Shevu and a team of his choosing.  He also wants a company of special forces troops and access to data from Alliance Intelligence.  Omas is uneasy with all of these changes as they are a huge step toward martial law.  Where Coruscant goes, the rest of the GA is likely to go also.  He needs full support for this measure.
 
G’Sil is sure he can pull this off.  Omas will have to convince Pellaeon and the CSF of the necessity.  Jacen knows CSF will go for it, but Pellaeon will not.  This will pave the wave for the hardliner, Admiral Niathal, to step in.  Jacen will then have to prove to the GA population that he can impose order on chaos and for the good of the people.
 
On Roonadan, Boba Fett walks into a bar in an upscale neighborhood near AruMed and talks to the bartender about Kaminoans.  He learns enough from him and other customers to know that they’ve seen some.  He learns some were poached from SanTech and one went to Arkanian Micro.
 
He heads back to the ship to tell Mirta they’re going to Vohai.  She tells him she knows he’s a clone.  It doesn’t bother her, but she did see one of his brothers about a year ago.  He is certain she’s wrong, but she is very clear that the clone claimed to have fought at Geonosis.
 
Fett knows that the clones bred to serve in the Grand Army of the Republic would have died ages ago due to their rapid aging.  If some survived, they either found Ko Sai’s anti-aging research or they were unaltered.  Mirta tells him that the clone said his name was Skirata.  In his memory, Fett remembers a tough, fanatical training sergeant his father recruited by that name.  Mirta goes on to mention that the clone said he and several of his brother’s deserted once Palpatine came to power.
 
If she knew how interested he was in this information, she’d make him pay for it.  For now, she is valuable, not just for what she may know about his dead wife but what she might have on his living brothers.
 
Admiral Pellaeon resigns after privately expressing his concerns about this Galactic Alliance Guard.  No one really pushed the matter.  The Jedi Council meets with Admiral Niathal.
 
Jacen wonders if Lumiya pushed things from the shadows, but she denies it.  She tells him he’s more like his grandfather than he thinks.  Jacen has seen the steps Anakin Skywalker took and is determined that he will do things differently.  He’d like Ben as his apprentice. 
 
She points out his position with the Galactic Alliance Guard and his rapport with Admiral Niathal could result in a military solution for the Corellian problem.  Jacen would rather handle security here first.
 
His mind goes back to why the Jedi Council didn’t give Anakin Skywalker the guidance he’d needed.  If they knew he was the Chosen One, why hadn’t one of the Masters trained him instead of leaving him to poor Obi-Wan?
 
The Council leaves Niathal’s office, providing Jacen with another chance to see if Luke reacts to Lumiya.  Luke wonders if Jacen is sure his decision is the right one.  Jacen thinks someone has to do it, but Luke isn’t sure anyone should.  If this is what Jacen had decided, he should be careful how he does it.
 
Lumiya notes how Jacen dosen’t have any doubts about deceiving his uncle.  Jacen admits he’s not happy about it.  As it happens, the GAG will be confining Corellians until the terror is contained.  He offers to introduce her to Admiral Niathal who will be the next Chief of State within a year. 
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Well, Chief Omas certainly decided to change his mind quickly on the idea of internment of Corellians, didn’t he?

  • Arkanian Micro was mentioned in Republic Commando: True Colors and Republic Commando: Order 66

  • And this, of course, the first reference to Kal Skirata since Imperial Commando: 501st, taking place approximately 58 years ago.  If the clone Mirta met is really one of the ones who defected with him, it’s likely one of the clones we knew from the Republic Commando series.  The fact that the clone is alive would indicate that they solved the issue of the aging process.

  • *chuckle.  Jacen thinks he’ll be a different Sith from Anakin.  How cute.  And arrogant.  This belief that only he can do the job and that he will be successful where Anakin was not is exactly why he shouldn’t be doing this.  And why does he need to know why the Jedi Council give him a better Master?  Jacen is very fortunate to have had access to detailed information about his grandfather’s fall to the Dark Side and he still wants more!

 


#10
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chapter 9:
 
Ben goes to Barit again to try to understand why he tried to shoot an officer who hadn’t done anything to him personally and who was trying to calm the riot.  Barit’s explanations for this or why he stays on Coruscant when he clearly feels unwanted are not satisfying.  Ben leaves more confused than ever.
 
An entire Corellian neighborhood is blocked off.  Captain Shevu has put together a team of all Coruscant-born human officers with no other loyalties.  The team pulls people out of their homes, checks identies, searches for contraband.  Behind a door that Ben senses danger, Jacen uses the Force to disable the three persons inside with a jolt to their spinal cords rather than have the GAG use gas.
 
The HoloNet news arrives.  Ben asks if his father is going to see this.  Jacen is sure he will, but that Ben should only look to himself for approval.  He asks if Ben is ashamed of anything he’s done.  Ben answers he’s only ashamed of things he hasn’t done, such as telling Jacen about someone who tried to shoot a CSF officer.
 
Jacen gets confirmation that the raid is going well.  The Council won’t like seeing lightsabers involved in rounding up citizens.  He wonders how his grandfather dealt with the transition from being loved to loathed.  He could answer it by Flow-Walking, but has no idea when that happened.
 
Han is preparing to leave for Corellia on his own when Leia calls his attention to the news. They watch Jacen lead a group of officers in arresting Corellians.  Han can’t help but feel betrayed by his own son.  They will be even less welcome on Corellia than before.
 
He has Threepio bring the Falcon over however way he can.
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------
 


#11
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chapter 10:
 
Cilghal notes that it’s shocking enough to see a Jedi use his lightsaber against civilians, but even worse for those Jedi to be the son and nephew of the head of the Jedi council.
 
Boba Fett spies on the security at Arkanian Micro.  Mirta thinks she can be helpful here as women often get access to places that men can’t.  She’s still on Slave I where he’s got her locked in.  Boba Fett trusted no one since his father.
 
He looks through the department listing until he finds where Taun We probably worked: Developmental Sciences and Education.
 
Jacen finds Mara standing outside the GAG briefing room looking more under control than anything else.  She asks him when he started wearing a uniform.  Luke is going crazy and there are emergency meetings going on right now.
 
Ben is in the briefing room right now and is fine.  His team is going to work on how to do things differently next time.  She notices there’s going to be a next time.  Jacen reminds her she turned down the job and asks what she expected. Mara tells him she expected it would be messy. 
 
In the briefing room, she finds Ben in black camoflages, drinking caf and looking like an adult.  She asks how he is and he calls her, “ma’am”.  The news shows snippets from the raid, as well public reaction segments in which Jacen is often lauded for his actions.
 
Jacen asks if she’s still happy for him to be training Ben.  Mara admits she should have known this would happen when Ben was trained as a Jedi.  It’s hard to accept that her son has turned into a soldier overnight.
 
Jacen knows this still bothers her.  Mara asks if there’s someone in his life who is causing him pain, like a woman.  Jacen has tried not to think of Tenel Ka or Allana these days in case Lumiya senses his secret.
 
He admits there’s someone he wishes to be with but can’t.  That’s all Mara needs to hear and she promises not to mention it again.  She offers him any help she can before she leaves.
 
Corporal Lekauf approaches him and tells him how he’d like to see some unity, too.  Jacen asks about his service.  Lekauf admits he joined the army because his grandfather served under Jacen’s grandfather.  It always meant a lot to Lekauf’s grandfather how Lord Vader put himself on the front line.
 
Jacen is moved that there are still those who recognized Anakin Skywalker’s abilities as a commander.  He is not repeating the mistakes, he’s just building on missed opportunities.
 
Dur Gejjen isn’t happy to see the Solos again.  They already know what their son is up to.  Gejjen appreciates how hard it is, but is glad Han is putting his homeworld first.  Gejjen represents the Democratic Alliance party of Corellia and they are not eager for Thrackan to gain from this, either.
 
Han plans to deal with Thrackan himself.  Gejjen gives him floor plans to government buildings to help him.  Leia asks if Gejjen’s part is in a position to form an emergency government if Sal-Solo is removed from power.
 
Gejjen can form a coalition with the Corellian Liberal Front and the Centerpoint Party. 
 
On the way back, Han and Leia talk about whether this is the right thing to do.  As far as defending himself against Thrackan, Leia considers that justifiable.  She does tell him that she and the kids can take care of themselves.  However, coups are a different story.
 
They register at a rental agency, just one of the first line of Corellians fleeing Coruscant.
 
The Corellian senator berates Chief Omas about the violation of human rights on Corsucant without even consulting the Senate.  He threatens to withdraw their ambassador.  Omas reminds him that protecting Coruscant citizens is within his mandate and doesn’t require Senate sanction. 
 
Jacen asks Niathal how she feels about the idea of a blockade now.  She thinks that it’s the only thing she can persuade the Senate to do.  G’Sil meets them in the cabinet room with Omas.  Half of the internees have Corellian passports so they’re being housed in old barracks.  The rest were sent home.  He’s interested in knowing how far they’re going with this because there are a lot of Corellians here and they will need a lot of resources to hold them. 
 
Omas is becoming uneasy about all this, thinking that the HoloNet images reminded him too much of Imperial excesses.  Niathal reminds him that he authorized this.
 
Jacen tells him that they’re doing the same as the terrorists without the loss of life.  This reassures the public and it sends a statement that killing and maiming civilians won’t be tolerated. 
 
Omas knows he can’t take on both Jacen and Niathal without looking weak to G’Sil, so he tells them he wants a schedule of their next operations in advance.  G’Sil is sorry that the HoloNet missed a great speech there.
 
Jacen tells him he’s sincere in his beliefs that they can prevent another war.  The trouble with G’Sil is that he thinks politically.  Jacen never wanted to take on the Jedi Council, but nobody here can see anything that is beyond their own personal ambition. 
 
Niathal asks him if they’re aiming for the same job.  Jacen admits she’d make a fine Chief of State.  He wouldn’t.  The unspoken deal is struck there.  She asks if he would want to be on the Jedi Council. 
 
Jacen knows she’s seeing him as a rival for Luke.  He explains he only wants the citizens of the Galactic Alliance to be able to live their lives knowing that the galaxy is run by a stable government.  He wants to see the power struggles stop.
 
Most of all, Jacen knows he wants a galaxy that’s safe for Tenel Ka and Allana.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Let me get this straight.  Mara finds her 13-year old son in black camo, emulating the soldiers around him and she’s okay with that because Jacen confirms he’s got girl problems?  Really?  And since when did Jedi equal Soldier?  I know the Jedi grow up fast and that Jedi students are often involved in difficult assignments, but Ben isn’t even an apprentice! 

  • Corporal LeKauf’s grandfather obviously never had to give Darth Vader bad news, did he?  I can understand the grandfather respecting how Vader led troops into battle, but Vader had a reputation for wasting the manpower under his command and arbitrarily executing troopers and officers.  I can’t imagine that engendering respect from anyone, regardless of his willingness to risk his own life.  At first, I thought gramps might have served with Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars, but LeKauf specifically called him Lord Vader. 

 


#12
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chapter 11:
 
The HoloNet news reports that Chief Omas has enacted emergency procedures.  Corellian citizens with passports will have to either go back to Corellia or be interred.  Several planets have condemned this move.  The Galactic Alliance Guard has also raided homes, arresting 13 people with explosives and weapons.
 
Fett uses his jet pack to blast over the fence at Arkanian Micro, crawls over the roof until he reaches the labs and finds Taun We.  She knows it’s him, having cloned a new leg for him a few years ago.
 
He explains his many health problems.  She looks over the data and is sorry to say that she cannot do anything for him.  Fett wants her data anyway to compensate him for his time.  She reminds him it will ruin Arkanian Micro and her.  She asks if he feels no compassion for her.
 
Boba doesn’t.  Not anymore.
 
He does, however, offer not to sell the data if she can tell him what happened to Ko Sai.  She explains that Ko Sai defected to the Separatists when she feared the cloning program would be destroyed.  Taun We doesn’t know where she went after that.
 
However, she was tracked by clone intelligence units led by one of Jango’s commando instructors.  The Mandalorians killed her.  Her body parts were sent back to Kamino in packages.  Taun We can only assume that the commandos kept her data.  Ko Sai was an expert in the aging process.  Taun We speculates that some might find that data valuable.
In fact, she strongly suspects that the aggressive little human, Kal Skirata, was responsible.
 
Fett remembers him, nearly being taught Mando’a by those crazy Null ARC troopers who answered only to Skirata and disappeared when the war ended.  He knows how it went down.  Skirata lived for those clones and would have wanted them to live out ordinary lives.  He would have sought Ko Sai’s data.  If one of those clones is alive today, it means they found what they needed.
 
It’s hope.  He will find them. 
 
Taun We offers to pay for the data if he finds it.  He doesn’t seem interested, so she asks what his legacy will be.  Even if he finds the data and it saves his life, the idea of his legacy was important to Jango.  He didn’t want a son, but an apprentice, to carry on Jaster Mereel’s legacy.  That’s what he told Count Dooku anyway.
 
Fett knows his father looked on Jaster Mereel and wanted to live up to him.  Making sure Mandalorians survived was important.  Fett will carry on that pledge.  Beviin had a point.
 
Fett heads out the way he came.  He’s been someone’s son for 70 years.  Now he’s more than that.  It doesn’t mean he loves his father less, but he can’t spend the rest of his life looking back.  His purpose in life is ahead of him.
 
He can find Ailyn anytime because he can find Solo.  For now, he’s going to track that clone.  He asks Mirta where they should head next.  She suggests Coruscant.  Noting that she can fight and cook, Mirta goes back to make dinner while Fett gets a call from Thrackan Sal-Solo who has a proposal for him.
 
At Centax 2, Luke and Jaina participate in a live-fire exercise with their X-Wings.  Afterwards, they sit in the mess and watch the news. Luke doesn’t understand how he ever let Jacen do this to his son.
 
Jaina is stricken.  Most in the room don’t recognize her or Luke.  To that end, there is all kind of talk.  One officer jokes that Jacen is just like his grandfather, wondering when he’s going to get a black cloak and helmet, outfitting his troopers in white.
 
Jaina explodes, using the Force to push the officer back.  Luke shoves in front of her.  She gets an apology from the officer and those who laughed, but she acknowledges she should have been less assertive.  Luke knows that this hurts because everyone’s saying it.
 
Luke takes a walk with her.  They both admit that they don’t know what’s happening to Jacen, but Jaina doesn’t think she knows him anymore.  There’s something dark about him.  He shuts her out, he’s manipulated her in the past and she doesn’t trust him.  Luke agrees.  Mara may think this is just a love affair issue, but Luke knows it’s something else.  He doesn’t want his son around Jacen anymore.
 
Lumiya must be the mystery figure, but Jacen’s problems began a long time ago.  It is hard to admit he has been deceived.  Luke knows he’s turning to the Dark Side.  Jaina tells him that she recommends getting Ben a new teacher.  Luke agrees with that, too, knowing he will get a fight from both son and wife.
 
In the lower levels of Coruscant, Ben walks through the underworld for the first time.  LeKauf accompanies him, telling him that there’s no HoloNet here and they can just clear the place out.  Ben notes that this isn’t a Corellian neighborhood.  LeKauf points out that not all threats are Corellian either.  Captain Sheu is up front, Sgt. Witur is nearby.  The CSF is calling the 967 Commando Unit of the GAG, “stormies”.  Ben really isn’t comfortable with these parallels to his grandfather’s time and doesn’t understand how that all went so badly so quickly.
 
They are told there are three Corellians and a bounty hunter here: Cotin, Abadaner, Bolf and Habuur.  Colonel Solo is covering the rear with two squadrons.
 
They try the easy way first.  When blasterfire is the only reponse to their order to come out, the unit responds with a grenade launch.  The raid moves quietly inside, Ben feeling guilty when he hears the wail of a child nearby.  They get two of the targets and use Ben to sense the other two through the Force.
 
Jacen uses what is now known as REBJ – Rapid Entry By Jedi – to blow the door open and snatch the weapons.  A woman about the age of Ben’s mother is slammed against the wall.  A man lay slumped in a chair.  They are arrested.
 
Jacen asks Ben about the person he was going to report.  Ben remembers Barit, knows he didn’t kill anyone, but he might try again and succeed.  He isn’t here to be liked.  Jacen needs him to be loyal.  Ben tells him the family name.
 
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 


#13
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chapter 12:
 
Mirta Gev’s transmission to Ailyn Habuur tells her she is returning to Coruscant, but hasn’t received any of her replies.  She wants the rendezvous point confirmed.  She has the heart-of-fire.  The message is intercepted by the GAG which passes it on to Colonel Solo.
 
Jacen Solo turns on the HoloNet every morning now.  Today, Thrackan Sal-Solo announced that Centerpoint Station was being restored to operational status.  Jacen is sure this will persuade the Alliance to blockade Corellia.
 
Admiral Niathal tells him and Chief Omas it will take two fleets to do that.  She wants Omas for permission to move two from the Outer Rim.  Omas needs authority from the Senate first and it must be an emergency motion. 
 
Afterwards, Niathal sends a secure link to recall the two fleets anyway.  She has the authority to move assets already committed.  There will be two exclusion zones.  One to stop the resupplying of Centerpoint from the sufrace and one to isolate Corellia from the outside.
 
Jacen notes Omas is getting cold feet.  She thinks he can be as cold as he likes, but Sal-Solo will not back down.  Jacen can almost hear Lumiya reminding him how inevitable this all is.  His five years of studying the Force makes him wonder what else she can teach him.
 
He admits he’d like to play a role in the blockade.  He wants the command of a squadron so he can show he’s prepared to fight on the front lines.  Niathal gives him one that will include the squadron his sister is in. 
 
Mirta asks where they’re headed.  Fett tells her Corellia.  She reminds him they were going to Coruscant.  He points out that that’s what she suggested.  He’s got business on Corellia first. 
 
She remains silent.  He wonders if she’s worried about the messages she keeps sending to Ailyn who isn’t answering.  She’ll eventually figure out that monitoring transmissions to and from his ship, even by comlink, is part of the ship’s security system. 
 
Mirta admits she’s lost contact with her customer.  After confirming that she had information for her client and didn’t already give it to her, Fett assures her the customer will pay up.  Mirta explains the customer was on a job and she’s worried for her safety.
 
Fett knows his daughter is probably smart enough to hold her own.  She’s out there somewhere.  He comms Beviin and tells him Thrackan Sal-Solo wants Mandalorians to fight for him, defending Centerpoint Station.  He wants as many commandos as they can get on Drall in two days.  Bevvin thinks he can get six, the rest have gone home.  It’s harvest time.  Fett thinks the women are supposed to do that.  It’s wartime after all.  Bevvin reminds him it’s not a real war.
 
Mirta thinks it’s appalling Fett doesn’t know what’s going on on his homeworld, considering he’s Mandalore.  He can’t rule a nation when he doesn’ t know anything about it.  Her father told her that a Mand’alor should be like a father to his people.
 
He doesn’t want any lectures from a mere kid.  She assumes that, since his own daughter wanted to kill him, it obviously means he isn’t big on responsibility.  Fett remembers he had what his father wanted and threw it away.
 
He tells her he was 16 when he married and knew nothing about women, save what he learned from a Kaminoan scientist and a Changeling Bounty Hunter.  He tried to be a family man, regardless.  It didn’t work.
 
He might have grown up better if his father’s head hadn’t been cut off by a Jedi right in front of him.  He asks where her parents are.  Mirta tells him her father’s dead and she hasn’t seen her mother in awhile.  Fett tells her she’ll grow up as bitter as him.  She thinks she already has.
 
Luke isn’t sure that even Cal Omas can stop this now.  The Jedi Council sits and looks to Luke for an answer.  Which is something because Corran Horn is here so it proves Jacen has some decency in not rounding up a senior Jedi.
 
Corran tells him a blockade is only going to rally other worlds to Corellia’s side.  Cilghal thinks she should tell Luke there’s a question no one seems willing to ask.  She wants to know if he has any misgivings about a Jedi like Jacen Solo being seen acting against civilians, especially with Luke’s son at his side.   
 
Luke admits he’s troubled, but he has no control over Jacen.  He’s outside the Jedi Order and he’s not Ben’s master either.  All eyes go to Mara.  Luke’s wife is only secretary of the council.  She doesn’t think she should get involved in this discussion.
 
Kyle Katarn reminds them that, while the GAG is unsettling legal, it’s embarrassing for the Grand Master’s relatives to be seen kicking down doors.  Luke is embarrassed, too, and plans to ask his son to withdraw from these operations.  Kyp Durron thinks Luke should be telling, not asking.
 
Jacen’s popularity is a concern for Kyp.  He thinks they should be making an effort to help him identify with the Order, perhaps by making him a Master.  Luke isn’t sure that’s where Jacen’s frustrations lie.  He does offer to think about it.
 
When he and Mara are alone, he tells her he wants Ben away from Jacen.  He’s sorry it came up in the meeting, but no 13-year old should be conducting secret police raids.  Mara objects that Jacen’s just having a bad affair.  Luke argues that he’s interning Corellians. It’s not the same thing.  He challenges her to call Leia and ask her what she thinks of her son.  
 
Mara argues that taking Ben away kicking and screaming won’t help, especially if there’s no one else to take him on but Luke.  Luke has to admit that no one else has helped Ben like Jacen has.  Perhaps they should just ask Jacen to keep him off of the raids; it’ll be easier to contain the damage if they don’t forbid the two of them to have any contact.
 
In other news, he also has to inform Mara that Lumiya, somehow, is back.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • At one point, Luke marvels at how Mara just doesn’t see what’s wrong with Jacen.  I have to admit that wanting your son to stick around a guy who is violating civil liberties just because the kid is now saying, “Ma’am” is a bit much. 

 
 
 
 
 
 


#14
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chapter 13:
 
Chief of State Omas announces a blockade will be enforce if Corellia doesn’t reconsider its intention to make Centerpoint Station operational.
 
When the deadline passes, the Alliance Fleet Flagship, Ocean, moves into the Corellian system.  The comm. officer, Lt. Vio, believes that either Rothana or Jabiin will come to Corellia’s aid first.  Jabiim has always done things it’s own way and Rothana has its own shipyards.  They will want to see what happens.
 
Ben is back on Coruscant with Capt. Shevu, finally able to shake off his father’s shadow and be his own person. Jacen has experience being the son of political celebrities.  Even then, it’s nothing like being Luke Skywalker’s son.
 
He can also feel Jaina on the decks below, feeling anxious.  He’s tempted to reach out to Tenel Ka, but cannot take the risk lest Lumiya sense this connection.
 
Ben’s father has commed him five times now.  It makes him feel hunted.  He watches Capt. Shevu and Capt. Girdun have a whispered argument that adults often have.  Shevu will not allow Girdun to do anything differently until they get clearance from the Senate.
 
The man and the woman captured in the raid are in different cells.  The woman is named Ailyn Habuur and she keeps getting messages on her comlink from someone named Mirta Gev.  Shevu offers to let Ben go home, but he’s afraid his father will be there, waiting.  He decides to stay and help.
 
Ailyn Habuur is handcuffed, but still looks dangerous.  She’s not particularly helpful either, beyond stating that Mirta Gev has been instrumental in helping her find a piece of jewelry that belonged to her mother.
 
Shevu has Ben go get Girdun.  He wants to check out Mirta Gev again. Ben wonders if that’s wise because he feels pretty nasty.  Shevu admits Girdun was a former NRI officer that Jacen recruited for this team.  Some of the people here Ben finds frightening. 
 
He finds Girdun in the barracks’ gymnasium where they have a large group of people sitting cross-legged on the floor with their hands on their heads.  An officer congratulates Ben for the tip-off.  Ben spots Barit Saiy looking at him with loathing.
 
Ben knows he’ll never feel like a kid again.  He wishes he could.
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 


#15
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chapter 14:
 
A Mandalorian proverb is to train sons to be strong but daughters to be stronger.
 
In a bar, Fett meets with Beviin and several others he’s invited her.  Ram Zerimar, the sniper, greets him.  Briike, Orade, Vevut and Talgal join them.  Fett introduces them to Mirta.
 
He wants to know what they think about the offer to defend Centerpoint.  Orade thinks Sal-Solo is a self-serving liar, but he’s willing to hear him out.  Vevut and Beviin want to wait and see before they commit. 
 
Leaving the others to teach Mirta a Mandalorian game, Beviin and Fett move off alone.  Fett admits Mirta is leading him to Ailyn and has some other personal information, too.  While he likes the kids, most of the time, he wants to kill her because she keeps getting on him for being a rotten Mandalore.
 
Beviin agrees with her.  The galaxy isn’t the same since the Yuuzhan Vong war.  Everyone is rebuilding and so should they.  They need a leader like Fenn Shysha was.  That leader is him. 
 
Beviin tells him there is someone out there named Kad’ika who is urging Mandalorians to look after themselves for good.  He wants Fett to be Mandalore.  Fett would rather head to Corellia and beat the blockade.
 
The others can form up and follow him.
 
Jacen leads Rogue Squadron out to patrol the exclusion zone around Corellia near a cluster of orbital units that make up a shipyard.  Jaina is off his port wing, angry.  Jacen can feel her resentment.  Zekk is on the other side.  They are in a battle-meld for a few moments, not nearly united as they’d once been.
 
The squadron breaks off into patrols.  One has to pull off an unarmed transport moving toward Centerpoint.  Jacen orders Zekk to turn back a water and food replenishment ship headed for the orbital stations.  He reminds Zekk that cutting off food and water will make the Corellians think again about holding out.  They spend several hours doing this.
 
Three assault fighters come toward them.  Jaina thinks Cousin Thrackan has gotten tired of them by now.  Jacen destroys one.  As the other two head back to the planet.  Jaina congratulates him for making the history books by firing the shot that started the war.
 
Boba Fett takes the hail of the Ocean.  Beviin tells them they are a Mandalorian vessel called Beroya wanting to lend a hand.  He reminds the Alliance that Mandalorians fought on the side of the Alliance against the Vong.  The comm. officer asks if they’re planning to them the GA.
 
Fett hits the hyperspace jump control and then once more quickly.  The ship accelerates, then decelerates enough to punch them back the blockade and only show on the GA scanners as a burst of energy.  He cut the jump too fine and is skirting the atmosphere of Corellia.
 
Hoping Slave I’s hull stands up, he is told by Coronet ATC that Sal-Solo is sending a speeder for him when he lands.  He’s taking Mirta this time, not wanting to hunt her down and shoot her before he finds out what happened to his wife. He did love her, just didn’t know how to be part of a family.
 
Dur Gejjen meets him, telling Fett that he and his associates represent the three main political parties of the Corellian Assembly and hope he can help them.  Fett can feel this man is going to be trouble.
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
 


#16
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chapter 15:
 
Thrackan Sal-Solo broadcasts a speech over the HoloNet, urging other worlds to come to Corellia’s aid before they are the GA’s next targets.
 
Thousands upon thousands of people protest in front of the Senate building on Coruscant.  Niathal wishes she could present more face-time at the front lines, but Jacen assures her he will do it as long as he can.  She notices that he isn’t wearing Jedi robes anymore.  Jacen thinks it’s best not to provoke his uncle or the Jedi Council who don’t want to be associated with his actions.
 
He and Niathal get out of the speeder where Jacen has to use a Force barrier to deflect rocks, food containers and other items being thrown at them.  They push into the building where Luke and Mara are already waiting in Chief Omas’s office.
 
As the blockade seems to be the only alternative to a war or backing down on Corellian disarmament, Luke approves of it for now.  However, he’s concerned about the non-Corellians he sees in the crowd down below.  Mara shoots Jacen a look that tells him not to take the bait.  Jacen understands this is more about Ben than anything else.
 
He assures Luke that if the security of the GA is threatened by any other group, he’ll take action within the law.  He knows that the Jedi do not approve of his methods, but someone has to do this.  Luke admits that lives lost to terrorist activities are sobering, but they need to have perspective when dealing with billions.
 
Omas tells him he’s welcome to tell the citizens of Coruscant that.  They and the Senate do not see things the same way.  Niathal thinks this ethical discussion is fascinating, but she’s more concerned about stopping the activation of Centerpoint Station.  She promotes destroying it from orbit.
 
Omas has to speak with a delegation from the Corporate Sector Authority.  He’s also sure that the species represented in the crowds below will soon be reflected in the shifts of planetary allegiances.
 
Luke wants to speak with Jacen privately.  Jacen knows that this is about Ben.  Luke doesn’t want him going on raids anymore.  He thinks Ben needs to come back to the academy and settle down.  Jacen argues that Ben is a Jedi.  He’s identifying threats and that is doing good.  Besides, Luke let Ben go on the commando raid at Centerpoint.  What he’s doing now is much less dangerous.
 
Secretly, Jacen knows Luke’s real concern.  He almost wants his uncle to call him out for turning to the Dark Side.  Jacen turns to Mara and asks if she agrees.  Mara tells him that they want to talk this through with Ben. 
 
Luke would rather talk it out now. He tells Jacen that Lumiya is on Coruscant and he senses this has something to do with Ben.  Jacen controls himself and promises to be on guard and accept whatever Ben wants to do.
 
When they leave, he comms Lumiya.
 
Ben watches with the GAG officers as the crowd is handled by CSF riot squads.  The officer explains that it’s important to find persons in the crowd that have been arrested before. 
 
He is told to go to the cell block to meet Jacen.  Now it’s his cousin who’s having a heated discussion with Captain Girdun.  Jacen tells him that his parents want to see him and Ben should be diplomatic enough to visit.  He admits that Ben’s father would rather he not been training Ben at all, but his mother approves.  Jacen can’t make them or him do anything, but does encourage Ben not to fight with them.
 
Ben knows that his father wants him to go back to the academy, but he can’t return to lightsaber drills when he’s out here doing real work.  He promises to visit them tonight.
 
He and Jacen go to visit Ailyn Habuur who doesn’t look very good after a week in Girdun’s hands.  Jacen wants to know who she was sent to kill.  She tells him she’s just a debt collector.  Jacen reminds her she was found with an arsenal of weapons and in the company of a known Corellian agent.
 
She demands a lawyer.  Jacen uses the Force to slam her head down on the table.  Then he does it again.  Ben is stunned.  This isn’t right and not anything like Jacen.  Jacen seems to remember Ben is in the room and sends him out to wait.  Ben doesn’t want to go too far, as if doing so will allow Jacen to do something worse.
 
It’s not as if Jacen has never killed before.  And the lightsaber Ben carries is a weapon that can kill.  He wants to think of Jacen using the Force to defend the GA, but all he can think is that Jacen is hurting a defenseless woman.
 
He stands there for over two hours, hearing things he should never hear.  Shevu and Girdun appear, the former unhappy that Jacen is in there alone with the prisoner.  Convinced that Jacen will kill her, Shevu pushes his way in and sees Habuur on the floor.  He yells for a medic, but Girdun checks her pulse and determines she’s already dead.
 
Shevu demands to know what he was thinking.  Prisoners can’t be treated this way.  Jacen tells him that he’s entered people’s minds before and they’ve always been fine afterward.  He seems surprised, but not sorry.  Ben notices that.  Jacen is only concerned about finding out who she was working with.
 
He thinks they should look into this Mirta Gev.  Girdun reminds him of the Corellian agent who doesn’t know who her target was, only that Corellian Intelligence wanted him to give her a safe house and provide weapons.
 
Girdun wants to work on him.  Shevu reminds him that they cannot have another dead prisoner and he will have to report this one.  Ben asks to see the datapad, assuring Jacen that he’d just never seen a dead body like that before.  He’s fine.
 
He goes through the images in Habuur’s datapad and notices several of the YT-1300-class ships that are like the Millennium Falcon.  He tells Jacen that she was after Uncle Han.  Jacen admits he assumed her target was here.  She hadn’t been focused on his father, either. 
 
Ben has to admit to himself that Jacen isn’t perfect.  Jacen will contact his father and tell him to watch out for Mirta Gev.  Ben hugs him, but can tell that Shevu isn’t all that happy.  Then he leaves to find his father.
 
Since the galaxy is a moral cesspool and gets what it deserves, Boba Fett isn’t really surprised at how Thrackan Sal-Solo can bounce back from treason charges to become a head of state.
 
Sal-Solo tells him that he is working on repairing Centerpoint so that the Alliance will never be able to make them disarm.  He wants Mandalorian assistance to get repair crews on the station and defend it.  Fett demands a million credits per man per month.  Flat fees don’t work, especially when the contract is open-ended.  Sal-Solo should call him back when they have a crew on the station.
 
All of the politicans save Gejjen look grim.  When Fett expresses an interest in staying a few days, Gejjen offers to show him around.  It gives Fett a chance to record the inside of the government building and its surroundings.  On the tour, Gejjen offers Fett a million credits up front and a two million credit balance to get rid of Sal-Solo permanently.
 
With him gone, all of the opposition parties can outvote the Centerpoint Party. 
 
Fett knows Mirta thinks he should stay out of Corellian politics, but she admits that Sal-Solo gives her the creeps and would probably do it herself.  He is here to find Han Solo, someone he’s always been able to find and quite frankly almost thinks like the man now.
 
When Ailyn finds him, he’ll find her.
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • So Luke and Mara are not a united front, then, and Jacen knows how to play that.  It irks me that Mara is backing Jacen.

 


#17
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chapter 16:
 
Jacen Solo’s message implores his parents not to ignore this.  Ailyn Habuur was sent to kill them and is no longer a problem.  A Mirta Gev may be her accomplice, though.  He tells them to stay sharp and know that he loves them and wants them to understand what he has to do.
 
Lumiya came as soon as he called.  In Jacen’s apartment, he explains Luke knows she’s here.  She thinks they need to accelerate Jacen’s training to full Sith knowledge before Luke can find her.  There aren’t so much techniques as awareness.  He knows all he needs to know as it’s within him.  He must embrace it and it is painful.
 
She can only guide him and encourage him to step across the line.  It’s different for everyone because it’s about breaking personal limits.  Jacen admits he killed today in a way that he didn’t think he ever could.  He is frightened by what he can do and doesn’t enjoy it.  She tells him that soldiers kill in wartime and, besides, if he enjoyed it, he would not be the one destined to be the Sith Lord.
 
He knows it’s true.  This path of pain is forcing him to do what he dreads most.  It’s easier every day, despite the fact that it hurt so much.  Vergere had taught him that.  He is a shadowmoth who has to struggle and panic to emerge from the cocoon and be changed.
 
Jacen knows Lumiya knew his grandfather.  If he had to pass this way, why didn’t he succeed?  Lumiya explained that Darth Vader wanted the power to shape reality for those he loved.  It was a distraction that flawed him. It is also her belief that he lacked Jacen’s diverse education.
 
Jacen knows he’s been distracted by his family ties.  That’s why he couldn’t see that Ailyn Habuur had been sent to kill his father.  However, Sith Lore doesn’t discourage personal attachments.  If that was Anakin Skywalker’s flaw, how can that be true?
 
She tells him attachments aren’t avoided, but should be passed through so one can draw strength from it.  The Jedi Order is full of families with children now and are bound to them.  Even Luke’s wife is ignoring what she feels in Jacen because she’s putting her son’s happiness first.  Luke fears upsetting his wife and son.  They cannot thwart these plans because they won’t face those fears and draw on them.
 
Ben will make a good apprentice once he stops allowing the Skywalker name to both define him and resent it at the same time.  Lumiya thinks Jacen needs to become a Jedi Master.  Ben needs him and the Jedi Council needs to show they appreciate his efforts.  Besides, Jacen’s efforts over the years should make him a master.
 
She wants to help shape the opinion of the Jedi Council.  There are those who are his allies there, too.  She can plant the idea in a few places outside the Council, such as Admiral Niathal.  Jacen asks if she’s influenced anyone else.  She admits she hasn’t had to do much as the galaxy is already in search of order.
 
Jacen trusts his own feelings more.  He is going to time-walk tonight to find out what is true.
 
When Ben arrives at the Skywalker’s apartment, Luke can feel his fear.  Mara assures her son they are just worried about him.  Luke admits that they are concerned about Jacen’s violent actions lately and are questioning whether Ben should be a part of them.  Ben reminds him that he killed people in the war, both in a starfighter and with his lightsaber.  Not all of those people were evil.  Mara admits she did the same thing on the other side of the war.
 
Ben has some things he’d like to work out here before he goes back to the academy, but he’d like to spend some time with his parents once this is all over.
 
After a long-overdue family dinner, Ben leaves.  Mara notes that Luke didn’t tell him to stay away from Jacen.  Luke reminds her she didn’t use to be so tolerant.  She admits that age had made her more protective of her own family than the galaxy.  She is glad they could sort that out without Ben storming off.
 
Luke would believe that, too, if he still weren’t sensing Lumiya.
 
Han Solo knows that Thrackan will come after him year after year.  He has been reconning the government building for awhile. Waiting for a public tour that will give him some access, he heads inside and runs into Boba Fett before long.  Fett knocks him under the chin and they trade barbs.  Han is sure Fett is after him.
 
Fett tells him to give his ego a rest.  Solo hasn’t had a decent death mark on him in years. He doesn’t want Solo dead, but to use as bait.  His daughter has taken Sal-Solo’s bounty and he needs to find her.  So he wants to sit on Han until she shows up.  A young woman appears, indicating she still hasn’t gotten a response to her messages.
 
Han agrees to help Fett if the other helps him kill Thrackan.  Fett tells him Gejjen already hired him to do just that.  Solo got a few tips from the same guy.  Remembering Jacen’s message, Han asks if the daughter is named Mirta Gev.  The girl with Fett tells him that’s who she is.
 
Thinking that Fett is working for Thrackan, after all, Han tries to charge her, but Fett bangs his blaster against the back of his head.  He demands to know how Han knows her name.  Han explains that his son picked up a hitwoman named Ailyn Habuur on Coruscant. 
 
Fett tells him Ailyn’s his daughter and, if Solo’s son has her, he has an idea what will happen.  Han offers to go after Thrackan and put in a good word with Jacen.  Fett thinks he might tell Jacen to pick up Han in a body bag if anything happens to his daughter.  Solo is no good as bait anymore.
 
They’re all stuck.  Han agrees to get Jacen to release Ailyn if Fett lets him take out Thrackan.  Fett gives him a comlink and tells him to call his wife. 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • I still don’t understand how Lumiya knows so much about Anakin Skywalker.  Vader repressed Anakin over the years.  He would not have told Lumiya anything about his past life.  There is no evidence that Lumiya ever knew that Vader had been Anakin Skywalker up til these books.  She obviously learned that when the rest of the galaxy did and just put the pieces together.

  • On the other hand, Lumiya is really observant.  She’s got Luke and Mara pegged.

  • Kyp Durron, who’d never really liked Jacen, suggested he be made a master in an earlier chapter.  Lumiya’s sudden suggestion that Jacen be made a master and her assertion that she can influence that is interesting.  Does she have some access to the Jedi Council meetings or is this just another tidbit about Anakin Skywalker’s past that she shouldn’t have?

 
 


#18
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chapter 17:
 
The HoloNet reports that the Jedi Order seldom acts publicly, but Jacen Solo is showing the taxpayers what they are getting for their credits.  Ironically, Solo has no status within the Order itself and doesn’t even hold the rank of Master.
 
Jacen wanders around the Jedi archives until there are few Jedi left inside.  He uses the Fallanassi skill to project an illusion of being nothing and vanishes to all Jedi senses.  He walks into the Council Chambers, the tiled floor said to be just like the one on which Anakin would have walked. 
 
Jacen hears the footsteps on those floors until he hears the Jedi Council having a debate over whether or not Anakin should be trained and who should be the one to do it.  Jacen recognizes many of the masters from recordings.  He sorrows at how these masters abdicated responsibility for training the Chosen One. 
 
Later, the Council faces an angry young man as they explain how disturbing Chancellor Palpatine’s move to put him on the Council is.  They will allow it but he will not be granted the rank of Master.  Jacen pities his grandfather who was so exceptionally gifted, but barely tolerated and largely dismissed and abandoned.  No wonder he resorted to desperate acts. 
 
Jacen is the second chance.  He now understands why.  Anakin Skywalker’s destiny had been subverted by well-meaning teachers.  Anakin felt he was more powerful than any of them.  Jacen is more powerful than any of his contemporaries, save Luke.  And he will surpass his uncle someday.  Power is a tool and becoming a Master is a necessary political step that he will have to take.  He snaps out of the past
 
In Fett’s spare armor, Han wonders how he can breathe in the helmet.  The plan is they will walk in to see Sal-Solo, get him alone and kill him.  He was offered a job defending Centerpoint Station and didn’t take it.  That’ll be excuse enough to get in to see the man.
 
A variety of ships now faces the GA blockade.  Jacen is told to put Rogue Squadron on alert.  He heads down to the hangar where Jaina and Zekk are talking.  He tells the pilots that other fleets have arrived, some civilian vessels.  They should engage only if fired upon or placed under serious threat.
 
The three of them head out in their XJs.  Jacen sends through the Force to Jaina who pushes back.  In space, they follow all rules of engagement until a damaged civilian freighter violates the exclusion zone and targets Jacen.  Jaina refuses to fire on the craft which is now retreating.  Jacen destroys it.  Jaina pulls off, suspended from duty for disobeying orders.  Jacen knows he’s lost her now.
 
In Thrackan Sal-Solo’s office, Fett and his two comrades get him to shut the doors and send his staff home for the evening.  When he gets the chance, Han jumps across the desk and starts to throttle him.  Fett urges him to just kill the man.  Han wants Thrackan to know he’ll never threaten his family again.
 
Thrackan tells him Ailyn was just bait for the GA.  He’s the one who tipped the GAG off on her.  There will be plenty of people coming for Solo and his family. Angry that his little girl was set up, Fett tells Han to back off so he can shoot him.  Mirta does instead.
 
Three shots later, Sal-Solo is dead.  Fett puts a couple of more rounds in him to be sure.  When Han complains that his cousin was his, Fett tells him to shoot first next time then. If he wants vengeance, he can put a couple of rounds in him, too, before they move out.
 
Fett has to grab Solo and pushes him forward.  They had a bargain.  Fett wants to see his daughter.
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Jacen saw Artoo’s holorecordings, right?  He knows Anakin wanted to save his pregnant wife, right?  Why is he just focusing on Anakin, the dismissed Chosen One?  Jacen knows too much about the past to be falling for this grooming by Lumiya.  That’s what’s bothering me about this whole thing.

 


#19
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chapter 18:
 
The HoloNet reports that tensions are mounting as more planets object to the GA intervention in the Corellian system.  The Azterri government has condemned the destruction of one of its freighterse as an act of war. 
 
At Lumiya’s apartment, Jacen tries to shake off a dream of him staring at his hands, one holding a lightsaber, and him sobbing.
 
Lumiya knows he’s upset and tells him to stop feeling guilty about his sister.  Jacen admits he didn’t expect to have bad dreams about it.  He doesn’t want them to stop because he knows he must embrace them. She warns him to be careful about dreams and visions.  They may tell him what he needs to know.
 
Jacen doesn’t know what else there could be after five years of studying the Force from all manner of species.  He doesn’t know where a Jedi ends and a Sith begins.  He’s never really believed it was just good and evil.  Lumiya tells him it’s a matter of acceptance.  He must surrender to what the Force asks of him and stop denying it by utilizing self-discipline and avoiding powerful emotions.  Jacen notes that, the more he does, the more he feels that he’s doing exactly what his grandfather did.  Yet he’s different.  He wonders if the preoccupation with his wife kept Anakin from achieving the goal of order.
 
Lumiya tells him that Anakin began his training too late and was manipulated by a man who wanted power.  Jacen is mature, has had a lifetime of training and is being used by no one.  He won’t make the same mistakes.  This doesn’t mean it won’t be painful.
 
But pain is the price he pays for bringing order to the galaxy.  He has to sacrifice which is something weak men like Palpatine would never do.  There’s nothing in this for Jacen. 
 
He knows that isn’t true.  He asks what she thinks about Luke Skywalker.  Lumiya admits she thinks nothing, only remembers.  She can only tell Jacen to deal with what troubles him most first.  Jacen tells her Ben is wavering.  She advises him not to seek Ben’s approval, but set an example.  He will have to discover the truth himself. 
 
He knows she’s right.  Ben has to learn that there are necessary evils.
 
Fett, Han and Mirta race through the tunnels to escape from the government building.  After some blasterfire, they take refuse behind some hedges in a park while Han comms Leia to come pick them up. 
 
Ben asks Capt. Shevu what happened to Barit Saiy.  Shevu admits there’s no record in the custody file or of a transfer.  He doesn’t like disappearing prisoners.  It’s possible the kid was sent to Corellia.  Shevu knows it’s hard when one is personally involved.  It’s best to stand back and follow the rules.  Ben reminds him that Jacen doesn’t.  Shevu admits that Jacen is the C.O. here.  To Ben, that’s code for not wanting to offer an opinion.
 
Jacen had once been everything Ben wanted to be and then he killed a prisoner.
 
He practices with a remote in the gymnasium when he can feel Jacen summoning him.  Jacen thinks Ben needs more responsibility.  Since the boy is good at detecting weapons and explosives, he shows Ben a map and asked him to pinpoint locations.  Ben finds an ear not far from the Senate.  He knows something is about to happen.
 
Jacen can feel it, too.  The World Brain’s enslaved spies are reporting activity there.  He would like Ben to work this out for himself as part of his training.  He trusts Ben to make decisions and wants to know if Ben can trust him.  Ben does, but he doesn’t understand how he could have hurt that woman so badly.  Jacen doesn’t like violence, but he did it and Ben doesn’t think he can do the same. 
 
Jacen tells him they all must find out for themselves how far they can go.  One doesn’t find that out until one faces it.
 
Captain Shevu and several GAG assault vessels meet them at the landing pad.  CSF wants some backup because there are a lot of Coruscanti involved.  It started when CSF arrested someone for painting graffiti on some offices.
 
The crowd below is getting rowdy.  Ben can sense some big explosives down there.  He doesn’t want to make a decision that could start a riot.  Jacen tells him that he has to go with what he knows now.  Ben points out a small block. 
 
They enter an empty restaurant and find shoulder-grenade launchers in the freezer.  Ben deflects one of Shevu’s blaster shots when two men lunge at him.  The next deflected bolt happens without him thinking.  Both men are killed.  One was armed. 
 
Jacen takes his arm and tells him to get a grip.  He has work to do.  Ben tells him the man wasn’t armed.  Jacen reminds him the friend was.  He forces Ben to face the two dead men, telling him he made the right call.  He can’t afford to let this get to him.
 
Jacen and Shevu get into an argument about the incident. Shevu reminds Jacen that Ben is just a kid.  Jacen points out that Ben is a Jedi and has to learn.  Corp. Lekauf finds Ben and tells him that he is available to talk anytime he’s needs to.
 
Ben knows that Mandalorian boys are already warriors at his age.  He pulls himself to his feet.  Jacen finds him and leads him to an assault shuttle.  He tells Ben that it doesn’t get easier.  When it does, Ben will have to quit the business. Ben asks if he can learn how to shut himself off in the Force so he can be alone. 
 
He can’t go back to being a kid.  He wonders if he can ever tell his parents.
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  • Once again, Lumiya knows something about Anakin Skywalker that she probably didn’t learn from Vader.  That he was trained too late, was too inexperienced and was manipulated by Palpatine is something that has either become public knowledge or she learned from another source.

 
 


#20
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chapter 19:
 
Captain Girdun complains to his wife that Jacen Solo needs to make up his mind about whether he’s a fighter pilot or the leader of the GAG. 
 
Luke wakes up from a dream about Ben crying that it’s too high a price.
 
He goes to search for Jaina and finds her in the wardroom of the Third Fleet’s shorebase.  She tells him how Jacen ordered her to fire on a civilian freighter that had only targeted him, not actually fired and was in the processing of retreating.  She has been suspended for refusing to do it.  She could tell that Jacen wanted to teach them a lesson.
 
Technically, Jacen hadn’t done anything wrong since the ship could still have fired on him.  If it had been anyone else, Luke would have chalked it up to a split-second decision made in battle, but he cannot dismiss Jacen doing it. 
 
He tells her she’s right in fearing that Jacen is falling to the Dark Side.  He’s doing so much more than Luke and Jaina ever did.  She asks if Luke has been arguing with Mara about this.  Jaina doesn’t understand why her aunt can’t see what Jacen is like these days.  Luke admits that she does but believes the problems are based elsewhere. 
 
He invites her to lunch, admitting he’s lost contact with her parents.  More precisely, her father.  The three of them used to be inseparable and he misses that.  Jaina thinks her dad misses Luke, too.
 
Luke feels Ben in a brief period of pain.  It leaves quickly.  Luke comms Mara who doesn’t feel anything.  Knowing Jacen can cut himself off, Luke surmises that Ben is with him.
 
Jaina tells Luke he has to keep Ben away from Jacen.  Luke knows this but can’t think of a way that won’t make Jacen into a martyr. 
 
Fett plans a quick escape from the Solos’ apartment once he has what he needs.  Leia tries to comm. Jacen but her son isn’t answering.  She reaches out to him through the Force.  The HoloNet is reporting the death of the President, while Deputy President, Vol Barad, assures the people that they are working out a way to move forward.
 
Han mentions the other assassins Thrackan had threatened him about.  Fett assures him that, now that Thrackan is dead, any decent bounty hunter will realize they won’t get paid and drop the hunt. 
 
Leia finally reaches Jacen, having to talk over him to tell him that Thrackan is dead and his father worked out a deal that requires Ailyn Habuur’s father to be able to speak with her.  She’s not a threat anymore anyway.
 
She doesn’t seem to quite understand what he’s telling her before making sure he realizes that Habuur’s father is Boba Fett.  Then she closes the comlink and explains that Ailyn died during her interrogation.
 
He was so close to speaking to her.  He had been ready to put things right.
 
Mirta Gev is stricken.  She pulls her blaster and aims it at him before Leia Solo uses the Force to pull it from her hands.
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#21
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chapter 20:
 
The coalition government of Corellia blames GA agents for killing President Sal-Solo.  They will continue to maintain the planet’s independence.
 
Leia demands to know what Mirta was doing.  The girl explains that she was delivering Fett to Ailyn so she could kill him for good this time.  Fett ran out on his wife and baby.  If Ailyn couldn’t kill him then Mirta will.
 
Leia asks what Fett ever did to her.  Mirta explains that Ailyn was her mother.  She’d promised that Fett would die.  The man who didn’t care to find out for fifty years what had become of his daughter until it was too late.
 
She beats on his armor until her fists bleed and Han pulls her off.  Leia asks Fett what he wants.  He tells her he wants Ailyn’s body back.  Han isn’t eager to do anything to appease the bounty hunter.  Leia reminds him of when Anakin died.  Neither of them knows what Fett does or doesn’t feel. Neither of them would even be here if he hadn’t rescued them from the Vong.
 
She tells Mirta to try to work things out.  In the end, all she has is her family.  Fett, however, pulls off his armor and helmet, challenging Mirta to kill him.  He is gray and scarred, with a hard face that underscores the cold life he’d led.  Mirta holds the blaster on him, before dropping it.
 
Leia promises to get Ailyn’s body back. Han is still not sure this is a good idea, but Leia knows that it is Fett who will bear the grudge.  Jacen killed Ailyn personally while interrogating her.  She suspects he tortured her.  Whether Fett had a relationship with his daughter or not isn’t the issue.  Families tend to band together when an outsider gets involved.  Fett isn’t just going to shrug this off.
 
In Cal Omas’s office, Senator G’Sil, Luke and Jacen talk about how to handle the death of Sal-Solo.  G’Sil insists the Intelligence Office had nothing to do with it.  It doesn’t really matter as no one believes them. 
 
Jacen believes Dur Gejjen was behind it.  He had come to Jacen’s parents earlier, suggesting a regime change.  The overall situation hasn’t changed as he’s not likely to disarm any faster than Sal-Solo was.
 
As it is, Jacen is going to have to find a way to get Ailyn Habuur, that is, Ailyn Vel’s, body back to Corellia and hope that Boba Fett will be placated enough to leave his parents alone.  He could possibly try explaining to Fett what happened, but it’s probably better that no one know he was involved.
 
Luke thinks they should open formal talks with the coalition government.  It’s not likely to work even if there is no formal declaration of war.  Over a hundred worlds have withdrawn from the GA.  If the new government of Corellia will not disarm, there may be no choice but to formalize a state of war.  That will result in more emergency powers.
 
Luke isn’t happy with this, reminding them that the galaxy has been at this point before.  Omas welcomes the view of the Jedi Council if there is some concrete course he can pursue.  For now, he can allow Alliance planets to maintain their own independent defense forces, to continue as they are or to mount a more aggressive stance to force disarmament.
 
Jacen and G’Sil exchange glances that indicate they both understand Luke is weak and can’t come up with another idea.  Omas decides to offer them the chance to negotiate.  When Luke leaves the room, Jacen contacts Threepiio to have Artoo prep the Falcon so Jacen can fly her back to his father.
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#22
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chapter 21:
 
Chief of State Omas speaks at a press conference, advising that the GA has offered settlement terms to the new government in the hopes of averting war and reinforcing unity.
 
Boba Fett cannot help but reflect on why it’s better to live alone.  He can’t believe he hadn’t figured out who Mirta was.  All he has to do is look at her and see his father’s eyes. 
 
For now, he gets a comm. from Beviin who is telling him what the Solos either don’t know or don’t want to tell him.  Their son interrogated Ailyn.  This came from the CSF, some of whom resent the GAG.  According to their contacts, Jacen uses Jedi techniques that are not taught by the Jedi Order.  One of the officers complained that the kid is using the Force to beat answers out of people.  It’s said he killed Ailyn with his mind.
 
Beviin offers to send people after him.  Fett decides against that.  He learns more about how the guy dresses in black, has Luke Skywalker’s son as his lackey and how some of the older ones think he wants to be just like his grandfather.
 
Fett tells Beviin to leave Jacen Solo to him. In the meantime, he wants them to keep an eye out for a Mandalorian with gray armor and leather gloves who claims to be a clone who fought at Geonosis.
 
Fett knows that Jacen Solo is practicing things they don’t teach at the Jedi Academy.  He’s learned to get to know his enemy and knows a lot about the Jedi.  He also knows a lot about the Sith.  He’s lived under both and still managed to keep a profit coming, even while the galaxy ends up in a mess at the end.  His best revenge is to let Solo run around and be the Sith Lord while the Jedi rip themselves apart.
 
It gives him something to live for.
 
Jacen flies the Millennium Falcon into Coronet City where he meets his parents.  His mother hugs him in a formal manner; his father barely acknowledges him.  They don’t know about the pending court-martial of Jaina, so he just tells them that she’s not flying combat missions. 
 
Leia asks if there’s anything else he wants to tell them.  Considering they’re collecting a corpse from him, there should be.  Jacen tells them he was interrogating her and used a mind-invasion technique that she couldn’t handle.  She died of an aneurysm.
 
They look at the body.  Jacen asks his father if he killed Thrackan.  Han tells him to go ahead and justify cold-blooded killing if his old man can do it, too.  He doesn’t want to know anymore.  His son would never do the things Jacen is done.  Han turns away and boards the sship.
 
Jacen shakes off his misery by reminding himself that his life is not his own.  His destiny is that of a Sith.  He does briefly allow himself to reach out to Tenel Ka and Allana while Lumiya is very far away.
 
Ben finds Captain Shevu cursing about Ailyn Habuur’s missing body.  He cannot file an incident report about her without one.  Shevu tells him go home to his parents for now.  When Colonel Solo comes back, he’ll let him know where Ben is.
 
Ben goes to the Temple and peruses the archives while waiting for his parents. He finds plenty of Ailyns and Habuurs, but nothing for the specific woman.  He starts looking for Nelani and Brisha, wondering more than ever about the missing block of time on Bimmiel.
 
He can’t really find much, so will have to ask Jacen.  When his parents emerge from their meeting, Ben goes to them and hugs them.  He admits he killed someone and feels really badly about it.
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#23
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chapter 22:
 
Chief of State Omas reports that the Corellian government has declined talks unless the GA recognizes its right to maintain an independent defense force.  Since the Alliance will not accept that, a state of war exists.
 
Han Solo wants the events of the past few days to be erased.  He wonders if they raised Jacen like that and how Jaina didn’t turn out the same way.  Leia admits she doesn’t know what is happening.  Jacen feels changed to her.
 
Boba Fett will figure out what happened when he sees Ailyn’s body.  That’s someone they need to give a wide berth.  Having a feud with Boba Fett is bad enough.  Having a son who kills when he doesn’t have to is worse.
 
Mirta wants her mother’s body.  Fett reminds her she doesn’t have a ship or credits.  He will bury her.  He asks Mirta if she was given the necklace to lure him in.  She admits she actually did find it.  He wants to know what happened to Sintas.
 
She doesn’t think he cared.  Fett points out that not even Ailyn could have said for sure what happened between him and his wife.  Mirta has no idea what his life was like.  His father was killed in front of him when he was 13 and he spent three years on the run before marrying at 16.  He thought he could make a normal life for himself, but he was wrong.  He tried to be a Journeyman-Protector, but killed a superior officer and was exiled from Concord Dawn.  He finally just settled on being himself because that’s all he knew.
 
He offers her the reward for killing Thrackan, but she turns it down.  He knows he can find the clone himself and doesn’t really need to know what killed Sintas, but he’s driven by the same desire that made his father ask for a cloned son.  He wanted a family badly. 
 
The Falcon lands nearby.  Leia Solo meets him and offers her regrets.  Han asks if they’re going back on his hit list.  He advises not going after Jacen.  Fett tells him he doesn’t have to go after anyone.  They’ve got problems within their happy family when the boy orders his sister to fire on civilians and suspends her when she refuses.
 
Their looks tell him that they didn’t know this.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s his daughter in the body bag.  He wants to see the body.  Leia isn’t sure that’s a good idea, but he insists.  He and Mirta are left alone in the cargo bay of the Falcon to view a bruised and cut face that bore a Kiffar tattoo.  Fett wants to make the connection to the daughter he’d once held, but can’t. Mirta puts the necklace around her mother’s neck.  Fett breaks a piece off and gives it to Mirta.
 
It’s in touching her skin returning the necklace to her body that he truly knows that he’s lost his only child.  Mirta decides they’re going home to bury her on Mandalore.  It’s time he had some property there.   He tells her they’ll go by way of Geonosis where he buried his father. 
 
It’s a personal chat that causes tears to run down his face.  Mirta weeps, too.  Both too tough to admit they can cry, but they both can.  It’s a bond that Boba Fett will try hard to approach as a father.
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  • Jango died when Boba was 10, not 13.  Boba spent several years on his own or in the company of other bounty hunters.

 
 


#24
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chapter 23:
 
The prophecy of the tassel:  strengthening himself through sacrifice, ruining those who deny justice and immortalizing his love.
 
Jacen dreams that he is holding a weapon, sobbing, again. The weapon changes everytime.  He goes to Lumiya for advice.  He admits what he’s been dreaming and that he’s been pursuing the memory of his grandfather a lot.
 
Lumiya tells him that flow-walking is dependent on location.  He can only see what happened to Vader on Coruscant.  Trying to justify his actions by looking at the past tends to have selective results.
 
Trying to learn from Anakin Skywalker’s past is probably not going to be helpful because they both had different paths.  Jacen’s will not be filled with errors.  He has already made many sacrifices, such as the approval of his loved ones.  He’s taken extreme measures to enforce justice.  Now, he must consider the third prophecy.  Immortalizing his love does not mean just sacrificing his feelings and reputation. 
 
Jacen knows this.  He has done his own dirty work and he’s done it for the good of the galaxy, not just for the selfish love of a woman.  Lumiya tells him he must kill what he loves.  He must pass through the final barrier and kill someone close to him.  She can’t tell him who because she doesn’t know.
 
It will become clear when the time is right.  This is a final test because it will prove how unselfish he is.  He can face agony to create peace for billions of others.  His duty as a Sith is for his sacrifice to earn him disdain and to never be known by those for whom he labors. 
 
Jacen wants a peaceful and orderly galaxy.  It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also for his daughter.  He loves and that’s what brought down his grandfather.  His heart breaks as he accepts this burden.
 
In space, Mirta acknowledges that she never was of any use to him.  He asks her if she wants to hunt with him.  She wants to know what the catch is.  He tells her he’s dying.  He needs to find some Kaminoan medical data in the hopes he might survive.  That clone she met could hold the key.
 
He’s not going to be fighting for Corellia.  He thinks he’ll go back to Mandalore and find out what this Kad’ika wants.  They’ll collect his father first and then go find that clone.  She tells him she’s in and calls him, ba’buir, which means grandfather.
 
For the first time, he’s going to let the galaxy fight a war without him.  His family and Mandalore come first now.  Setting course for Geonosis for the first time in decades, they fly off together.
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End of Book 2
 
 
 




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