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Legacy of the Force #3: "Tempest"

chapter discussion thread

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#1
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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Prologue:
 
 
Jacen Solo just stands there as if he has no need to fear the underworld of Coruscant.  He’s as arrogant as Alema Rar remembers him.  She needs to kill him, to see the pain on his parents’ faces.  She’d spent years wondering how to repay Leia Solo from the half foot that had been taken from her, the lekku and being fed to a giant spidersloth on Tenupe.
 
This is about revenge and balance, not cruelty.  She stops when she sees two brothers gazing at her.  She uses the Force on them to push one into a radank web so they’ll know what it’s like to disfigured.
 
She pushes off a zap gang harassing a Gamorrean female, then spots a gang of Ferals sneaking through the undercity.  She pulls out a dart, one of eight she has for the Solos, Skywalkers and two extra.
 
Alema soon senses something cold and dark out here.  She pushes her way through a door, using the Jedi mind trick on the Quarren inside.  They tell her Jacen Solo was going to see his friend. 
 
She tells them an intruder is coming soon and wants to kill the friend.  They must stop the intruder.  That buys her a little time when she hears distinctive snap-hisses in the distance.  Alema is surprised to see someone who must be Shira Brie, the Dark Lady of the Sith known as Lumiya whom she’d studied about at Yavin IV. 
 
She must be the one hunting Jacen Solo.
 
Fearing that Lumiya will take the kill first, Alema takes off, running through the building, often into surprised Ferals.  A large pool of bubbles.  A voice speaking to the pool.  It’s Jacen.
 
He explains that he can take care of Reh’mwa and the Bothans.  Leaving the Well was foolish because Jacen cannot protect it here.  He insists he would know if he’d been followed here.  The bubbles tell him something is inside the building. 
 
Jacen is talking to something large, black and that is very Yuuzhan Vong.  She realizes that this is the World Brain and that Jacen is having it spy on Corellian terrorists.  She raises her blowgun to her lips and exhales.  The dart flies out when a female voice calls out to Jacen.  Jacen swings, ignites his lightsaber and is pushed back into the wall.  The dart flies past into the eye of the World Brain.
 
Angry, Alema turns to find that it was Lumiya who protected Jacen.  Confused, Alema hides.  The World Brain screams.  Lumiya urges Jacen to stay and help it or he will lose an asset.  Jacen argues that this is about justice.  Lumiya reminds him that the assassin was a tool sent by Reh’mwa and his subordinates.  She chastises him for allowing his emotions to control him.
 
Jacen calls to Alema to have her tell Rem’wha he’s coming.  Then he turns away.  Alema wonders at the insanity of Jacen Solo working with a Sith.
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  • Yeah, we thought Alema Rar was dead in The Swarm War.  Didn’t quite work out, did it?

 


#2
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 1:
 
On the Thrackan Sal-Solo,  Han and Leia reach the command center. Han asks if she’s okay with him being a Corellian admiral.  She tells him she has a bad feeling.  They’re here to meet with Admiral Antilles who’d asked them to come to the Kiris Asteroid Cluster. 
 
This is where the secret assault fleet built by Thrackan Sal-Solo was commissioned ten years ago.  The Sal-Solo is a huge dreadnaught with two sister ships and a support fleet.  It should be powerful enough to break the blockade.
 
Leia is concerned about two things. One, that they will be brought into a military conflict with their own children.  Two, that the Jedi Council will eventually stop tolerating her if Han starts taking up arms against the Galactic Alliance she’d sworn to uphold.  She will be told to choose between him and the Jedi.
 
When Wedge meets with them, Han admits he’s considering signing on.  They want him to negotiate a coalition.  Han knows this is about Jacen.  He admits he doesn’t like what Jacen is doing but he will not disown his own son. 
 
Wedge allows for that.  He knows Jacen will find his way back to the values his parents taught him.  For now, he needs Han.  Rather, he needs Leia but he can’t prevail upon her in an official capacity because she’s not Corellian and because he is a Jedi.  Han has to be the front man.
 
Han isn’t interested.  Leia thinks they should hear Wedge out.  Antilles was only supposed to see if they would consider it.  Gejjen will fill them in on the details. 
 
They are taken to Dur Gejjen who is not only Chief of State, but also Five Worlds Prime Minister.  They are introduced to Gavele Lemora, minister of intelligence, and Rorf Willems, the minister of defense. 
 
It seems that Hapan Queen Mother Tenel Ka has agreed to meet a Corellian delegation.  They’d like the Solos to be on Hapes by then.  They are stunned as she has always been a supporter of the Galactic Alliance.
 
Gejjen explains that there is some evidence that this support is straining her relationship with the Hapan nobles.  She may just be trying to buy time, but they’d like to take advantage of the opening.  While a coalition may not be possible, it’s not so much that but a declaration of neutrality the government would like to see from her.  She just needs to withdraw her fleet from Alliance command.  It could inspire other governments to do the same.
 
From what they understand, doing so will probably benefit her just as much.  Han finds all this suspicious, especially since they had to come all the way out here to meet Gejjen who had also come all the way out here.  Wedge admits that his intent was to ask Han to take command of the Home Fleet and prepare to counterattack the blockade.  However, the message from Tenel Ka arrived while the Solos were en route. 
 
The real attack was going to be launched from here so Han was only ever going to be a decoy anyway.  Han and Leia agree to try to help.  In private, they ask Wedge what the government isn’t telling them.  Wedge admits he doesn’t know and doesn’t like it any more than they do.
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#3
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 2:
 
Jaina is dreaming about Jagged Fel in the midst of the Dawn Rumble of the Killik mating dance.  She wakes up to alarm bells.  Opening her eyes, she finds herself in her StealthX canopy and turns to yet another astromech, Sneaker, to activate the heaters.  She makes sure Zekk is awake. 
 
Zekk resigned his commission in Rogue Squadron a couple of weeks ago.  Now the two are doing Jedi reconnaissance spying on the Kiris Asteroid Cluster where the Corellians have secret shipyards.
 
Sneaker explains he pulled her out of hyperspace when it noticed a familiar ship in the vicinity.  It can’t say for certain if it’s the Falcon.  Zekk takes off for it, Jaina following behind.  Their Joiner bond finally dissolved a couple of years ago, but they are are still very attuned to each other. 
 
Zekk just wants to get enough data from the nav computer to determine where her parents are going.  She warns him that he’s the one who needs help, not them.  He sends warm satisfaction to her.  She gets frustrated and reminds him that they are just good friends.  He needs to accept that.
 
The Sword of Jedi probably doesn’t even get to fall in love.
 
The Falcon jumps to hyperspace but not before the list of worlds is retrieved.  Jaina recognizes that they are all in the Hapes Consortium.  This cannot be good for the Alliance.  And it’s too much to hope that Zekk will remove this entry from his logs.
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#4
Jedi Cool

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chapter 3:
 
Mara has dreaded her husband and son entering the Jedi Temple Sparring Arena with live blades for years.  It’s not going to go well but Luke is determined to teach rather than train and Ben is resentful.
 
Ben’s hair is in a crew cut with a long red braid hanging from it.  His face is losing its roundness.  His chin is out and his posture straight.  He is wearing a light version of flexible vonduun-crab armor.  Luke makes him take it off.
 
Luke wants her to start off with basic obstacles and go all the up to a class-five environment.  He wants to test what Jacen has been teaching him.  Ben is sure he can handle it.  Mara is not.  If he cannot find his own way, he will withdraw and spend his life as nothing more than the son of Luke Skywalker.
 
Luke knows that she doubts this is the right thing to do.  She just wants him to talk to Ben and make him see how Jacen is slipping to darkness.  But Luke has already tried talking.  He’s been patient.  His son is still going on raids and has even killed someone.
 
He does not want Ben to grow up thinking that killing, even in self-defense, is a necessity for a Jedi.  There is a better way.  He knows Ben doesn’t like this but tells his son that a 13-year old boy shouldn’t be going on raids or even be a member of the GAG.  Ben reminds his father that he saves lives every time he goes on a raid.  Jedi are supposed to save lives.
 
Luke reminds him that he’s not a Jedi.  He’s not an apprentice.  He’s not even passed the academy’s test.  Ben tells him that Jacen thinks he’s ready.  Luke doesn’t believe it’s Jacen’s place to judge that.  If Ben thinks he’s ready, he will have to prove that to his father.
 
Luke doesn’t even ignite his lightsaber.  Ben will have to make him.  Through many obstacles and environments, Ben attacks but his father simply evades him.  Ben finally cuts a gap in the floor which causes a spark and he drops.  Luke goes to check on him when he hears Ben’s lightsaber ignite and jumps away.
 
He wants them to continue to spar.  Ben isn’t sure why as it’s already been proven that Luke can take him.  Luke explains that it proves that Ben needs to spent more time in his studies and less time with the GAG.  This woman, Lumiya, has somehow returned and Luke fears she will try to get at him through Ben.  If she does, he needs to be trained better than he has and by a master.
 
Ben argues that Jacen is training him and he’s better than a Master.  He can protect Ben from Lumiya.  Luke doesn’t think that Jacen can protect him all the time.  He also points out that even the eight-year old Rontos do better than Ben just did.  He couldn’t’ even make his father ignite his lightsaber.  He challenges Ben to make him move one foot.
 
Ben tries a couple of things that don’t work.  It’s worse when he finds out that his father’s lightsaber didn’t even have a power cell.  He agrees he needs more practice, but it would be better to make Jacen a Master.  Luke will not go that far.  Ben has a raid tonight and they’re counting on him, but would like to spar again.
 
Mara finds him kneeling on the floor of the arena and asks Luke if he’s really bothered.  Ben obviously has no anger issues.  She does admit that his training has suffered, but maybe Ben is right and Luke should make Jacen a master.
 
She argues that it would bring Jacen back into the fold and give them a chance to see how Ben is being trained.  Luke understands this, but he can’t do it.  Jacen isn’t ready to be a master and he may never be.  He thinks the sooner they get Ben away from him, the better.
 
Mara isn’t so sure.  Whatever is going on with Jacen, his destiny and Ben’s are linked.  They need to be careful.  Everything she feels tells her they have to let Ben learn from his own experiences.  If they don’t. Ben will withdraw from them and the Force again.
 
Luke admits his dreams are getting worse.  Lumiya is sitting on a throne and laughing in a man’s voice.  It’s why he wanted to test Ben, but he thinks it’s time to break out his shota – the half-length lightsaber he’d built after nearly being killed by her lightwhip the first time – and go after Lumiya. 
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#5
Jedi Cool

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chapter 4:
 
Jaina meets Admiral Bwa’tu aboard the Admiral Ackbar.  the tactical display shows that the Corellian situation hasn’t changed in the last week.  If it stays that way, there might be time for the sides to work out their differences. That won’t happen if the the High Command learns the Corellians are negoatiating with the Hapans.
 
She doesn’t even want to think about what would happen if her parents’ involvement is discovered.  A bust of Ackbar unnerves her.  Clearly put there to curry favor with Mon Calamari Supreme Commander Cha Niathal, Jaina can’t help but think how the GA going to war with a member state would disturb Ackbar.
 
She doesn’t see how Omas could have avoided.  The Corellians had been working on Centerpoint Station and building a secret fleet.  They were preparing to attack someone so the Alliance had to intervene. 
 
Bwau’tu points to the statute and tells her it’s nothing to do with Niathal, but to keep him humble.  After the incident in which the Killiks swarmed this ship and commandeered it, he had the bust put here to remind him of the laughing stock he had become.
 
He’s rather surprised he was allowed to keep his command.  She tells him that a transport was seen leaving Corellian space for the Hapes Consortium.  Bwau’tu wonders if they are trying to get the Hapans on their side.  The Hutts and the Bothans have already refused to help. 
 
Jaina isn’t sure that’s the goal. Tenel Ka is a strong supporter of the GA. Bwau’tu intimates that the Corellians may be courting her opponents then.  When Jaina doesn’t think that makes sense, he asks her what she’s keeping from him.
 
She tries to evade the question but he takes her into his office where he tells her the transport was the Millennium Falcon.  He can’t order her to tell him this, but he will assume it’s true.  She would know better than he if her parents would betray her friend the Queen Mother, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re on their way there now.
 
He urges her to think about this carefully and remember that her parents are only two lives out of billions that are at risk here.  Jaina would like to jump to their parents, but does as he asks.  Who knows how they are handling the change in Jacen.  Her mother had once refused to have children out of fear one might become like Darth Vader.  Now that Jacen is imprisoning Corellians, they may have decided her fears have been realized.
 
However, her parents had always been loyal to their friends.  That’s not going to change.  She tells Bwau’tu that it looks bad but she doesn’t think they’d do something like that.  It’s the best she can do considering she used to feel that way about her brother.
 
Bwau’tu confirms that Jacen is doing more harm than good, but he swore an oath and will continue to serve the GA even if Bothawui doesn’t.  And it’s only a matter of time before it does as Jacen has started assassinating Bothans.  The World Brain is under attack and Jacen has been using it to track terrorists. 
 
Jaina knows that Jacen would never share that information with the military.  Bwau’tu tells her only that his information is accurate.  Apparently, Jacen thinks Reh’mwa ordered the attack.  The Bothan government has been pressuing Bwua’tu to resign and come home.  They fed him this information in the hopes of persuading him.
 
In the meantime, the Corellians may be supporting a coup against Tenel Ka.  Bwau’tu’s fleet is in a bad position to counter this.  He’s hoping to convince Admiral Niathal to allow him to reposition.  Jaina admits her mother knew she was at Kiris.  It’s a foregone conclusion that she will tell Jaina’s father. 
 
Unfortunately, Admiral Niathal will not move the fleet over a couple of telepathic exchanges between mother and daughter.  In looking at the holomap, Bwua’tu notices a line between Duro and the Corellian star that will be directly accessible from the Kirises cluster.  Sal-Solo may have intended to attack Duro.
 
With large deposits of baradium and cortosis, it would be a valuable asset.  For now, someone needs to warn the Queen Mother.  He wants Jaina to go to Tenel Ka at once and take Zekk with her. He hopes she can find a way to keep her family out of this mess before the HoloNet reports her parents are running all over the place staging coups.
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  • We may remember that Killik commandos hid inside busts of Admiral Bwua’tu in the Dark Nest trilogy and took over the Ackbar as a result.

 
 


#6
Jedi Cool

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chapter 5:
 
In the quarters assigned to them on Hapes, Han is about to go crazy with the ticking of an ancient clock.  Leia assures him that Tenel Ka isn’t spying on them.  She has kept them waiting to let them know that she cannot see them, but put them in a room with no listening devices to assure them they are still friends.  Seeing the Solos officially would cause Coruscant to panic.
 
She only asks for a delegation to placate her nobles.  Eventually she will find a way to see them without her spies knowing about it. 
 
Han refuses to wait.  He comms the Queen Mother’s secretary to complain about being left waiting.  The secretary explains that she’s not available and will see them as soon as she can.  Leia begins to understand that Tenel Ka was not expecting them.
 
The secretary explains that she canceled the conference when Prime Minister Gejjen insisted that it had to be held on the same day as the Queen’s Pageant.  Threepio explains that the Queen’s Pageant is the day the most handsome man in the Consortium is chosen.  It’s the third largest ball of the year and always occurs the last day of the third week.  It’s a tradition over 4000 years old.
 
The secretary confirms this and explains that he told Prime Minister Gejjen this personally when he called. 
 
Han suggest this has been a set-up.  Leia doesn’t understand what Gejjen is going to gain by this.  Han considers that showing up on a celebration day would only irritate Tenel Ka.  Gejjen may be trying to do that. Or he could be using them to draw Tenel Ka out in the open. 
 
Threepio adds that the palace will be filled with handsome young men, most of them strangers, so it would be an ideal time to slip in an assassin.  Security is likely to be tighter than normal.  Realizing that Tenel Ka would make the time to see them, thus disrupting her routine, they realize that they are the bait.  As much as he loves Corellia, Tenel Ka is like a daughter to him. 
 
Leia considers there must be someone close to Tenel Ka passing on this information.  If they try to warn her, the message is likely to be intercepted.  She wants to contact Tenel Ka through the Force, but Han thinks that, if she’s being watched, a sudden change in her behavior will be noticed.
 
Han decides that he’s going to break out of the room.
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#7
Jedi Cool

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chapter 6:
 
Jacen and Ben are standing in Fellowship Park in the heart of the Senate district.  Alema Rar is watching them.  She did spot Lumiya watching, too.  Then there’s another dark blur that is sneaking about.  The shadow has to be a Jedi.  Whoever it is has drawn in their Force presence.
 
Jacen asks if the Luke is still trying to use the sparring sessions to get him to lose his temper.  Ben thinks his father is really trying to teach him something.  Jacen warns him that Luke is looking for an excuse to send him back to the academy.  Whether he does or not is up to Ben.
Luke is a fine instructor, but he’s grown more conservative as he’s gotten older.  He fears that he’s failed to prepare modern Jedi for using all aspects of the Force. In some cases, he’s right.  However, Jacen feels that Ben is strong enough to do this.
 
Alema can’t believe her ears.  Luke’s own son is being sucked into the Dark Side. 
 
Jacen has other things to do tonight so Ben will have to handle the raid himself.  Ben mentions that Girdun wants Jacen to ask for more Jedi to help.  They both know Luke will not allow that, but Jacen will make sure Girdun thinks he’s considering it.  After all, the subordinates cannot be led to believe that there’s trouble with the Jedi Council.
 
Alema watches them walk off, then recognizes Tresina Lobi, one of the Jedi Masters, is the one following them.  Lumiya approaches Jacen alone and coments how he has his cousin well under control.  Jacen wonders if he should send him back to his father.
 
He’s gotten too busy to complete Ben’s training.   Lumiya thinks Ben can become a servant to emotions and that can make him Jacen’s servant if he plays it right.  Jacen objects to running roughshod over his family and friends.  They are among the people he wants to save the galaxy for, after all.  Lumiya thinks he’s more commited to them than to the mission.  The galaxy is bigger than his family.  She senses Ben will be the key to their success.
 
Jacen agrees unless he finds out that she is only using Ben to get revenge on Luke.
 
Alema knows Jacen isn’t easy to trick. This woman is doing an incredible job of using his idealism to destroy his family.  If Tresina Lobi reveals what is going on now, Luke will hunt down Lumiya and Leia could possibly redeem her son.  There’s nothing Balanced about that.
 
Jacen is angry.  The World Brain died this afternoon.  The Ferals have no guidance.  Jacen needs her to finish the list of Bothans he gave her.  The Corellians figured out how they were being tracked and they are planning to send their whole network after the dhuryam.
 
If they find out it’s dead, they won’t bother.  He needs them to attack.  The Bothans will have to die to bait the trap.  Lumiya reminds him that the BOthans will declare war.  Their ambassador is on the list. 
 
Watching Lobi sending a message, Alema realizes why she is here. She is a Jedi and Jedi serve the Balance.  She attacks Lobi, but the Master is much more powerful than she thought.  Lumiya and Jacen hear the noise.  Lumiya tells him she’ll handle it and finds Alema.
 
Alema tells her they must catch the Jedi spy quickly.  Between the two of them, they battle the Jedi Master ferociously until she’s dead.  Alema tells Lumiya she hopes they can serve her.  What is happening to Jacen is so delicious and right for the Balance.
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#8
Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 7:
 
Leia finds a public schedule for Tenel Ka and determines she’ll have to spend some time changing for a banquet.  Likely, she will spend that time with her child.  They find a room with many young nobles playing games.
 
Leia senses the assassin is here somewhere.  She spots a nervous young person that she identifies as an older woman in disguise.  Leia tries to get a guard to seal the chamber when he’s killed by a long projectile.
 
The assassin has discarded her coat which reveals a bodysuit and a wild topknot on her head.  Leia realizes she’s Force sensitive.  The security forces and the Solos battle the other assassins in the room. 
 
Pinned down on opposite sides of the corridor, they are stunned to see the female firing with two weapons before waiving the Solos out.  She tells them to come with her if they want to live. 
 
Han would rather get to the ship, but the woman has a contract to finish.  This didn’t happen quite the way she thought it would either. Han notes she obviously knows who they are.  She tells him to call her Nashtah.
 
Leia explains that Tenel Ka must know about the assassination attempt which means they will not get to her.  Han believes she didn’t think they were involved until now.  They’ve got a couple of minutes to get back to the Falcon before the hangar is sealed.  Nashtah tells them to lead on and not to double cross her because she loves killing Jedi.
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#9
Jedi Cool

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chapter 8:
 
The Consorts’ Sitting Room is covered with smoke and bodies.  Jaina and Zekk had entered the system just as her parents’ ship had left.  Zekk assures her that Han and Leia did not do this.  She knows this but she needs facts now.
 
The sergeant-at-arms takes them to see Prince Isolder who confirms with Jaina that she was the one who sent his daughter the warning.  They increased the guard and sealed the residence’s inner blast doors. 
 
Tenel Ka herself appears, thankful as well, but not understanding why Jaina’s parents were involved.  They showed up unannounced and broke out of guest quarters, heading down unfamiliar corridors to get here.
 
Zekk suggests they came here to warn her, too.  However, Tenel Ka points out that they left with the lead assassin.  Appearances are against them, but the investigation is still on-going and there are some stories that they were actually battling assassins at one point.
 
Isolder explains they’re not ignoring those accounts, but eyewitnesses are very unreliable as Zekk should know.  Zekk would prefer to question witnesses himself, but Jaina steps in, assuring him that the Hapans can do this themselves.
 
Isolder does ask that Jaina provides a list of false transponder codes the Falcon may be traveling under.  His commanders will be more careful at intercepting a ship if they know for certain it’s the Falcon.  Besides, it will only be useful while they are in Hapan space.  They’re likely to be getting out as soo as they can.
 
Jaina agrees to give the ones she knows, but she saw the ship jump to hyperspace right before landing.  She and Zekk may be able to catch it.  Tenel Ka is advised by one of her noblewomen that it wouldn’t look good to have Jedi Solo following her own parents.
 
Jaina offers instead to try to find out the identity of the lead assassin.  Tenel Ka admits she’s asked Jacen to look into it.  Jaina can’t believe she would after what’s been going on at Coruscant.  So far as the Queen Mother knows, Jacen has been working hard to protect citizens from terrorists.
 
Zekk offers to provide security for Allana instead.  Noting the alarm ringing through the Force, Jaina wonders if maybe rumors of the out-of-sight daughter having some kind of birth defect are true.  Since they are not needed here, she’d like to finish their briefing in private.
 
Tenel Ka assures her they are wanted.  In fact, she’d like to ask them a favor.
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#10
Jedi Cool

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chapter 9:
 
At the crime scene, Luke and Mara are directed to two detectives with the warning that refusing to answer all questions is considered grounds for a warrant.  Galactic Loyalty Act was amended to include the Suspicious Silence Provision early that morning.
 
Quorums are not required to approve anti-terrorism legislation.  That was approved late last evening.  Though normally favoring a strict response to terrorism, Mara is becoming increasingly irritated at the constant changes to law here.  She knows how easy it is to abuse it. 
 
Detectives Chal Tozr and Gwad Raatu approach Mara and Luke.  Tresina Lobi has been found dead.  Luke and Mara assure them that they were communicating with Chief of State Omas the night before.  The crime scene is grisly; the detectives believe she was ambushed by two beings, probably female, one with a deformed food.
 
Luke knows Lumiya is toying with him, letting him know she can get to Ben anytime she wants.  He admits he was having Tresina look after Ben just in case Lumiya tried to use him against them.  Mara is upset about not being told.
 
He explains to the detectives that Lumiya wants revenge on Luke for shooting her down and killing the Emperor.  His son is just a means to an end.  The detectives aren’t convinced and will keep all motives on the table for now.
 
Meanwhile, Mara is struggling to get in touch with Ben, but his comlink is jammed.  She argues with LeKauf that she wants him in touch with her the moment he returns.  She tells Luke and the detectives that Ben is at Crix Base – the General Crix Madine Military Reserve – which is a huge complex servicing multiple fleets, a couple of elite fighting units and the brand-new Anakin Solo.
 
The detectives wonder if Luke could recognize Lumiya from some video footage they were able to find.  Luke will try, but he doubts she will be visible.  Sure enough, the feed shows Ben, then Tresina, but no evidence of anyone following them.  Tresina’s message had come in at 1922 hours with only a quick confirmation that Lumiya was watching Ben.
 
It’s likely she was waiting for him inside the Fellowship Plaza which means she knew where he was gong to be.  Raatu reminds them that this was an ambush and that both killers were waiting in the hedges for Tresina.  Moving the feed closer to the time of her message, they watch the footage only to see a line of static flicker across the screen.  Luke believes this was a Force-flash to hide the being’s image.  
 
Going through the feeds from the Plaza’s other cameras, Raatu finds another line of static and leads them to the entrance in question.
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#11
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chapter 10:
 
Luke, Mara and the two detectives track Lumiya to the Zorp House apartment tower where they get the building manager to take them to the appropriate apartment.  They look around, finding a number of oddities.  The first is that there are booby traps.  The second is the mirrors which show the entire apartment and seem designed to make the viewer seem more attractive.  Finally, there is no luggage.  More significantly, no tool kits or replacement parts.  For someone who needs to maintain her cybernetic implants, Lumiya doesn’t seem to carry them.
 
This could mean that someone warned her they were coming.  However, she’s left a fancy outfit behind so she is surely coming back.  Raatu jacks into the Entertainment wall to find out what she’s accessed within the last month.  They find a map of the Bothan embassy, as well as a long list of addresses that correspond to the names of Bothans who’ve been killed.
 
All of the victims were members of the True Victory Party.  Raatu determines that she was getting messages from the GAG.  An attempt to read one of those messages results in a security breach being noted.
 
The building manager gives her the name of the lease holder who is supposed to be an executive with Astrotours Limited that does adventure cruises stopping at rugged world, such as Hoth, Geonosis and Dagobah .  Their comm. code is the same suffix as GAG and, when they call, they get a voice that is clearly Corporal Lekauf.
 
This is a GAG front company which means that Lumiya has been given access to GAG files.  Luke takes the comlink from an angry Mara and tells Lekauf to make sure that the Anakin Solo is delayed.  His son is not going anywhere.
 
Lekauf explains that the Anakin has already left for Hapes.  An assassination attempt on the Queen Mother has prompted her to request Colonel Solo’s aid.  By the time he’s off the call, Mara is already having Jade Shadow prepped.
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#12
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chapter 11:
 
Over Hapes, Jacen’s hands are shaking and his stomach is knotted.  He cannot be the first line of defense for his daughter.  If he spends too much time here, the nobles will suspect that he is Allana’s father.
 
He really wants to move her to the Fallanassi or the Jensaarai, but his own childhood experiences have proven that such thinking really isn’t safer.
 
As the Hapan clouds move over an island, he can almost see a face.  The mouth smiles and utters the word, “Mine”.  Soon the clouds become a face which repeats the word again and again before it drifts away. 
 
Lumiya hopes his expression doesn’t mean he’s left something at home.  She wants to know what he sees down there.  Jacen tells her not to worry about it.  She knows better.  There can be no secrets between them.  She can tell he’s troubled.  If not that, excited.  He admits that Tenel Ka was a classmate of his.  Lumiya understands too well.
 
He realizes she cannot be allowed to jump to conclusions about his relationship with Tenel Ka.  He tells her about the faces in the clouds that seemed to cover the whole galaxy as they spread.  She doesn’t know why he’s bothered by this. 
 
Jacen admits his family has been prejudiced against the idea of a Sith dynasty.  She reminds him that Darth Sidious cared more about power than his responsibility to the galaxy.  Jacen should know by now that the Sith way is the way of peace.  It does first require that justice and order be brought to the galaxy.
 
She knows he will not fall to the temptations that brought down Palpatine and Vader.  Vergere didn’t think so either which is why she chose Jacen.  They’d considered many options, such as Kyp Durron, Mara and Jaina.  Kyp was too unpredictable, Mara too attached, Jaina too emotional, Leia too frightened by the Sith legacy, Luke too tied to Jedi doctrine. 
 
They had to choose wisely because neither of them could have succeeded.  Vergere would have always had the cloud of suspicion follow her because of her affiliation with the Yuuzhan Vong.  Lumiya’s cybernetic implants limit her use of the Force in many ways.
 
Jacen was the best choice.  After he proved that he could use power responsibly at Centerpoint and was not afraid to use it when necessary as with Tsavong Lah, Vergere decided to recruit him.  Capturing him isolated him from his uncle’s teachings.  She had to destroy what Jacen was before she could turn him into what she needed.
 
So Lumiya wants to know if he truly is willing to sacrifice all he loves for the greater good.  Jacen is tired of being asked that.  Ben reports that Tenel Ka and Allana have arrived.  Lumiya exits the room and Jacen performs a security sweep before they enter.
 
Allana runs to Jacen whom she knows as her mother’s Jedi friend.  Tenel Ka is accompanied by the DD-11A defender droid and an aide named Lady Galney.  Jacen could hold his daughter forever if he could.  He tells her that hunting bad men is his job and he will find the ones who tried to hurt her mother.
 
Lady Galney does not want to leave Tenel Ka alone, but the Queen Mother insists she’ll be fine.  She wants her to go with DD and the Chume’da, Allana, who are being escorted by Ben to their guest suite. 
 
Once they are alone, Jacen and Tenel Ka pull into each other’s arms.  Jacen assures her he would’ve come to the palace.  She tells him it wasn’t safe.  She’d had all the witnesses to the attack isolated in a very secret detention center which has been used for centuries.  They were all poisoned.  Some of them were just innocent bystanders.  This isn’t just about silencing people, but to make it appear that she is killing innocents along with the guilty.  It’s a ploy to turn the nobles against her.
 
Only one company of her personal guard and some of her inner circle know about it.  .  Jacen asks about Lady Galney.  Tenel Ka insists she is one of her strongest supporters.  In fact, Jaina is delivering a summons to Lady Galney’s sister who will rally to the cause.
 
She explains Jaina arrived shortly after his parents did.  Jacen is concerned when she tells him how Han and Leia left after being involved in the attack.  They appeared unannounced, insisting they had an appointment.  She thought there was just a misunderstanding.  It’s now suspected that they were trying to disrupt her security routine.
 
She doesn’t want to believe that they would participate in the attack, but they left with the ringleader.  Some of the witnesses seemed to think they were trying to warn her about the attack, but there are many conflicting accounts.  Until the Solos are found, she is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
 
Jacen isn’t.  He immediately prepares a warrant for their arrests.  This is bigger than himself.  It may be his parents he needs to sacrifice.
 
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#13
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chapter 12:
 
The [i]Falcon[i] arrives in the Transitory Mists which absorb light and block long-range sensor readings.  They can take their time plotting their next jump.  Leia offers food while Han does the traditional sweep of homing beacons just to be safe.
 
Nasthah asks for four defrosted nerfsteaks. 
 
While she eats ferociously, draining the blood of the steaks into a glass, Nashtah is asked what species she is.  Leia recognizes that, despite her youthful appearance, the woman has lived a long life.  Nashtah tells Leia not to sense too much as the Dark Side is catching.  She will neither confirm nor deny ever being a Jedi.
 
However, her mother was human and she never knew her father who was obviously a member of a long-lived species.  If she can ever find out who he is, she may hunt him and kill him herself.
 
What is clear, however, is that Nashtah thinks the Solos are in on the assassination plot.  Leia tells her they are Corellian government agents sent to lure Tenel Ka into a public area.  Nashtah finds it suspicious as they are known to be good friends of hers.
 
Leia confesses that Tenel Ka is on the wrong side of the war and Leia is adamant that there will not be another Empire rise in her lifetime.  Han adds they will do anything to stop his son. 
 
Leia goes to to truthfully explain how she didn’t want children at first because of the risk that the Dark Side would be too tempting.  She changed her mind when she was exposed to memories of her father through the eyes of those who knew him when he was young. 
 
Leia remembers that visit to Tatooine in which she’d had visions of a cruel voice calling out, “Mine”.  She had thought the Force was trying to tell her that she should trust it with her future.  Now she wonders if it had been something darker claiming her offspring.
 
Aloud, she admits she changed her mind.  She’s not sorry she had the children, though, because all of them have done great things.  Whatever Jacen chooses for his future, she will not let him become a Darth Vader.
 
Nashtah tells them she specializes in hunting Jedi which is why she was recruited for this job.  In fact, she got to see Leia’s father race at the Boonta Eve Classic that earned him his freedom.  She was always amazed that he ran an honest race when so many others cheated.  Her father was full of surprises and she suspects Leia is, too.
 
She suggests they go to Telkur Station.
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  • The topknot, the long-lived female, the watching of the podrace all point to me that Nashtah is Aurra Sing.  I would otherwise suppose the Solos would not recognize her if it weren’t for that odd statement Leia made in a previous look about changing her hairstyle and how the Aurra Sing look is in.  Obviously, Leia knows enough about Aurra Sing to know that A) she exists and B) what her hairstyle is.

 
 
 


#14
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chapter 13:
 
 
Jaina and Zekk land at the Villa Solis to meet with Lady Galney’s sister, Ducha Galney.  They watch a dozen Miy’til starfighters meet a battle fleet in the sky, assuming that they are going to help Tenel Ka.
 
This is odd because they’re the ones supposed to be delivering the news.  Since the ships are mobilizing now, the Ducha would have had to know about the coup attempt before they even left Hapes.  Since the world of Terephon is in the Transitory Mists, there’s no HoloNet.
 
Zekk hadn’t given her any Force contact through the travel time and has only talked about seeing the Ducha.  Jaina tells him that he needs to get over whatever’s bothering him.  Zekk tells her he is over it.
 
She remembers how he’d walked off when she’s snapped at him on Hapes, yet still defended her parents.  Zekk explains that he finally realized that they were only ever going to be friends.  She’s been saying it for years, but it has become clear to him.
 
No one seems to be here.  The estate’s Droid Gatekeeper tells them they have one minute to leave.  There is no appointment scheduled for them with the Ducha.  The Droid insists she’s not here, but the Jedi got their information from the Royal Intelligence Service which hasn’t been wrong about any of the other nobles they’ve visited.
 
An ugly woman in a dirty apron let them in.  She explains her name is Entora Zar and she critizes their piloting upon approach.  She’s done a lot of flying herself…in simulators. 
 
Jaina decides she’s not arguing about this as it’s an obvious delaying tactic.  She thinks they are here but in hiding.  Jaina demands to know where the emergency shelter is.  Six large creatures race out of a nearby cave, launching themselves toward the Jedi.
 
They ignite their lightsabers but Zar begs them not to hurt her babies.  They are the Ducha’s hunting murgs and Zar is their handler.  The Ducha was offended by their arrival and left.  She heard the sonic booms and told Zar to stay behind.
 
Jaina watches a Hapan luxury yacht fly into the sky.  There is nothing in the hangar.  Jaina asks if the Ducha regularly evacuates the entire household when she leaves the Villa. Zar admits that usually at least 20 stay behind.  She also tells them the fleet has been gathering above for a week.
 
This means that Ducha Galney has been preparing this before she could know about the coup attempt.  Zar doesn’t know anything about it.  Zekk tells her to go find someplace safe.  He thinks the Ducha is going to hit her own villa to cover up her own involvement in the attack.
 
Sure enough, a couple of YVH droids appear.  Jaina thinks Luke needs to talk to Lando about who he sells these things to.  Zar tries to call them off, but they don’t listen.  Blaster cannons go off, sending Jaina and Zekk flying.  The murgs take off and slam into the droids; the smallest holding Zar’s dead body in its mouth.
 
Jaina calls for Sneaker to fire up the engines quickly.  They battle the droids furiously until the Miy’tils come back and destroy the StealthXs.  Zekk slices through the gate controls to get them off the estate before one of the bombs get them, too.
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#15
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chapter 14:
 
At the Telkur Station Cantina, Han and Leia watch Nashtah head for the bar.  Han doesn’t like this, but Leia admits she’s their only lead.  They can’t take the chance that she will disappear on them.
 
This place is probably being watched by Hapan Security and Nashtah had refused to allow disguises to be worn because her contact won’t show up unless they are all recognizable.  She seems intent on exposing them all.
 
After a few minutes of drinking, Nashtah tells Leia that someone is watching her.  He doesn’t look Hapan, though.  Han notes the young man with a beard and dark hair who quickly tries to move out of the way with military precision.  Leia thinks he almost married their daughter.
 
They reach the table where they are pleased to find that they didn’t kill Jagged Fel after all.  Leia explains they asked about him many times but Aristocra Formbi kept saying it was a military secret.  Jag tells them it was because he was marooned for two years.
 
Tenupe is a dangerous planet.  While there was a recovery team sent out immediately, it vanished so the Ascendancy decided not to risk any more lives for one man.  His family hired a private company that lost another search party, but he repaired one of the commsets left behind and was able to make contact with the next one that showed up.
 
He came here to look for the Solos.  It’s not about Jaina as she’s caused his family enough problems for one lifetime.  But they need to know that Alema Rar is alive.  She killed the spidersloth before it had a chance to eat her.  He found a Twi’lek memory cord on Tenupe right after he discovered the bodies of the search party.  The vessel was missing and he followed the tracks of a lame female to a cave where she’d been living.
 
His family researched the memory cord which recounts how she killed the creature, her wounds and recovery via a group of Killiks she’d summoned to care for her and all the wounds she’d gotten at Leia’s hands and the means which which Alema wanted to retaliate.  The Killiks were from different nests and, cut off from the others, they died over time.
 
He has come back to keep an eye on the Solos and keep Alema from restarting the Dark Nest.  This isn’t a military assignment as he’s been exiled from the Ascendancy.  When he guaranteed Lowbacca’s parole which made his family liable for the expenses the Wookiee caused if the parole was violated.  When the Thrago Supply Depot was attacked, the Fel family couldn’t afford those expenses and Jag was forced to leave.
 
Finding Alema will redeem his family’s honor and give it the means to rebuild its fortune, but he can not return to the Ascendancy.  The Solos are bait.  Han wants to know what led Jag here.  He isists he saw a communiqué from Admiral Bwua’tu who felt Corellia would try to convince Hapes to take their side.  Since they’d known Tenel Ka since she was a child, it seemed reasonable that the Corellians would send them.
 
From Hapes, he followed Hapan Security to this station.  He indicates the security officers nearby who followed them after the attack on the Queen Mother.  This really isn’t his fight so he leaves.  It doesn’t take them long to figure out which ones are security. 
 
Han fires a couple of times but, upon standing, he and Leia become dizzy.  Nashtah explains that Renatyl is a favorite of bounty hunters.  No one ingesting it notices until they try to stand up.  She’s not going with them because she hates being drugged.  She fires her weapon.
 
Leia lasts longer with her lightsaber.  Han gets a bolt to the side.  When the forces are dead, he thinks they need to get out of here, accusing Nashtah of testing them rather than trying to meet a contact.  Backup forces will be here soon. 
 
However, Nashtah finds a woman who turns out to be Lady Morwan.  The bounty hunter points out that the actions of the agents prove the Solos are on her side.  The assassination plot was as setup.  Leia confirms that someone was waiting for them.  Someone on the council is a spy.
 
Lady Morwan wants Nashtah to concentrate on the Chume’da first.  She will be hidden now.  She has brought a small anonymous ship and is forced to give the entry codes.  Nashtah is leaving now, but does give them contact information for when they want to take care of Jacen.
 
Leia insists it’s not going to happen as Jacen is their son.  Nashtah points out that Tenel Ka is their friend, yet here they are.
 
They offer Lady Morwan a ride.
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#16
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chapter 15:
 
It isn’t until they are away from Telkur Station that Han agrees to have his wound treated.  Morwan directs them to the Interior.  Once they figure out for whom she’s working, they can pass it on quickly. 
 
Leia explains the Interior is fine.  They’ve been working on their own since the assassination attempt failed.  Morwan acknowledges that the Council wants the Queen Mother dead since they hired Aurra Sing.
 
Leia recognizes the name as belonging to a killer of Jedi during the Old Republic . Lady Morwan tells her that she is dedicated to the Consortium’s independence, but that doesn’t mean she takes any joy in the loss of the Queen Mother or her daughter.
 
See-Threepio jumps in to explain that Aurra Sing was a 9-year old Jedi trainee captured by pirates more than 75 years ago and blamed the Order for not rescuing her.  When she became a bounty hunter, she was captured by the Jedi Aalya Secura and imprisoned on Oovo IV which has no record of her release.
 
Han points out that the Yuuzan Vong leveled Oovo IV and incinerated the records, the guards and most of the prisoners.  If Aurra Sing escaped during the attack, there would be no record of it anyway.  In any event, she’s hardly as well-known as she was in the past.
 
Morwan tells them Aurra found her first.  She’d been looking for someone who could kill Jedi and ran across Aurra’s name.  The search must have triggered an alarm because she showed up a couple of weeks later.  At that point, Morwan had to hire her or be killed.
 
She isn’t a member of the Council so the coup will go on regardless of what she does.  She’s not the spy, though.  Morwan does insist on going back to get supplies to treat Han’s wounds.
 
Leia suggests he use the cam in the medbay to get an image they can pass on to Hapan Intelligence.  She knows that he’s troubled by working against Corellia like this.  Han admits he hates being played by Gejjen. 
 
Before they left their lfie on Coruscant, Corellia was in the right.  Leia reminds him they agreed that Corellia was entitled to independence but only if it will willing to accept complete independence.  Han goes on to point out how Thrackan was playing games from the start and Gejjen wants to use them to expand the war.
 
They can’t go back to the Alliance , so he thinks they should keep doing what they’re doing, even though keeping the Consortium out of the war might be the difference for Corellia.  He can’t let Tenel Ka and her little girl be killed.
 
In the meantime, Lady Morwan turns out to have had field surgeon experience.  She admits she moved on after the Qoribu incident.  Leia realizes she served aboard the Kendall with Gray.  Since Hapan officers tend to bring command staff from their own houses, Leia surmises that the ringleader of the coup attempt is the Ducha.
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  • Leia’s recall of the basic detail about Aurra Sing does not lead me to believe she knows a great deal about her to make a joke about her hairstyle.  Just sayin’.

  • However, it appears we have a general idea of Aurra’s age.  It was over 75 years ago when she was captured by pirates.  Since she was nine at the time, she was probably born about 44 years BBY at the latest.  She was captured 9 years later which is 35 years BBY again at the latest.  Unfortunately, 35 years BBY is about 4 years before TPM.  Unless she was 14 when she watched the Boonta Eve podrace, then she was born earlier than 44 BBY.  She is at least 84 right now.

  • Further, considering that she was battling Jax Pavan in the Coruscant Nights trilogy, her escape from Oovo IV was long before the Yuuzhan Vong trashed the place.

 
 


#17
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chapter 16:
 
Luke can barely sleep since learning how close Lumiya is to the GAG and his son.  They are on the Jade Shadow now, moving closer to the Star Destroyer that Luke doesn’t like being named for his dead nephew.
 
Mara tells him they’ve gotten a holorecording from Han relayed through the Jedi Temple.  They are, apparently, spying on the coup plotters who’d tried to assassinate the Queen Mother and have discovered the name of one of the ringleaders.  She’s already tried to pass it on to Tenel Ka but the signal was routed to Prince Isolder instead.  He suggested she try again once they board the Anakin.
 
It seems Tenel Ka is there protecting her child.  Luke can’t help but think of what a sad lonely life Tenel Ka leads.  Mara thinks it’s reasonable that she would go to an old friend, especially a very close one.  Luke wonders if she thinks Jacen and Tenel Ka are involved.  They know he sneaks off every few months to see someone.  He thinks the Queen Mother has made too many sacrifices for the stability of the throne to enter into a romantic relationship with a Jedi.  It would be too dangerous.
 
It’s not impossible, but he can’t be Allana’s father.  She was conceived during the six months that all of the Jedi who had been exposed to the Killik nests were confined to Ossus.  If he’d been slipping off to see her, they would have known.  Speculating about this only endangers Allana further.
 
However, Luke is willing to concede that Jacen did visit Tenel Ka when he asked her to send a fleet to Qoribu.  It’s possible her pregnancy lasted a year.  Mara thinks he’s just being cruel now.
 
In the meantime, he admits he’s dreamed about the face again.  It has to be Jacen.  Mara points out that they have no evidence that Jacen is working with Lumiya.  She could have corrupted someone in the GA.  Luke can’t automatically accuse Jacen just because he doesn’t like his methods.  Luke agrees if Mara concedes that her support of Jacen is largely based on his success opening Ben up to the Force.
 
She admits that’s probably true, which is why they need each other more than ever.  If Jacen has been using his position as mentor to undermine their authority, both of them will be needed to stop it.  She is still certain that Ben needs to follow his own path, but so do they.  Perhaps that path will merge with Ben’s at this point.
 
Luke asks about Jacen’s path.  Mara is pragmatic as always.  Jacen won’t have a path because they will have to end it.  If he’s working with Lumiya, they won’t have a choice.  Luke reminds her that the fault lies with what Jacen went through during his time with the Yuuzhan Vong.  He can’t give up on his nephew yet.
 
Mara isn’t surprised but tells him he shouldn’t extend his redemption goal to Lumiya. 
 
When they land on the Anakin, they are greeted by about 20 GAG officers and a black-clad, black-caped Jacen Solo who might as well be on a reruiting poster for Corellian terrorists with the impression he’s giving.
 
He tells them Ben is on a mission in a comm. blackout zone, but offers to contact him for them.  Luke wants to talk about Ben later.  For now, they need to speak with Tenel Ka.  He is hesitant to admit she’s aboard because her presence is supposed to be confidential, but does agree.
 
He sends security for Tenel Ka, explaining that it will take a few minutes because of the protection around her.  He’d like to know why they’re here as he can sense their hostility.  They are the only family he has left.  Luke reminds him of Jaina and his parents, but Jacen admits that, after the Corellian incident, he and his sister aren’t speaking.
 
He has to enforce the rules even for Jaina.  That’s the whole problem with this Corellian thing.  They want to follow different rules from everyone else.  His parents tried to assassinate the ruler of an Alliance member state.  They’re terrorists.
 
Luke realizes how much Jacen is willing to sacrifice to prevent another war.  He’s nearly become like the Yuuzhan Vong in his intolerance of anyone who isn’t as committed as himself.  Jacen is falling because of his selflessness.
 
Ben is in the Transitory Mists, looking for Jaina and Zekk who disappeared while on a mission to deliver a message for Tenel Ka.  He’s aboard a reconnaissance skiff with a trained crew.  Luke and Mara are upset because Jacen has been told Lumiya is back and may try to attack Ben.  They confront him about how she’s been working for the GAG.
 
Luke flatly accuses Jacen of thinking he can use Lumiya for his own ends.  Jacen’s attempts at denying it and changing the subject do not work.  They found she had been staying in a GAG safehouse and had been accessing their files on the True Victory Party.
 
She also left the safehouse the same day the Anakin Solo left coruscant.  They will handle her themselves, but Ben is done working for the GAG.  He would like to know about any agent they find who is working with Lumiya.
 
Luke and Mara provide an altered version of the story to see how much Jacen knows about Lumiya.  They explain how Tresina Lobi was tracking Lumiya and had commed the Temple with her address before she was found dead in Fellowship Plaza the morning he left for Hapes.
 
Jacen is genuinely shocked at this news.  At this point, Tenel Ka enters the room with her chamberlain, Lady Galney.  After a brief discussion about the defense fleet Admiral Niathal is assembling, Luke and Mara ask that Lady Galney leave the room so they can deliver a message to Tenel Ka.
 
They play Han’s message. Looking haggard and pale, Han shows a picture of Lady Morwan, explaining that she’s the contact person between the nobles who are trying to assassinate Tenel Ka – the Heritage Council – and the assassin they hired, a former Jedi named Aurra Sing.  They suspect Morwan is a member of the AlGray House in the Consortium.  She has indicated that Allana is to be the primary target for now.  They’ve also learned that Alema Rar is running around again.  They apologize to Tenel Ka for the mess at the palace.  They were being used by Dur Gejjen to set her up without knowing about it.
 
Tenel Ka thinks it’s easier to believe they were being manipulated than actually trying to kill her.  Jacen agrees that it does explain the witnesses who claimed his parents were trying to prevent the attack.  If they were being used, they would have tried to stop what was happening as soon as they realized it.
 
Luke is relieved that Jacen is not only open to the idea that his parents are innocent, but is looking for reasons to believe them. Mara plays devil’s advocate and thinks they should also consider the Solos are working for the other side and could be deceiving them.  Jacen thinks she doesn’t know his parents very well if she thinks that.  He tells Tenel Ka that she should trust this message.
 
However, they can’t tip off that they know there’s a traitor in the Hapan court so the capture and detain order for his parents will have to remain in force.   Tenel Ka must command her Home Fleet, but she wants Allana to stay away from Hapes. 
 
When she moves against the Heritage Council, those opposing her on Hapes will move against her.  Allana will be in far more danger at home than on the Anakin Solo
 
Glad that there is still hope that he can pull Jacen back to the light, Luke tells them they will track down Ben and then find Lumiya.
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Perhaps Luke is right in that Jacen can still be pulled back to the light at this point.  However, Luke is short-sighted if he blames the Yuuzhan Vong for Jacen’s issues.  He knows about Vergere’s teachings.  He knows about Jacen’s five-year study with other Force users.  He knows Jacen has been doing what he wants and getting away with it for a long time.  The fact that they can’t use the Force to determine that their speculating about Allana’s father is dead-on really disturbs me.  With all their worry that Jacen is following Darth Vader’s footsteps, they do not correlate their knowledge that Anakin was trying to protect his wife and unborn child with the possibility that Jacen may be trying to protect a girlfriend and daughter.

 
 


#18
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chapter 17:
 
Alema Rar finds the missle hold of the Anakin Solo to be frigid.  Lumiya is trying to cut through a baradium missle in the light of the glowrod Alema is mishandling.  Alema wonders why she can’t just have Jacen arrange to get the proton detonator charge.
 
Lumiya admits Jacen can’t know about this.  Alema had suspected as much,  but reminds Lumiya that the Balance needs Jacen alive so he can become a Sith to make his mother’s pain equal to that of Alema’s.  Lumiya tells her she’s doing this for Jacen who had wanted her to rendezvous with Ben at the refueling depot and make sure he rejoins the Anakin safely.
 
Alema points out that Ben is on a recon skiff which can find it’s way without a problem.  It sounds suspicious.  Lumiya agrees, especially since the request came in after the Skywalkers left.  He’s sending her into a trap by putting her and Luke together.
 
But this is a good thing, but she was getting worried he lacked the cunning to fulfill his destiny.  If he can’t betray her, he certainly won’t do the same to his entire family.  Alema warns her that Master Skywalker could kill her.  Lumiya knows this but all Jacen really has to do at this point is to make his sacrifice.  He hasn’t chosen that yet.
 
But whether she dies or not, Luke will not survive.  That’s what the proton detonator is for.  This is bigger than her or anyone else.  She is not the last of the Sith.  The plan will be carried out whether or not she survives.
 
She starts work on another missle.  She will wear one charge, Alema the other.
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------
 


#19
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chapter 18:
 
At the Villa Solis, Ben confirms that the place is ruined.  He also knows Zekk and Jaina were here.  The planetary defense force is coming out here, concerned that the ships are planning to destroy something.
 
Ben leads his team to Jaina and Zekk, picks them up and flies off into space before they can be intercepted.  The two Jedi explain to Ben how they’d come to meet with Ducha Galney who was already mustering her forces well before she could have known about the assassination attempt.  It was her starfighters that bombed the villa and her defenses that tried to kill Jaina and Zekk.
 
They believe she is using her sister to spy on Tenel Ka.  Ben reveals that Lady Galney knew he was coming out her to check on them.  Tenel Ka is counting on support from the Ducha to supplement her defenses. 
 
It’s possible the aide isn’t even a knowing spy.  She could reveal things without knowing her sister is a traitor and that could explain why Tenel Ka hasn’t sensed any deception from her.
 
Ben agrees to send a report to Jacen.  He reveals that Tenel Ka is with him aboard the Anakin Solo.  Jaina is furious when she finds out the GAG has its own Star Destroyer that’s named after her dead brother.
 
Ben knew there were bad feelings between Jaina and Jacen, but he never understood why.  Jaina clearly allows her anger to use her, not the other way around.  When he sends the message, he also adds that Jaina is upset about the ship’s name.  Maybe Jacen can avoid another argument.
 
They receive a response almost immediately after sending it.  It’s an automated message an SD leaves when they have to change posts.  The skiff is told to rendezvous at the Roqoo Depot.  They’ll have to keep trying to send the message until the Anakin gets it.
 
Jaina and Zekk insist they go to Hapes to deliver the message personally.  If the Anakin isn’t there, it means Tenel Ka is back on her homeworld. 
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#20
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chapter 19:
 
When the task force emerges from hyperspace at Relephon, Jacen feels something prickle along his spine.  Nothing is happening and he feels that Ducha Galney would surely deploy her forces by now.
 
Major Espara of the Hapan royal guard has been sent as an advisor.  She suspects that the coup is moving faster than they thought.  Jacen asks how many aides and pilots she brought.  Espara explains that only two aides came and the pilots were from the Royal Transportation Pool.  Jacen perceives the problem started there.
 
Of course, Espara is confused by all of this, not knowing that Allana is still aboard the ship.  Jacen races for the lift tube where he is commed by the SD-XX droid reporting that someone is trying to enter the girl’s cabin.
 
Jacen orders a lockdown and heads to Allana’s cabin. The commander’s deck is scorched.  He races through, reaching out in the Force to find Allana who can sense him.   She doesn’t seem to be afraid at all at first until a cold presence bursts in. 
 
The Defender Droid is cut to pieces by Sing.  Jacen uses the Force to order her to wait.  She reacts badly to being dominated through the Force and tosses a thermal detonator toward the refresher in Allana’s room.  Jacen calls it back to him.  They fight each other until Allana opens the door.
 
Jacen kicks Sing in the knee, collapsing her.  Allana has a small silver object in her hand, raises it over her head and dives.  Sing tries to kick at the girl with a knife in her boot.  Jacen screams and pulls her away from Allana who take the opportunity to jab the autoinjector into her injured knee.
 
She says the doctor told her that the person won’t be dangerous again until they’re given the antidote.  Allana assures Sing that Jedi don’t kill helpless people.  Jacen takes her hand and says they just put bad people away for a long time.
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#21
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chapter 20:
 
The Falcon  emerges from hyperspace  to find a comet.  Leia reminds him they agreed to return Morwan to her Ducha.  The comet is clustered by several Corellian Dreadnaughts that have been sent to help Hapes’ defenses.  It appears that AlGray will be the new Queen Mother.
 
Morwan assures them that political power wasn’t the reason the coup was organized.  She only wants to keep the Consortium independent.  She opens a channel and requests to join the Kendall .
 
She explains how she was forced to give her ship to the agent and Leia offered her a ride.  The Ducha explains that they can fall behind the fleet when they make their attack-jump.  She can tell the rest of the story after the battle and cuts off contact.
 
During transit, Han transmits their location right before the jump to hyperspace.  Threepio notices this and goes on about how he could have done that.  They are forced to make up some story to abate Morwan’s curiosity.
 
When they revert, they are hit by a turbolaser.  Leia is at the yoke with Han yelling instructions at her.  Morvan finally tells him to let his wife fly before he gets them all killed.  When the Falcon gets passed the danger, Han accuses the Royal Navy of ambushing them. 
 
As it is, the Kendall is taking a lot of damage.  Morwan pulls out a blaster.  She threatens to shoot Han if Leia doesn’t turn back into the battle.  They’re to send a message to tell Tenel Ka to hold her position.  The Corellian Dreadnaughts are sure to punch through that line to get to her.
 
Leia turns the ship back, but Han won’t have that.  He pushes the weapon away from his body, taking some fire to his hand bfore slamming his elbow into Morwan’s nose.  Leia tells him he’s getting shot up for no reason.  She’s still sending the message.
 
Once they do, the Corellians will know they are working against him.  Han wil be branded a traitor.  Han doesn’t care about his reputation when it’s Tenel Ka’s life on the line.
 
She explains she sensed they were being watched back at the comet.  She thinks it was Tesar.  Whoever was watching the Kiris fleet followed it here.  Han opens a channel and sends the message.
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#22
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chapter 22:
 
Leia wonders why the GA fleet isn’t pouncing yet.  Han is trying to fix the shields, the Noghri are firing the cannons and Threepio is no help at all. 
 
It takes a great deal of insane flying before the GA shows up in the wrong place, coming out from behind a moon.  The Falcon leaves it behind as the Battle Dragons hold their position while slowly falling back towad Hapes.
 
They’re glad Tenel Ka trusted them but hope it doesn’t get her killed.  Bwua’tu took a lot of time getting here. 
 
The Falcon takes more damage as another group of ships arrive.
 
The Galney fleet had sped past Ben’s Rover out of hyperspace.  The feeling of death in the Force reminds him of the war with the Yuuzhan Vong.  He knows now that the Force isn’t causing death, but people are.
 
That’s why the galaxy needs Jacen.
 
He wants to send a message to Tenel Ka, warning her. Lt. Ioli reminds him it will have be sent over hailing frequencies.  He records a message that Ducha Galney is a traitor about to launch an attack on the Queen Mother. 
 
Ioli tells him to get to the rear and suit up for EV.  He notes there are only four suits and six people.  She tells him to hurry up.  If the Queen Mother is to have a fighting chance, they have to get close enough to the ship.  They’ll swing around and pick the EV crew up if they aren’t destroyed. 
 
He, Jaina, Zekk and the gunner all go EV and hold their tethers together.  As soon as the message is sent, the Ducha’s ships open fire on the Rover and destroy it.
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#23
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chapter 23:
 
The battle is full of friendlies and hostiles as Jacen has already had experience with.  He wonders if this is what he was being prepared for, to deal with a society that devours itself and sends assassins to kill little children.
 
He is told that Alliance rescue beacons are out here.  Major Esparsa lectures him about diverting this fleet to rescue a mere handful when the Queen Mother is in danger.  Jacen orders tracking locks put on the beacons so they can be rescued after the danger is over.
 
He’s also told that a message dinghy that had been sent to Roqoo Depot was waiting to be taken aboard when they reverted.  Jacen orders the pilot sent to him immediately.
 
He also keeps an eye on both his cabin, in which Allana is playing, and the cell that houses a bound Aurra Sing.  He’s expecting her to try to break out soon.  He’s also surprised and disappointed to see that the Hapan Battle Dragons are equipped with long-range turbolasers.  Espara tells him Admiral Pellaeon shared the technology when two fleets were assigned to the GA.
 
So far only the ones in their task force have the weapons.  Jacen wants to break through the ships hitting the Hapan flagship, but he knows that will endanger Allana. Espara isn’t helping matters by pressing him to rescue Tenel Ka.
 
Jacen decides to stand off for now with two Battle Dragons.  Espara takes that for cowardice and he uses the Force to close off her breath.  Eighteen Battle Dragons are on their way to save Tenel Ka.  He can’t help but think that the intelligence his parents provided was not helpful at all.  It hadn’t stopped Aurra Sing from attacking and has sent him to Relephon at the wrong time. 
 
He releases Espara and seizes her comlink and those of her aides. 
 
The pilot arrives on deck and Jacen knows it’s not Lumiya.  The voice tells him they have news of his master, the Sith Lumiya, from Roqoo Depot.  Jacen realizes this is Alema Rar.  He grabs her with the Force.  She is delighted to know he would really kill her without a thought.
 
She thinks he should do it as they are the only ones who know about Allana’s ties to Jacen.  Jacen has always feared the Gorog passed this news along and now he knows it.  She admits that Gorog tried to kill his daughter.  He should kill her now.
 
Jacen is tempted, but he needs to know what happened at Roqoo.  She admits that she and Lumiya failed.  They’ve been working together for awhile.  She explains how they met and worked to kill Tresina Lobi.  She has helped assassinate several members of the Bothan True Victory Party before coming aboard the Anakin Solo with Lumiya and then going with her to meet the Skywalkers.
 
Lumiya knew he was trying to allay their suspicions about him and is proud that he has the strength needed.  Both of them have been worried that he’s too committed to his family.  She has returned but Lumiya had a proton detonator that went off in a cantina.  His aunt and uncle barely escaped and are returning to Hapes.
 
She damaged the Jade Shadow to give him time to prepare for them.  They know he set them up, too, since Ben wasn’t there.  He reaches out in the Force and can sense four presences in space.  Jaina is angry.  Zekk and Ben are out there, too.  A ship called Longshot is headed toward them.
 
Alema asks if that isn’t one of the Falcon’s false transponder codes.  She wonders if it’s a good idea to let them capture his apprentice.  He insists that they will help Ben.  He remembers how the Dark Nest worked by using one’s doubts against a person.  Jacen assures her that his parents may be siding with Corellia, but they are not terrorists. 
 
He has an escort take her off the ship, warning her that he will hunt her down personally if she ever exposes his relationship to Allana or goes anywhere near his family again.
 
He knows she was trying to get him to doubt his parents, but he can’t help but wonder.  There are so many unanswered questions about their role in that attack.  The intelligence they’d passed on wasn’t really helpful either.
 
Lumiya had been right in that Jacen just hadn’t been willing to put his mission above his loyalty to his family.  His attachments had almost cost Allana her mother and the GA the war.  He orders the Anakin to break off and engage the Battle Dragons and to fire upon the Longshot.  He’s reminded what that ship is.  He knows this.  He also knows that the ship is nearing the four EV crewers of the Rover.  It’s still the right thing to do.
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  • Where is Jacen, exactly?  The beginning of the chapter says he’s in the Command Salon of the Anakin Solo and there is nothing to indicate throughout the chapter that he ever left it. Major Espara and her aides were with him because he personally confiscated their comlinks.  There is no indication they ever left the room either.  His aide comes in and out every so often, but that’s it.  Yet Jacen has a very compromising conversation with Alema Rar in person about Allana.  Who heard this conversation if Jacen never left the room?  And who all witnessed him choking Espara?
  • I’m confused as to why the message from his parents wasn’t helpful.  They told him that they suspected that the Ducha Galney was a traitor and that Alema Rar is lurking about.  They didn’t give fleet movements or positions that would bring Jacen’s ships there at the wrong time.  They didn’t give any strategic information at all!  Is that what upsets Jacen?
  • Jacen considers that he had some doubts before Alema even showed up.  Yet he acknowledges that the Dark Nest had the ability to play on doubts.  Is this a case where Jacen just doesn’t think it’s possible for him to be manipulated?  Cause I’m here to say that it is very possible!


#24
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chapter 24:
 
The Falcon has just pulled Jaina, Zekk, Ben and the Rover gunner aboard when it’s rocked by a hit from some idiot in a Star Destroyer.  Han goes to check the pressure leak, but is slowed down by Ben who is sorry to put him under arrest.
 
Zekk decides to handle this, while Jaina goes after the pressure leak.  She thinks it’s more than they can handle.  Han tells her that Chewie and he used to get banged up in the Corporate Sector like this all the time.
 
She shows him the display. The upper cannon turret is gone and a lot of the lower one.  The access tunnel has lost pressure.  The two Noghri, Cakhmaim and Meelwah, had been in those turrets.  Han promises the commander of that Star Destroyer a detonite sandwich.
 
Jaina would like her parents to get into EV suits, but Han refuses.  He finds Ben looking at a tactical display instead of looking for more pressure leaks.  Ben thinks they should stop trying to escape and surrender to the Star Destroyer.  It’s the Anakin Solo, Jacen’s ship.
 
Han is stunned, shocked, appalled and every other emotion in between to find out a GAG ship has been named after his dead son.   Ben insists they surrender and pulls his lightsaber on Jaina.  Zekk comes up behind him and twists the saber out of the way, but sustains a serious injury doing it.  Jaina grabs the weapon. 
 
Han tells them to get to the escape pod.  It can only hold four and he and Leia are not surrendering to Jacen or anyone else.  They’ve been in worse situations.
 
The others leave.  Leia says they’re ready to jump.  Threepio reminds them that Lady Morwan is still locked in the forward hold.  When the hyperdrive jumps in, Han reminds Leia that she still has him.
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  • Poor Cakhmaim!  We met him as far back as The Last Command.

 
 




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