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chapter 1:


Guilt doesn’t keep Jacen Solo awake at night, but the awareness that he should feel guilty and doesn’t.


Aboard the Anakin Solo, Jacen’s mind races as it has every day since rescuing Tenel Ka from an insurrection started by her nobles and aided by the Corellians. Believing his parents were a part of that coup, he’d fired on the Millennium Falcon. It would seem they had no connection to the plot, but he doesn’t really feel badly about what he did.


What kind of a father does that make him?


While trying to relax, he has a vision of his mother wielding the lightsaber Mara used to use. The one that had belonged to Luke and his father before him. They battle before they both fly through the viewport. He wakes up, asking if Lumiya is responsible for that.


It’s only been fifteen minutes since the last time he checked his watch.


The Beetle Nebula lands on a docking platform while Kyp Durron watches from a distance. Veterans of the recent battle near Hapes are aboard. The Jade Shadow lands nearby. Kyp goes to greet the Skywalkers and Jaina.


Zekk will make a full recovery but will be out of action for now. Kyp confirms that only he knows how the injury happened. All lightsaber accidents that cause harm to a living being have to be investigated. Any Master on duty at the time can be randomly assigned that job.


Everyone who witnessed it said it was an accident and Luke’s report makes it very clear, as well. Mara feels a bit awkward, as if the whole galaxy has their eyes on her as a bad mother.


Chief Omas and Admiral Niathal want to see them, too. This time they want Luke to make Jacen a Jedi Master.


Captain Uran Lavint of the cargo vessel Breathe My Jets fancies herself of the Han Solo-type of smuggler. She needs this mission to pay off her creditors and start over.


She tells her crew in all of the ships that they are making their final jump and will either be attacked by GA forces or won’t be. If not, they will be making a nice sum off of the armaments they’re carrying. The jump takes only a few seconds when they’re pulled out of hyperspace by an Interdictor.


On the Anakin Solo, Jacen is told by one of the civilian employees aboard, Ebbak, that their agent wants to speak with him. In his office, he finds Captain Lavint and her associate, Blatta, who asks if he has any assignments before she left.


Jacen tells her she’s lying. He doesn’t appreciate his time being wasted either. He wants her off the ship and tells her she will be taking Duracrud instead of Breathe My Jets which he is confiscating.


She asks him what it is like to have once been a hero.


After she leaves, he has Ebbak adjust the Duracrud’s hyperdrive so it will fail after one jump. He can’t let people speak to him like that. Ebbak warns him she could die. He thinks that, if she doesn’t, she will be a better person for it.

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chapter 2:


Admiral Wedge Antilles meets with Jacen who expects him to admit that the position of the Corellian government is hopeless. Wedge tells him that he’s here because Jacen wanted a meeting with a representative from Corellia in the hopes that the military victory at Hapes would allow him to make peace in a way that will boost his political career.


Jacen has to hide his anger at Wedge’s words hitting close to the mark. He does, however, note that Wedge shouldn’t be making accusation after that coup attempt on Tenel Ka. Wedge assures Jacen that he knew nothing about that and Jacen knows it.


If Wedge had planned it, it wouldn’t have failed.


Jacen tells him that the truth of the matter is that Corellia cannot win. None of the planets offering verbal support has actually rebelled, too. The smuggler convoy he is expecting is not going to arrive either. Wedge thinks it’s amusing that Jacen would claim Corellia has no friends and then go on to say that help was intercepted. Jacen would argue that smugglers are not friends. Wedge counters that Jacen should know that smugglers can become friends, unless he believes the GA doesn’t need friends or, at least, not friends like his father or Wedge.


Besides, Wedge has a vested interest in seeing the GA and Corellia reunited so he can get that well-earned pension of his.


Jacen isn’t interested in glib remarks, so Wedge points out, in all seriousness, that the coalition government is new. Jacen doesn’t need an answer today. Provoking one will make no one happy. He suggests Jacen sit back and negotiate in good faith.


He will go back and suggest Corellia rejoin with full acceptance of GA admission terms with no threat of reparations, under-the-table measures and the end of maligning the Corellian reputation. Jacen agrees to try so long as there are no more incidents like the bombing on Coruscant.


Wedge asks what he’s planning to do when this is all done. He’s hoping Jacen will go back to rescuing animals from trees. Jacen expects he will combine studying with his duties in the GAG. Wedge wants to give him some advice, as an old friend of the family. Janson always said that the way to tell someone is a fanatic is when that person has lost his sense of humor about an important aspect of his life. He’s lost his perspective. Jacen has completely lost his and is doing things he never would have done when he was younger.


Jacen thinks about those words in conjunction with what Captain Lavint said. It’s hard even for him to remember being an awkward teenager who loved animals and told corny jokes. That life ended when his brother died on Myrkr and the cute animals were replaced by Jedi-hunting voxyn.


Vergere had taught him to survive in any circumstance, to distance himself from everything. That still doesn’t explain why he’s doing things now he never would have done before, such as firing on his parents’ ship.


As much as Jacen’s mind tries to convince him that he couldn’t be sure it was really them, another second voice, like Vergere’s, tells him that he knew. That he was willing to kill Zekk, Jaina and Ben, too, to protect his daughter. Jacen admits he would have sacrificed them, but it was the wrong decision because his parents were really at fault. The second voice reminds him that it was the right decision based on the information he had at the time.


Would he do it again if he truly knew that they were enemies that stood between himself and his daughter? Jacen would.


He finally understands what happened to the boy he’d been and doesn’t really miss him. He is able to sleep now.

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chapter 3:


Luke, Mara, Kyp and Admiral Niathal meet with Chief Omas. Luke knows that Chief Omas would like Luke to make Jacen a master. Luke and Mara argue that his age and his power is not what is keeping him from the position. He lacks the emotional maturity and is making unfortunate decisions while refusing guidance.


Omas really doesn’t have an emotional investment here, so Luke suspects this request is just a favor for Niathal or some of the others in Jacen’s circle. However, Omas does turn to Kyp as being one who was in favor of Jacen’s elevation.


Kyp explains he was just contributing a taras-chi to the debate. It’s a Jedi tradition that allows for counterproductive ideas to be introduced into meetings. He elaborates that the meeting was about Jacen’s activities and how appropriate they were for a Jedi. Kyp spoke out in favor of them and proposed they elevate him to test how committed they were to the principles involved.


He supports the decision of the Master of the Order. Kyp goes on to remind them how he was powerful enough as a teenager to pull a ship out of a gas giant. He doubts he could do it today, not because he’s lost power, but because he now understands how his motivations were wrong. He would lack the focus to be able to do the deed. Was having that power then reason to make him a Master at 16?


Omas does point out that Jacen is older than Kyp was then and suspects Luke just resents the fact that Jacen doesn’t come to him for advice.


Luke assures Omas that he’ll continue to evaluate Jacen and the Chief will be the first to know if he decides Jacen is ready to be promoted. On the way out, Mara asks Kyp what a taras-chi is. He tells her it’s a bug in the mines of Kessel that was good for nourishment when there was nothing else.


He felt it was important to show unity in front of the politicians. Besides, he’s annoyed that the details of that meeting got out and was passed on to the government. Luke doesn’t want to think about a Jedi divulging Jedi Council discussions because it could mean that the leak was Ben.

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chapter 4:


Wedge reports to the command and government staff that he thinks Colonel Solo will urge the GA to allow more time. He reminds them that the blockade is going to do considerable harm to their economy unless it can be broken some other way.


Sadras Koyan, Chief of State of Tralus and member of the Centerpoint Party, thinks he is sounding defeatist. Wedge assures him they are not defeated yet, but they will be. This is an opportunity for them to negotiate a non-surrender conclusion to the conflict with minimal consequences provided that they negotiate in good faith. He reminds them that assassinating a head of state is not good faith.


Gejjen has to quiet everyone down before asking Wedge if he thinks he could have kept GA forces out of the system entirely. Wedge thinks he could have. Gejjen points out that Wedge’s suggestion to bargain for a no-fault reunion with the GA will cost them Centerpoint Station. Wedge thinks it’s better than being starved back into the GA under less favorable terms.


They cannot win this without the support of wealthy planetary systems. Koyan reminds Wedge that they would have had that if the coup attempt in Hapes had been successful. It is clear that Wedge is not willing to win at all costs. Wedge points out that he’s not convinced they are either.


Admiral Genna Delpin is brought in and appointed Wedge’s replacement. Wedge turns down joining her operational staff but does agree to a public transfer of command after resigning his commission. He knows that, once that happens, his life can be measured in minutes.


At Gyndine, Lando Calrissian is just waiting to make a number of catty remarks about the state of the Millennium Falcon until he sees the defeated looks on his friends’ faces. He takes Han and Leia to the lounge for something to eat. They tell him everything that has happened, largely concentrating on Jacen: interning Corellians, causing the death of Boba Fett’s daughter during an interrogation, accusing them of plotting to kill Tenel Ka, firing on the Falcon even with his sister and cousin aboard, the deaths of the two Noghri bodyguards and onward.


Having not kept up with the news, Lando has only known Jacen was heading up the Galactic Alliance Guard. Han asks if he can help them repair the Falcon and arrange for transport until it’s fixed.


Wanting some good news, they urge Lando to tell them how his life is going. The answer is very well. He’s achieved all he wanted to do when he was a young man. Yet, he finds that he’s gotten a bit bored with no risk in his life.


Jacen meditates in his cabin aboard the Anakin Solo until he finds the glimmer of life that is Lumiya. He sees her in the Force, resting on her side. She sees him. Lumiya tells him that she’s used to being hurt by Luke Skywalker. She knows Jacen has been considering his sacrifice.


He admits he’s becoming more ready. He still wants Ben as an apprentice. She reminds him that Ben is a Jedi apprentice, not a Sith one. Jacen answers that he’s not even a full Sith yet. She accuses him of stalling. He needs to test Ben to find out what he is capable of doing.


Jacen tells her that Luke and Mara have taken Ben away. He will have to find some way of getting to him. She asks what will happen if he fails the test. Will he love Ben less? Jacen believes that it wouldn’t make too much difference in how he feels, but it’s likely to result in them growing apart.


She tells him that it would seem that Ben would not be a suitable sacrifice for very long, should that happen.

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chapter 5:


At the Jedi Temple, Luke and Mara have quarters, even though they keep an apartment elsewhere in the city. Quarters in the Temple are useful for situations such as the fierce resentment coming from their son in his own room.


Luke asks Mara why he’s the one who feels guity. She reminds him that it’s because they’re making Ben unhappy, which isn’t going to change until he perceives that this so-called persecution of Jacen stops or until he grows up enough to understand their position better.


In the Temple, he can be watched. Until then, she suggests he write an essay on his grandfather’s fall to the Dark Side. He’s almost 14 and should be able to recognize the patterns between Anakin Skywalker and Jacen.


If they like his work, he may resume being Jacen’s apprentice.


By the time he does that, Ben might be able to see Jacen’s flaw for himself, Jacen could realize what he’s doing and come back, or he could die.


An apprentice named Seha comms Luke to tell him that there’s a man who wishes to see him and no one else. He will only give the name Twin Suns Three and it’s about a silver bladed lightsaber.


There are many people who held that position under Luke’s X-Wing squadron, but only one who may have news about a silver-bladed lightsaber. In fact, that was once the color of Alema Rar’s saber.


As it happens, their visitor is Jagged Fel who explains the story behind his exile after being trapped on Tenupe for two years with Alema. With nothing else to do, he’s been studying her. She has the ability to wipe the short-term memory of those who’ve encountered her and she seems intent on harming Luke and Leia.


Besides warning Luke about this, he’s also brought two items. A datacard operates with security holocam programs and evaluates every humanoid figure the cam sees, comparing them with Alema’s physical characteristics and sends a coded message when she’s spotted. It may be helpful in finding her. When told about her ability to Force-flash holocams, Jag doesn’t think it would be too hard to modify the card to identify those hiccups, too.


He’s also brought a small device that can attached to the neck or skull, activated by saying Alema’s name and giving the wearer a small electric shock that transfers short-term memories to long-term ones. It could be affective in keeping her from slipping out of their minds.


Jag doesn’t want to ask for help, but the fact of the matter is that he has few resources. Luke offers to help him with whatever he needs.


Jaina enters the Temple and spots a man in a dark cloak, recognizes his walk and realizes it’s Jag. She asks if he was going to walk past without saying hello. He tells her he was and leaves.


Lando has provided Han and Leia with a small luxury vessel called Love Commander. It belonged to a gambler who lost a sabacc match with Lando who hasn’t gotten around to changing the ownership documentation. He also reveals that he will be coming along with them. They will be more anonymous that way. So, he will be posing as Bescat Offdurmin of the Corporate Sector.


Han is going to be the navigator, while Leia pilots. They are headed to Corellia to find out if Prime Minister Gejjen was acting alone when he ordered the assassination of Tenel Ka and figure out what to do to him after that.


Captain Lavint was pulled out of hyperspace after her first jump in a remote uninhabited system. Now she is frantically trying to fix the ship before her food and water run out. As it happens, she has a stowaway.


A disfigured Twi’lek explains that they are called Alema and saw the sabotage of the Duracrud in enough time to steal the equipment needed to fix it. She offers the parts to Lamint if the captain agrees to help Alema find the parents of Jacen Solo. Lamint cannot report this to the authorities, attack or endanger Alema and will have fulfilled her obligation once they’ve found the Solos.

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  • Do Luke and Mara recognize the patterns between Anakin and Jacen? To my knowledge, they haven’t discussed it at all. To wit: both Jacen and Anakin thought they could bring order to the galaxy, both of them had unusual powers, both of them had secret romances, both of them had disturbing visions that they believed would come true, both of them were willing to do terrible things to accomplish their goals, both were manipulated over the long-term by Sith. Of course, some of this, Luke and Mara don’t know but have come sooo close to realizing it.



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chapter 6:


Wedge concludes his speech about how the reorganization of the military rquires the merging of experience with youth.


Now a civilian, he only has to worry about writing his memoirs, giving his daughter some flying lessons and waiting for the assassination attempt. Gejjen remembers that Myri Antilles recently graduated and has been given an offer to work for Corellian Intelligence. Wedge adds that the GA Intelligence Service also sent an agent to give her a similar offer which she didn’t take.


But she didn’t report him because she will use him as a contact to either try to recruit him or use him in some other way. Wedge stops at a refresher. Gejjen reminds him of the celebratory dinner in three days before moving on. Public occasions are great places to kill someone. Wedge has had only two scheduled. The holonews conference just completed was one. Since he’s still alive, Wedge assumes he has three days before the attempt comes.


Inside the lavatory, Wedge takes out a repair sign, sticks it on the door and finds the package waiting for him. A change of clothing, including a jacket with a view of Centerpoint Station on it, a blaster and a visor are inside. Wedge changes clothing and sees that he still looks like himself. But someone looking for a guy in a white admiral’s uniform might miss him.


He and Iella communicate with comlink links. She lets him know he’s being followed. There is an airspeeder nearby that she’d left for him, but he’s pondering if he should go that far. She calls at him to get down. He hits the sidewalk and avoids a blaster bolt.


A couple of attackers, one disguised as a Jedi, try to fire at him. Wedge fires back, then spots a sniper who is taken out by a man with an ugly red beard and a green jumpsuit. Iella directs Wedge to an ugly orange airspeeder driven by Myri.


The red-bearded man jumps in and he turns out to be Corran Horn. Iella’s message got to Mirax who passed it on to Corran who got to the Antilles’ place in time for Myri to get him here. Wedge had really thought that his disguise would shake off pursuit.


Myri tells him three of the main hit teams were thrown off.


In the Jedi Temple, Jag looks at the starfighters as Luke explains he is having the Jedi Order fund Jag’s mission to neutralize Alema Rar. If he must kill her, he must, but Luke hopes she can be brought back to give her time to find her path to redemption.


Luke is going to pursue any leads involving the Sith Lumiya who may or may not be dead. She was working with Alema a few days ago. Luke gives Jag a credcard, an id card and security access to take an X-Wing from the hangar. He’s also assigning a couple of Jedi to him to help with Alema.


Unfortunately, he is assigning Zekk and Jaina. Jaina doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Luke points to how the three of them have worked well together in the past and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Jag knows that Luke knows why he doesn’t want to work with Jaina and has decided to disregard it for reasons of his own. Jag will accept this unless it’s proven unwise.


Jaina asks if this has anything to do with the Dark Nest. Jag doesn’t want to talk about it. She thinks she should know the reason if it means working in a hostile environment. He should have told her his issues years ago. Jag bites back that he couldn’t because he was marooned on Tenupe for two years and is now an unperson in the eyes of his family forever because of how she ignored the parole conditions he secured for Lowbacca.


She can’t undo that so it’s worthless to think about it anymore.


In disguise, Lando, Han and Leia head to Corellia where the GA patrol stops the Love Commander and orders it to prepare to be boarded. Once aboard, the lieutenant in charge proves easy prey to the Jedi Mind Trick. The Lieutenant gets them the passcodes to land and leave.

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chapter 7:


Near Bimmiel, Lumiya uses make-up to hide her scarred features until she resembles a Hapan woman. She comms Tathak K’roylan, the deputy intelligence leader of Bothawui.


She tells him that she knows the Bothans are preparing three fleets to assault Galactic Alliance forces as a response to the assassinations of several personnel on Coruscant; however, their ability to surprise the GA is limited.


She can blind the GA observers and give him several hours in which to deploy his fleet undetected. As proof, she can do this, she transmits internal records of the Galactic Alliance Guard concerning the details of the assassinations.


She knows they will verifiy these files as accurate, especially since she’d killed or arranged for the deaths herself. Then she has another package sent to Jacen.


It takes some tricky flying and some paying off of some of Lando’s contacts, but the Love Commander lands on Corellia. The news broadcasts show Wedge’s holoconference. They know he had to have been pushed out.


Lando thinks Wedge would know who was responsible for the coup attempt. Han doesn’t think they can. He believes Wedge is leaving Corellia to get his family away from bosses who are not satisfied with his performance and are perfectly willing to get rid of people in the way. He’s hiding.


Another news story about a Jedi attacking citizens on the street is run. Han and Leia don’t know how to interpret that.


At a Cantina, they meet with Denjax Teppler who had been temporary Prime Minister for a short time, now Minister of Justice, who asks why he’s here. They want to know about the attack on Tenel Ka.


He assures them he had nothing to do with it and didn’t know anything about it until it had been launched. The Solos wants to clear their names. They were there at the time and are suspected of being involved. Further, the Corellians blame them for spoiling the plan.


Leia understands that this is a lot to ask but she suspects that Teppler is opposed to much of what is going on. Teppler tells them that there really is no such thing as treason because there’s no such thing as loyalty. They offer to get him off-world, but he explains how he’s useless with a blaster or as a pilot. Politics is his battlefield.


He does tell them that Dur Gejjen was the chief planner of the attack and signed off on it. Antilles knew nothing about it and was forced out for not supporting it. That’s when several CorSec officers arrive.


The group battles their way out of the Cantina and out onto the streets. Believing he’ll be better off on foot, Teppler leaves them so they can grab a speeder.

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chapter 8:


Myri wakes her father up to tell him something is going on outside. The Antilles family is holed up at the hangar on the Pulsar Skate. No one seems to be approaching theirs, though, so Wedge thinks it has nothing to do with them. Corran tells him he’s wrong.


He can tell through the Force that one of the people moving through the spaceport is Leia. There are two strange men with her who could be Han and Luke. The sound of CorSec speeders is heard and the rush of security officer pour out and start banging on vehicles, including the Pulsar Skate.


On board the Love Commander, Leia tries to start up the engines. A CorSec officer approaches and orders them to power down. She thinks surrendering now and escaping during transport is a good idea. Suddenly, an engine roar distracts them. Outside the viewport, a green X-Wing with a checkerboard pattern flies by, followed by a standard X-Wing, and pings the security crawler.


This gives the Commander enough time to come online and lift off. Han recognizes the Pulsar Skate lifting from a nearby hangar. The Skate sends them an encrypted transmission while a corvette begins pursuit.


Myri Antilles comes on and debates Lando’s new look with him before telling him they need to shoot at the Corvette first. He assures her they need to get away from it. Myri points out it’s alone while the other directions are full of starfighters. They can make orbit if they can take out the former. Of course, the real problem is breaking the blockade off the planet.


Lando, by virtue of the passcodes they got from the young Corellian lieutenant, tells her that shouldn’t be a problem. After disabling the pursuing ship, they break orbit and prepare to head for a gathering of old friends.


Ben is sparring a droid at the Jedi Temple. When the exercise is over, a young apprentice approaches him and introduces herself as Seha Dorvald. She shakes Ben’s hand and slips him a datacard while she’s at it. She compliments him on his tactics and asks if she can steal some of them. He can’t help but think how cute she is.


She asks about his braid and points out that it’s rather old-fashioned. Ben admits that the Order doesn’t really do it, just him. It’s his way of standing out and being himself.


Ben stops in a Ronto playroom full of toys and games. He finds a clunky datapad with a headset, inserts the datacard and enters his GAG access code. Jacen tells him to memorize the information and destroy the chip. He wants Ben to go on a mission for him because it requires someone who appreciates the interests of the GAG, who is Force-sensitive and can operate alone. He knows Ben’s parents won’t like this, but he promises to make sure they know it was his doing. He is to acquire the Amulet of Kalara and bring it to Jacen. It’s on the planet of Almania being held in the planetary offices of Tendrando Arms. The owner doesn’t know what he’s got. It cannot get into the hands of a Force-sensitive who knows how to activate the secret. It makes the bearer invisible in the Force to the point that even the use of it is masked from other Force-users.


Such a person would be a huge danger to everyone. If someone gets to it first, Ben will have to assume it’s a dark Jedi or another powerful Force-user and will have to eliminate him.


There is gear hidden in an exercise changing room.

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chapter 9:


Ben changes his clothes and jumps into the laundry chute, dropping to find that any security has been disabled. He opens the emergency evacuation door which does not trigger an alarm and makes sure it is locked behind him. All he has to do is find a way to the spaceport and board a transport for Almania.


Love Commander approaches the Errant Venture and given permission to dock.


Aboard the Anakin Solo, Jacen takes a message from Luke and Mara who want to know where their son is. Jacen denies knowing, which is true because Lumiya is monitoring the mission, not him. However, since Ben is too old to be running away, it simply proves he’s not mature enough to be an apprentice. He assures them he’ll send Ben back if he shows up.


It’s becoming easier to cause people to think and feel what he wants them to.


Despite the repulsorchair, Booster Terrik isn’t too old to get up and greet his daughter, admonishing Corran for not bringing the grandchildren. He is told both of them are on Jedi business.


In the conference room, Booster reduce the situation to everyone except the Hapans wanting to kill Han & Leia and even they are divided on that subject. He asks if they’re getting his ship blown up.


Wedge goes on to explain that, though there are public goings-on that are causing this conflict, there are also strings being pulled behind the scenes that most people don’t realize. There are the efforts by many different groups to eliminate the Solos. The assassinations of Bothan politicans on Coruscant that doesn’t make sense if the Corellians are trying to get Bothawui into the war. One would expect them to target Cha Niathal or Jacen Solo.


Leia adds that there is reason to believe a Force-user is running around and causing normally rational people to do irrational things, probably to push the war along. She believes that the Errant Venture is in a good position to gather information by planting itself in the Corellian exclusion zone and let loose-lipped smugglers and restless military personnel get drunk Booster assures her he is aware of that opportunity, but his application to get access to the exclusion zone has been sitting in some GA office since day one of the blockade.


Leia thinks she can get Luke to tell Jacen what a terrible idea it is to let the Venture in there and Jacen will get the application approved as if it had a hyperdrive on it.


At the Zorp House Apartment Tower on Coruscant, Mara and Luke are told by the building manager that the GAG took everything out of Lumiya’s apartment. Nevertheless, he did find something. When he plugged new comms into her jacks and sent a message from one to the other, it never arrived. Sending from the second to the first did work.


This is where message interception is happening. He has pulled off a ceiling panel to find a datapad spliced into the data cables. It’s booby-trapped. Mara defuses it and tracks the transmissions to another set of quarters on the basement level.

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chapter 10:


The basement quarters seem to be reserved for the Zorp maintenance workers. The furnishings are minimal, but Mara finds a doorway in the closet. Something has been delivered since the last time Lumiya was here.


Luke tells her that he’s been forwarded a message from Leia who has brought up to speed on a few things before asking him to trick Jacen into letting the Errant Venture enter the exclusion zone.


The doorway seems to be Lumiya’s secret way in and out of the building. Hopefully, the datacard they found will be more helpful.


The task force to capture Alema Rar is set up in an office at the Jedi Temple. Right now, Jag and Zekk are doing chin-ups shirtless while Jaina watches.


Jag sums up that they’ve had no sign of Alema despite adding their monitoring program to the security systems of numerous buildings. He asks Zekk what they’re doing wrong. Zekk thinks they should be doing sit-ups instead.


Jaina thinks that Luke is obviously not Alema’s current target. Her mom probably is, so they will have to track her down. That’s easier said than done. They may need to put the software in places where her parents are likely to go.


After being left alone, Jaina ponders how she’s giving up on men. She’s lucky in love, not lucky in love. Since she doesn’t even know what the Sword of the Jedi is supposed to be, she supposes she’ll just concentrate on that. She just wishes she knew how to keep Jag at a distance without always hurting his feelings.


Fyor Rodan takes a transmission from a Hapan woman who tells him that the Commenor fleet will be wiped out by the GA if they aren’t careful, but the constant delays will make it worse. Corellia will fall soon and the Alliance will turn its attention to Commenor.


She proves it by sending him the GA’s plan to attack Commenor in the month after the the conquest of Corellia.


Lumiya searches through the the Force for a mind to connect to, then moves to find a Quarren in medical scrubs sleeping at a desk. Lumiya uses the Force to convince her to get up. A few minutes later, the Quarren returns to her desk and sleeps, while Lumiya drifts out to find someone useful.


Matric Klauskin, who had formerly commanded the Second Fleet, is in a mental care hospital on Coruscant. He wakes up to find his door open. Looking up, he sees his beloved wife staring down at him.


He reminds her that she’s dead. She tells him that doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist. He thinks that’s rather the point. He must be dreaming. She assures him he’s not. He’s being lied to. The Corellians have been right all along.


She tells him Bothawui and Commenor are coming in on Corellia’s side. He must help their homeworld of Commenor. He decides he must know the truth, so he’s going to go through the door and wake himself up. If he doesn’t wake up, she must be telling him the truth.


He walks through the doorway and bites his hand to make sure he’s not sleeping.


Lumiya leads him outside and lets the image of his wife fade away until she’s back in her room with the medical droid. The official GA file on Klauskin had been sympathetic, hoping that he might recover and return to a command someday. Thus, the fleet doesn’t know how delusional Klauskin is.


At the moon of Almania called Drewwa, Ben concentrates on hiding his lightsaber which irks the old woman behind him at customs. His repeated apologies only garner insults from her. He wonders what Jacen would do. He and Ben’s father command respect because people know not to mess with them. Ben takes the apology back, telling her she’s just rude and hopes her children were raised by piranha-beetles as they’d be nicer than her. His challenging glare is enough to intimidate her and she backs off. The customs officer gives him a thumbs up.

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  • Fyor Rodan was a member of Borsk Fey’lya’s Advisory Council. We met him in Vector Prime, he ran for Chief of State in Destiny’s Way and I’m sure we remember his lecturing Luke on holding the Jedi more responsible for their actions.

  • Admiral Klauskin appeared in Betrayal where he made a number of erratic decisions that were witnessed by his aide and, likely, a number of others, too. I would find it surprising if there wasn’t talk that got passed through the Fleet about him.


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chapter 11:


At the Crossroutes Business Habitats, Ben remembers his mother telling him how intelligence work doesn’t involve fancy lightsaber wielding, but information gathering. He hadn’t thought much of that back then, but now he appreciates her even more.


But first, he tries to get food, only to find that the account can’t be found. The Jedi Mind Trick doesn’t work,so he heads off to find out what’s wrong with the account. The Banking Kiosks don’t help, so he will have to resort to what his mother calls acquiring resources.


He doesn’t want to steal. His family only hijacks ships in emergencies. None of them steal to get breakfast. He decides the outcome of the mission is important enough that he eat, so he decides to use the Force to swipe a small denomination credcard from someone on the street.


He heads to the Tendrando Arms level of the Habitat to the right floor with some purchases in his hands. Posing as a delivery boy, he hands a box of sweets over to a man he found on the company’s public page. He claims a woman gave it to him and provides a vague description that matches a popular holodrama actress.


He stops at the refresher, then pretends to leave while using the Jedi Mind Trick to convince the man he got on the lift. Inside a stall, he unscrews a viewport and and rapels down to a window that he tries hard to open before slipping and falling.


He drops two stories before grabbing the cable and climbing up to enter the open viewport. When he gets to the display case inside, the Amulet is gone. A note read that it’s going to be returned where it belongs and it’s signed by Faskus of Ziost.


It has to have been done during the last couple of hours. He’s failed. Deciding to find Faskus and take the amulet back, Ben knows that Ziost is the homeworld of the original Sith. It’s not necessarily a tourist destination so he’ll have to find transport there.


Ben sets a fake version of the amulet in the display case and takes the note.


He doesn’t know he’s being tracked by a ship called Boneyard Rendezvous, captained by Byalfin Dyur.

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chapter 12:


Admiral Klauskin arrives on the GA frigate Shamunaar to tell Captain Biurk that he is detaching the ship from ordinary fleet activities to the GAG. The captain explains they are currently coordinating all recon and fighting forces in the Bothawui system. This is a very important strategic assignment.


Klauskin tells him that the GAG has learned that some parts of the military have been compromised. Some of the officers on this ship are working for the Bothans. He needs a list and will determine which ones are traitors so they can be eliminated.


Captain Biurk knows many of his officers very well and is sure they couldn’t be Bothan agents. Klauskin asks that he notate on the list which names he can vouch for.


Ben swipes two more credcards over the next couple of days, then finds an unsupervised Y-Wing. He orders a maintenance request under the owner’s name and is disappointed when a human mechanic arrives and not a droid he can just cut the head off of.


Over time, he becomes anxious, finally going down with a made up story for the mechanic until he can get close enough to her to knock her out. He didn’t even have to kill her and Jacen would have forgiven him for that.


Errant Venture does great business the first few days it’s in the Corellian system. Iella and Myri work as dealers in the casino for tips, Han and Lando gamble in disguise, Mirax spends time with her retired father.


Leia, Wedge and Corran work on interpreting data so they don’t have to disguise themselves. Patrons of the casino have all kinds of information, regardless of their status of sobriety.


The meeting starts with Wedge who looks the unhappiest. Syal was aboard today gambling with a young male pilot. He points out that there are two kinds of pilots: the good ones that he would never run out of his squadrons and the ones he would shoot if he ever caught them looking at his daughter.


Leia is sorry to report that she’s found nothing to indicate the war is being directed by outside forces. Whoever the puppet master is, the war is not his plan. There is some kind of manipulation going on, but they have to find the motivation.


Iella points to the Corellian ambush of the GA fleet caused Corellia to remain independent for longer than it should have. Admiral Klauskin was obviously meddled with. There is some evidence that someone is utilizing Force ghost manifestations to make the situation worse here.


The assassination of Prime Minister Saxan at Toryaz Station caused a change in Corellian leadership which resulted in Thrackan Sal-Solo being elevated to power.


Myri also notes that all of this has had a negative impact on the Solo and Skywalker families. Both had always worked together. Suddenly, they’re all separated by light-years and ideology. The entire family was a cohesive resource in troubled times, now Leia cannot even send out a call to get them all to focus on a single problem.


It’s possible that breaking up the family ties was a goal of whoever is manipulating these events. Leia realizes that she and Han have been focusing on all the wrong things. They should be fixing things, not making them worse by going after Corellian conspirators.


Han isn’t sure the pieces can be put back together again.


In the hangar bay of the Venture, Captain Lavint lands and tells Alema to get out of sight when they come aboard to do the scan. Secretly, she’s hoping the Solos will be here so that she can get rid of Alema Rar and her craziness forever.

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chapter 13:


Mara cracks the encryption on Lumiya’s datacard. An invoice from a bounty hunter working for her is there. Much of it’s a mission status report. There are a lot of code names. She finds that the Lady’s daughter succumbed to injuries inflicted by Grandson 32707.


Luke guesses that Lady is Lumiya. Grandson would have to mean Jacen or Ben. The numbers he recognizes from a report Ben filed a few weeks ago. It’s an uninhabited star system near Bimmiel where Jacen was led by a woman named Brisha Syo and defeated some kind of Dark Side user there.


Brisha Syo is similar enough to Lumiya’s real name Shira Brie. Perhaps, Lumiya had a daughter and that daughter lured Jacen into an ambush with a Dark Jedi who may have threatened Ben in some way.


At some point, the Dark Jedi and Nelani Dinn are killed, Brisha is wounded, Ben gets knocked on the head and Jacen never figures out that Brisha was an enemy. He leaves with Ben and Brisha dies. Her mother would want revenge against Jacen.


Luke can’t see how Jacen could have wounded her, left her and not thought of her as an enemy. Perhaps Ben did it. Mara believes that answers a lot of questions: Lumiya would have infiltrated the GAG to get information about Jacen and Ben. Jacen’s bad decisions could have been influenced by his time with Brisha and/or the Dark Jedi. If that’s true, Mara is angry because it means that Jacen isn’t responsible for his actions.


Luke thinks they need to find out what happened on that asteroid so they can confront Jacen without him being able to shut them out.


Mara asks him if he knows who Brisha’s father is. Luke casually says he doesn’t know, then realizes what she’s really asking. He assures her that he and Lumiya were never physically involved.


Alema Rar knows there’s another Jedi aboard this ship, but can never find them. The Jedi must be hiding and that means it’s Leia. Alema tells Captain Lavint that she will be free as soon as Alema sees the Solos.


Lavint doesn’t mind. She’s doing very well at the gambling tables and has been drinking, too. This makes her a little loose with her speech. She reminds Alema that Han, Wedge Antilles, who recently disappeared from Corellian space, and Booster Terrik are all Corellian smugglers. Booster is the father of Mirax Terrik who is also a corellian smuggler. Solo is married to Leia who is the sister of the Grand Master of the Jedi Order. Antilles is married to a former NRI agent, Booster’s daughter is married to Corran Horn who flew with Antilles . These ties are tightly bound together.


The Solos are here, but they’re hiding using the resources of their host and old friends. Alema will not find them in the public areas.


Admiral Klauskin has been careful not to pinpoint names of officers Biurk knows very well. In fact, he only picks ones who’ve been written up for various offenses. Each of them are assigned to the Outer Rim screen, only to be pulled in individually and arrested.


Their vehicles have been seized, but Klauskin assures the captain that Admiral Niathal is sending replacements soon. He decides to hold a simulation. The second-in-command will be put in charge while he and Biurk watch from the auxiliary bridge.


Once there, Klauskin shoots the captain. He tells the second that all communications from this point on will be going to the sim program. Any override messages from the fleet will be accompanied by a red blink that indicates that otherwise. Then he disables all other communications.


He moves to the main computer, inserts a datacard and every door and hatch opens but his. All safety protocols are overridden. Warning lights come on. Atmosphere rushes out of the hangar and air heads into a vacuum. When all is done, he contacts K’roylan to tell him the Shamunaar is ready for a new crew.


Luke and Leia embrace each other despite all the guests. Mara explains they showed up here, looking for Ben. Wedge tells her she picked a good time. Jacen is here wandering around the ship, so anyone he knows is keeping out of sight.


Leia also mentions there is someone else aboard the ship whom she cannot identify. Luke promises to be careful while he and Mara go grill Jacen with some questions.


Walking through the public areas, Jacen is approached by an intoxicated Captain Lavint who thanks him for the Duracrud. It’s been a good luck charm. After verifying there was nothing wrong with it, Jacen is baffled by her emotional state. She should be furious that her hyperdrive had been tampered with, yet he senses nothing like that.


Then Luke and Mara appear, invite him to a table for drinks and ask him what happened on Bimmiel. Jacen knows they must have found the leads Lumiya’s people had left. He makes sure he remembers all the details and spins a story very similar to what happened, but with altered facts.


Brisha Syo was severely injured in this version by the Dark Jedi posing as an evil avatar of Mara. Then it attacked Jacen posing as Luke and was killed. Mara reminds him that the two fights occurred at the same time. That only works if there were two enemies.


They have reason to believe that Brisha was Lumiya’s daughter. If so, then she killed Nelani and then attacked Ben who killed her. Brisha may have been able to wipe the memories from Ben’s mind.


Jacen is preparing to be accused of having had memories tampered, too, when a comm. comes in from the Anakin, telling him there’s a fleet coming in that’s started to hit the task force around Corellia.

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chapter 14:


Alema Rar has been following Jacen Solo for a few hours until he jumps for the casino exit. She doesn’t really care about him anyway. Luke and Mara Skywalker are here and that means Han and Leia are, too.


She decides to end a poison dart into Mara but whatever has surprised Jacen has made the Skwyalkers extra vigilant. Before long, comlinks chime everywhere and people start moving around, blocking her path to them anyway.


She’s thrilled to find those moving out includes Luke who is running right next to her. She blows the dart but misses when Luke and Mara turn in another direction. Then she spies Lando Calrissian and knows the Solos have to be here. Confused for a moment, she decides to follow him.


On the Dodonna, Admiral Tarla Limpan recalls all scouts and launches all squadrons. She is told that there are two incoming Bothan Assault Cruisers and several starfighter squadrons coming their way. Limpan orders the Dodonna to move to Centerpoint and request the Anakin Solo to get there, too.


On the Venture, Corran and Wedge jump into their fighterse while Iella gives them intel. Centerpoint Station’s task force is being hit by Commenoran ships while the blockade forces are facing Bothan vessels. The Venture is being ordered not to jump until all military vessels have left.


Luke and Mara join them to help shake off any attackers until the Venture is able to jump.


Jacen authorizes the Anakin to move to Centerpoint and then heads there in his shuttle. When he boards the SD, he orders Centerpoint Station to be targeted so they won’t leave it behind intact.


In a turbolift, Lando is confronted by Alema Rar who asks him where the Solos are. She pulls his blaster away from him, but he zaps her with the electric shocks that are in his cane. It’s supposed to take down a Wookiee, but it really only distracts her long enough for him to rush out of the lift.


Unfortunately, he doesn’t get too far down the corridor when he starts to wonder what he’s running from, why and where his cane is.


In space, Luke Mara, Corran and Wedge do what they can before Wedge has to pull back to the Venture. Luke asks Corran to get back to Coruscant and the Temple. He and Mara will try to help Alliance forces while they can. Corran volunteers to stay and help with the fight.


The Dodonna is being pulled apart by the Bothan forces attacking her, so Limpan decides to jump to hyperspace. Colonel Fiav Fenn plots a course that will take them past the Station first before jumping, then tell all other Alliance forces to jump and join them at the same coordinates.


Fenn recommends against it as it will give the enemy the ability to triangulate their position. Realizing she’s right, Limpan orders all other ships to find their own arrival spot outside the system.


Blue Diver will have to be the new command ship once this is over.


The Dodonna, Blue Diver and Anakin Solo make the jump after firing heavily on Centerpoint, arriving close to one another. Not long after that, Dur Gejjen makes a HoloNet announcement about breaking off the yoke of the GA oppression, thanking Bothawui and Commenor, as well as Admiral Delpin for doing what Antilles could not.


Within a day, the state of war is extended to Bothawui and Commenor. The Anakin Solo is ordered back to Coruscant.

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chapter 15:


Ziost doesn’t look like an evil world. With the naked eye, it’s even beautiful. But Ben could sense through the Force a malevolence staring him. He asks Shaker if there are any detectable thruster trails. Shaker verifies one or more vehicles have been in orbit for some time and descended to the planet about eight hours ago.


From a few kilometers up, he looks over the vehicle that must have brought Faskus back to Ziost – a light transport like the Millennium Falcon, but with a differently rigged cockpit. What is left of it is a burned durasteel still smoking.


It had clearly been fired upon, but there’s no sign of other traffic in the area so he lands and heads out to investigate.


Opening himself to the Force, Ben, more than ever, feels like he’s being watched. He doesn’t think the pilot died in the accident either. Suddenly, he feels a quick twitch of glee, just like he’d felt on Drewwa.


He warns Shaker he’ll be out of the area for a while before deciding to take the droid with him. He uses the Force to pull the droid out of its hatch.


As time passes, Ben follows the sense of glee until they hear the scream of ion engines and laser fire back from the direction from which they came. Shaker verifies that his diagnostic summary concludes the Y-Wing has been destroyed. Clearly, whoever downed Faskus came back to make sure that Ben couldn’t get off the planet.


He is stranded here, no one who cares about him know he’s here and he’s going to finish his mission so he can punish whoever tried to exile him here.


On Coruscant, the Jedi Council meets. Luke asks Cilghal to take on the role of taras-chi. She isn’t familiar with the term. He explains it’s a challenge for any idea that she doesn’t think has been properly tested.


For now, Luke moves on to the problem of the war taking many Masters away from teaching. They should consider whether any senior Jedi should be advanced. They should prepare lists of possible candidates.


His son is missing. They don’t know the details: he may have been trying to get back to Jacen, to go on a personal mission to prove himself or he may have been kidnapped. There is some evidence that he may have mortally wounded a woman who was Lumiya’s mother.


It’s likely that this is why Lumiya attacked Lobi. Cilghal points out that this then has become a situation in which other Jedi could die, but that she must question Luke and Mara’s objectivity. Luke assures her that neither he nor Mara caused the disappearance. Ben can’t be sensed through the Force which could mean that he’s learned to shield himself or could be someplace where the environment masks his presence. He doesn’t want to vocalize the other option. He does, however, ask that the other masters come forward if they believe either of them are behaving inappropriately.


Cilghal also confirms with Corran that his family is now off of Corellia, eliminating another possible attachment issue.


Luke brings up his appreciation for the patience the Council has had with Leia choosing to remain with Han, an assumed foe of the GA, during this difficult time. He would like her to continue to stay where she is.


Katarn asks if Luke is certain his judgment isn’t being colored by his attachment to his sister. Luke admits that he’s more comfortable with this decision than he is with the ones concerning his son.


Katarn points out that the GA does have a legitimate argument. If the Jedi Order is sworn to uphold the Alliance and a Jedi Knight chooses to support the enemy, that Jedi should be expelled.


Mara admits they could have a trial once this is over, but there’s no evidence she or Han were involved in the assassination attempt on Tenel Ka. Even Tenel Ka doesn’t believe they were in on it. Kyp adds that a fair trial at this time would be difficult anyway.


Katarn argues that nothing would change if Leia were expelled. She’ll stay with Han, she’ll still be Luke’s sister and they can always readmit her if a trial exonerates her. Luke admits this will make the GA happy, but questions if it’s right. She’s investigating where she sees a need; all of them have done it. Katarn and Cilghal agree that the proposal either has merit or it doesn’t.


Luke determines that it’s not the mission of the Jedi to do evil. Expelling Leia to make the GA happy would be doing a small wrong to prevent a greater wrong. They may not have the same resources from the GA for doing it the right way, but they will have to accept that.


Corran admits he’s all for dispassionate analysis, but he also believes that the Jedi talent for gut instinct is good, too. He’s spent several days with Leia and doesn’t believe she’s backing Corellia over the Alliance. She just wants to find out what has caused this war and what is causing her son to make bad decisions. Incidentally, that son of her is also reflecting badly on the Jedi Order, but no one is suggesting expelling him since the government approves of his actions.


Katarn agrees that he will formally recommend that they leave Leia alone for now.


Cilghal moves on to the increase of injury and death the war is causing. So far, they’ve had the resources to assist, but the war is spreading.


Ben tries to sleep during the cold Ziost night, only to wake up a couple of hours later surrounded by fog. He cuts down some tree branches with his lightsaber and starts a fire to warm himself. When he does sleep, he dreams about dark shapes coming close to him and whispering to him.


At dawn, he and Shaker set off again. Ben stops him later to ask about hunting tips when they see a campfire in the distance exactly in the direction from which the sense of glee emanates.


As he approaches the campsite, he finds that Faskus of Ziost isn’t all that impressive-looking, but the Amulet of Kalara is hanging from his neck. He can’t just walk up and take from the man right now. On the other hand, he’s hungry and cold and is in danger of freezing to death. Attacking quickly is the best solution.


Faskus is muttering to himself that things aren’t as bad as they look and there’s got to be shelter around here. Then Ben leaps, ignites his lightsaber and Faskus turns. There is a young girl sitting on blankets…and Ben had been about to kill Faskus in front of her.


He kicks the man across over the child, his lightsaber cutting into a makeshift tent made of blankets while his hand grabs the necklace and pulls. When it doesn’t budge, Ben pulls the chain over Faskus’ neck and drops it in his pouch.


The young girl is about six years old. She grabs some sticks and leaves and throws them at Ben. She begs her Daddy to wake up, then grabs a pan and throws it. She begs him not to hurt her father right before she picks up what Ben recognizes as a blaster. He uses the Force to pull it into his hand, only to find that it’s a toy.


He searches Faskus for weapons and confiscates all of them. While tying the man up, the child tells Ben that her father is hurt. Ben finds makeshift bandages over his stomach covered in blood. This is something that his first aid training won’t help.


Faskus opens his eyes and asks Ben who he is. When Ben gives his name, Faskus asks if he’s related to Luke Skywalker. He assures his daughter, Kiara, that Ben will take care of her. She insists that Ben had hurt him, but Faskus explains that the starship crash hurt him.


Ben wants to know why Faskus stole the amulet. Faskus insists he didn’t. He is a courier from Almania who was given the Amulet on Drewwa by a Bothan named Dyur and told to bring it here to specific coordinates and to come alone. He wishes he’d obeyed and not brought his daughter.


He was almost to the cave a TIE fighter appeared and fired on his ship. Kiara was still inside. Ben realizes that Faskus was injured trying to save his daughter’s life. He asks Ben to untie him so he can hold her.


While Faskus comforts his daughter, Ben tries to think. He has the amulet; he just needs to find a way off planet or to get a message to Jacen. He’s also concerned as to who stole the amulet if Faskus didn’t. This Dyur being may have framed Faskus, but it doesn’t make sense to then give him the real amulet to bury. This must be the real amulet; he can feel the dark side energy from it.


After inventorying the camp, Ben takes down the tent, leaving Faskus – who’s no longer moving – and Kiara lying on one blanket on the ground. He knows he has to leave her behind, but stops himself from grabbing all of the blankets


As he and Shaker start to leave, however, Kiara reminded him that her father said he would care for her. Ben points out he didn’t say he would.


Walking away, Shaker asks where they are going. Per Faskus’ datapad, Ben finds data on Ziost he doesn’t have, such as the cave where he was supposed to leave the amulet. There are also ruins which may indicate some kind of civilization where he might find help.


Shaker wonders why they are leaving the girl behind. Ben explains that she will use up more resources and slow them down. The mission is more important than her life. Shaker asks if the mission is more important than his life, too. Ben states that it is, so Shaker asks Ben to give him the information so he can continue if Ben can’t.


Ben kicks the droid and tells it to shut up because it’s only coming along because it’s useful to him. Part of him wants to dispose of it in a vise when he doesn’t need it anymore, but decides the droid might be valuable enough to sell to get him off-planet.

An hour later, he gets a pre-recorded message from his parents, smiling at him and wishing him a Happy Birthday. The message stuns him out of his angry reverie, making him realize that he’s leaving a little girl to die. Then he sits down on the ground and cries.


Kiara has been impotently trying to use a food knife to cut the icy ground so that she can bury her father to protect his body from the animals. When Ben arrives, he tells her to wrap herself in one of the blankets, while he goes to look for rocks with which to cover Faskus’ body.

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chapter 16:


The conflict has escalated since the Corellian incident. Fondor has long simmered under GA restrictions and has used the situation to resign from the Alliance and enter into a friendship with Corellia. Bespin and Adumar soon follow. Some systems, such as the ones in Hutt Space, are wavering to see which side gets them a better deal. Even the Imperial Remnant wonders which will be in its best interests, but the Moff Council and recently-retired Grand Admiral Pellaeon prefer the Alliance.


Though there have been minor skirmishes, the Confederation has largely worked on shoring up its defenses and pushing out diplomats to undecided worlds.


Admiral Klauskin has re-appeared on Commenor. His resignation was transmitted and a dinner held in his honor during which he barely seemed to register his surroundings.


On Coruscant, Tycho Celchu presents the Chasin Document – a decades-old Rebel Alliance plan to invade Commenor adapted from a similar plan crafted by Garm bel Iblis – that was deemed obsolete after Commenor tossed out its Imperial governor.


These papers have been classified ever since and do not appear to have been updated by someone who might have been a student of bel Iblis since the classes of ships are not modern. It’s apparent that security has been compromised. The only time the files were accessed were during periodic system backups. His wife, Winter, found that someone replaced the back up code so that it would send those files to an off-site location. They have found similar programs elsewhere. Fortunately, it had only accessed older files.


They have gotten rid of the malignant code and turned the data over to all of the intelligence services. Furthermore, the initial code slicing took place during a rather innocuous search by someone who used a GAG passcode. Jacen rejects the notion that any of his senior officials could have done this, but Tycho has the passcode and it matches an unassigned code at the bottom of the list. Niathal suggests he look into the other unassigned passcode to make sure they aren’t being used.


Then Belindi Kalenda offers that the Confederation has been having problems coordinating their various military forces. The Bothans are demanding that a Supreme Commander be chosen at a face-to-face meeting. Not only can they influence the decision, but it also helps recruiting undecided worlds that may want a chance to send a delegate themselves and have their own candidate chosen.

The GA will have to make sure someone is there.


At the Jedi Temple, Zekk thinks Jaina is taking the Sword of the Jedi name too seriously. Jaina isn’t sure she is, considering neither she nor Luke know what it means. Luke doesn’t even know why he said it.


Zekk suggests she might be the new Chosen One. Jaina hopes not, as her grandfather took decades to achieve his destiny at a terrible cost. As it is, there’s no Emperor for her to toss over a rail. Jag appears, reminding her that there’s Lumiya. Since the Chosen One destroyed the Sith leader, maybe Jaina is supposed to rid them of Lumiya.


Zekk conjectures that the Sword of the Jedi is a once-in-a-generation role. He doubts that someone like that is needed to take on Lumiya. Jaina thinks the perspective of an outsider is a good idea. Jag admits he doesn’t know much about the Jedi, but, from what he understands, a sword is a weapon and the Sword of the Jedi should be used against the Jedi’s enemies, such as the Sith or other corrupted Force users. Lumiya would certainly fall in that category. They may be better off pursuing her than Alema or, at least, go after both since they were clearly working together.


The central computer from Errant Venture pings in to tell Jag that the ship’s holocam is matching Alema Rar to some flash traffic using the new technology he brought. Since the Venture has returned to Coruscant, they head there.


Captain Lavint returns to her quarters, wondering if Alema Rar is there. Thanks to hints the Twi’lek is giving her from time to time, the captain has won big at the gambling tables. It would be a great life if it didn’t mean she had to deal with the crazy woman.


Inside, however, she finds Colonel Jacen Solo who wants to go to a meeting of Confederation representatives and root out who is a traitor and who is not. She refuses as he can’t be trusted, having her ship sabotaged.


He realizes she lied to him when she encountered him before. He has already punished the two saboteurs of her ship for not doing it right. Jacen offers to agree on any price she sets. She wants her ship back. He admits he can’t do that for months, but offers her another ship that’s just as good. Lavint agrees only if it is fully-armed, fueled, provisioned and not sabotaged.


She also needs some money to buy information and a one-time way to contact his parents.


After he leaves, she wonders if Alema is here. She calls out to see if she gets an answer. When she doesn’t, Lavint relaxes.

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chapter 17:


Ben wakes up daily with the voices, unrested, a worried Shaker watching him. Each day around noon, a faint sensation touches him. Someone is staring at him from above. Shaker detects an ion trail similar to a TIE Fighter.


Clearly, someone is following them, but Ben doesn’t know who or why. He checks every piece of equipment he took from Faskus to search for transmitters and removes the battery from Faskus’s datapad.


Lumiya contacts Dyur who reports that Faskus is dead, but the boy and his droid are headed toward one of the settlements. It also appears that Faskus’s daughter is along for the trip. Lumiya knows this isn’t good. In order to make a good Sith, Ben must be focused on the mission and not on sentiment. This is not the thinking of a survivor.


Ben is too much like his father. Lumiya orders Dyur to kill them.


The next day, Ben finds the ruins and declares eating and resting time. Shaker tells him he’s just sent a signal. Knowing he’s checked everything of Faskus’s, Ben goes through his own possessions, planning to test his datapad for a tracking device.


He finds it in his pouch, wondering when the small transmitter got in there. He gets that feeling of being watched again. This time, it’s not going away. He tells Shaker to get under cover, then grabs Kiara and hides behind rocks. A TIE flies above, strafing the ground


Jacen had told him that enforcing order was one of the more admirable things about the Empire. Now, seeing it from the other side doesn’t make it so benign. It comes around for another pass, so Ben uses the Force to pound it with stones. The TIE veers off.


Kiara is convinced it wants to kill her as it was also the one that damaged her father’s ship. Ben assures her that’s not true. She reminds him that he was going to leave her behind. Ben explains he thought she would slow him down and he was wrong.


Perhaps, Jacen can be wrong sometimes, too.


Dyur can’t help laughing when told the boy tossed a rock at the TIE fighter, but orders the pilot back, telling him another one will go out tomorrow and finish the job.


The Millennium Falcon is back in commission as Han takes it up from Gyndine. That’s when the Bothan Assault force arrives. Lei and Lando go to the gun wells. Threepio tells Han he’s getting a message from Captain Ural Lavint.


Han doesn’t have time for this. Jacen had gotten word to Winter who passed on to Iella that this Captain Lavint wanted to speak with them. Threepio assures him it’s a recorded message and he’ll save it.


The Falcon jumps to hyperspace. While traveling, they view the message. Lavint explains how she’s on the Errant Venture with Alema Rar who may not have good plans for the Solos. She’s hoping they can get rid of her first. She also needs to the know the time and location of a huge Confederation meeting.


Leia can’t get a good sense of intent over a low-resolution message, but the story is reasonable, considering Leia had gotten the idea that there was a presence aboard the Venture. Han thinks they need to head back there, then.

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chapter 18:


When Ben wakes up, he almost sees red eyes in the fire. Then he realizes there is a huge nek-like predator in the camp. It lunges at Kiara, but Shaker jabs it with its arc-welder arm. The beast bites the arm off the droid.


Ben cuts through it with his lightsaber, hearing the yowls of the others. He draws Faskus’s blaster and fires into the forest. He pulls Kiara into a tree to wait the night out. He doesn’t sleep as well as he should. The voices chant his name the whole time, but also tell him the protect the girl. This isn’t something he would expect from a Dark Side world, such as Ziost, but maybe the voices know he will listen to it.


Han confirms with the group that Lando has found out about a huge Confederation meeting being put together, possible with a fleet, too. Wedge and Jag are sure it will be a world with shipyards then. The Confederation has been raiding worlds with shipbuilding facilities lately.


Jaina displays holocam recordings showing Alema has spent a lot of time wandering the ship and perusing the casino, keeping an eye on Captain Lavint. Finally, it appears the Twi’lek decided to start looking in cabins. She’s been on the bridge, other high-security areas, Booster’s and Mirax’s quarters.


Jaina thinks that Alema probably thought to get to Leia through Han or one of their friends. Leia doesn’t want to give her another chance at that. They need to eliminate her. Han and Wedge can help by monitoring the security holocams.


Realizing that Leia may be aboard ship again, Alema assures Lavint that, once she sees the Solos for real, the obligation is over. It’s really more detailed than that. Lavint knows a lot and, if Solo doesn’t die, Alema may have to kill her to keep the secret.


In his sleep, Ben is told to protect the girl. He explains he has to get off-world and needs a ship. A voice tells him to learn ship. He says he already knows how to pilot, but gets an image of a ball-shaped vessel with red spars up and down like an insect. It’s not living, like Yuuzhan Vong ships, but it is aware of him.


Having disabled the tracking device, Ben and Kiara are not discovered by the TIE again, but they are running low on food.


Alema recognizes Zekk in the lobby of the Venture. She remembers him as a Joiner, but he’s confusing her now. He wanders around, speaking to people, using the Force to attract women. He’s not particularly important, but Alema knows he was quite infatuated with Jaina Solo and, if Alema kills her father, she will vow vengeance. Zekk will naturally come hunting with her.


She takes out a dart, but is surprised by Corran Horn who urges her to give up now. She blows the dart at him which he captures in his datapad. The two Jedi ignite their lightsabers to the delight of the crowd which thinks this is a show and starts making bets.


Leia Solo is there, trapping her. Alema doesn’t see Han Solo anywhere, so she decides to kill Leia anyway. She blows a dart, but Leia uses the Force to push it back into Alema’s mouth. Fortunately for her, the poisoned tip doesn’t pierce her.


She runs, finds her way into a lift which is halted, cuts her way out and gets to the cargo hold. Somehow, they are following her. Jagged Fel confronts her there, but is wearing armor so her dart doesn’t pierce him either.


He shoots her in the left shoulder. She lashes out with the Force, pushing him into cargo crates and takes off.


Watching the security holocams, Wedge notes she’s headed into the long-term hangar bay.


Leia gets their first to find Alema in the cockpit of a light freighter flying out the doors. Han tells her that the GA has a program override that prevents any facility from locking military spacecraft in. Wedge wonders how she managed to get the access codes so quickly.


It turns out the ship stolen was Duracrud and Lavint is livid. Han holds her the datacard with the Confederation meeting information she wanted, but they’re not handing it over until they know what she needs it for.


She explains she’s giving it to a man so she can get a ship and get out of his life. She’s positive it will fall into GA hands. Han gives it to her anyway. He explains to Leia that he didn’t have any problem getting this info which means that security is very loose or that he was deliberately given false data. If it’s true, the GA will find out anyway soon, Lavint and her contact get a couple of days lead time and she gets clear of her obligations. If not, she and her contact fall into a trap Gejjen has probably set up for Han and Leia.

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chapter 19:


The next set of ruins is on a mountain ridge, a citadel possibly built by the original Sith species. This is actually a good thing since Ben has gone three days without food, Kiara one day and Shaker is draining energy from anything they have.


Ben is tired of the voices, too. Suddenly, he realizes that Kiara is speaking to him. She tells him he’s getting that scary look again. He takes a deep breath to cleanse his spirit and asks if he’s better now.


Jacen tells Admiral Niathal that the Confederation meeting is taking place on Gilatter Eight and that a raid on a shipyard is planned for right after. It’s taking please in 13 days. That’s not a lot of time to plan a counterresponse. Jacen has, however, put together a proposal.


The world had formerly been used as a vacation spot for wealthy families, but that eneded a long time ago. Jacen wants to send Jedi-piloted StealthXs into the system to scout out any Confederation forces already there, then bring in forces near the area already to confuse the enemy.


Finally, the Jedi observers will direct Alliance groups into the system so they can avoid being spotted and set up within the atmosphere which is very thin. High electromagnetic radiation makes communication difficult, but also detection.


When the meeting begins, the Alliance forces will hit the Confederation. Niathal wants to lead the mission herself. Jacen warns her that she may not want to mention his name when requisitioning Jedi from Luke. She reminds him she doesn’t need to couch terms. She just issues orders.


Outside the Senate building, Jacen meets Lumiya and invites her along on an expedition. He also asks about Ben. She admits they’ve lost track of him and he may have died. Jacen thinks he would know that.


The climb to the citadel isn’t so strenuous but the droid can’t go any farther. He can last 12 more hours without moving. Ben has him shut down until a power source can be found.


A nek jumps out at him, Ben pushes away and ignites his lightsaber. Lack of food and restful sleep have affected his reflexes, though. Fortunately, the nek reconsiders. Kiara is sure they are going to be eaten. Ben assures her that he will jump down its throat after her, if necessary, and cut their way out.


Hunger is taking hold of him. A voice reminds him he could eat the girl. She looks at him with some fear. He pushes the thought away.


When he dreams, something drops to him and tells him that this place is its home. Ben threatens to kill it. He tells it there are neks outside that it can hunt instead.


He wakes up as voices urge him to eat the girl. Kiara is still asleep. Ben wakes her up and tells her they have work to do.


He sets up a dummy wrapped in blankets and puts the tracking device on it, reactivating it. Then he goes to hide with Kiara. The voices continue at him. He knows Jacen would look at the situation logically. Logically, he should kill her and nourish himself, but he cannot make every decision this way. This girl may be the daughter of a small-time crook, but she may not end up that way. She could do any number of things with her life, if she has one.


Ben realizes the voices have been manipulating him all along, getting him to trust them until they could start trying to get him to do what they wanted. He clamps down, then he tells Kiara a story of a slave boy on Tatooine who won a pod-race and his freedom. They feed him all he could eat when he was done.


The TIE fighter tracks the dummy with the transmitter, fires on it and the blankets burst into flames. Ben uses its close proximity to toss rocks at it through the Force, taking off its solar wings and crashing it. Inside the wreckage, they scavenge the dead pilot’s rations and other survival gear before racing back to the citadel.


Lavint explains that Alema Rar just commed her. She told Alema that Solos would be at Gilatter 8, hoping the Twi’lek will get blown up. Leia explains that she and Han will go, too, to make sure that happens.


Luke, Mara, Corran, Kyp, Jaina, Zekk and Jag head there, too, leading the Ninth Fleet into orbit within the planet’s atmosphere. Admiral Niathal is flying the old Galactic Voyager which had been Admiral Ackbar’s flagship.


An old shuttle flies down over the crash site on Ziost and then flies off. Ben will only allow half the rations to be eaten so they can have food for several days. In the morning, they search the citadel until the voices lead Ben to a large chamber.


Ben tells the ship to come out.


It pulls itself through a gap and opens up at Ben’s command. He’s relieved that it still works, despite its malevolence. Inside there are no standard controls, though, as the pilot must use the Force to communicate.


He piles himself, Kiara and Shaker into the ship and orders it to launch.

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  • The Voyager was last seen in Darksaber.

  • The voices on Ziost remind me very much of the harrowing experience Obi-Wan went through on Zigoola in Clone Wars: Wild Space.



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chapter 20:
Jacen and Lumiya infiltrate the Confederation meeting under false identities. The assault fleet here is enough to indicate that they are probably going to hit the closest target. That could mean Coruscant or Kuat.
Once Niathal determines no more large ships are jumping into the system, she has her fleet slow down and wait for a command.
Jacen is surprised not to feel any anxiety for a meeting that is going to elect the Supreme Commander of the Confederation. He also recognizes no one here. When he asks a server when the proceedings begin, he notices her touching her earlobe. Realizing that she’s sent a signal, he’s interrupted by an announcement.
A hologram tells the crowd that they are honored to pay respect to Colonel Jacen Solo who has cost many of them friends and relatives. The officer in question is General Turr Phennir, the Supreme Commander of the Confederation. It seems that this meeting is a deception that was desgiend to draw GA forces here. The fact that Jacen is here personally is just an unexpected benefit.
The GA fleet is about to hit a field of mines. Additionally, the delegates here are just actors. The security force headed to the hall is not. Jacen sends a message through the Force, telling Luke that there are mines out there.
Luke hears it and warns his squadron. They have to go rescue Jacen now.
Niathal orders the Voyager to move ahead slowly so they are hit only be a few mines rather than the full force.
Leia hears the message, too, and tells Han they have to get Jacen. He reminds her they are here for Alema. She tells him to just go. Lando heads for the turrets.
Alema Rar happened to be right next to the Turr Phennir hologram when it appeared. Her skills are enough to keep her from being noticed, but she doesn’t even need to use them since Jacen is getting all the attention.
He is battling the security forces. Alema knows that Leia is nearby, feeling the assurances that she is sending to Jacen through the Force.
Dyur is told an incoming spacecraft is headed toward them.
Ben is able to use the ship to fire weapons, dodge and evade and even order it to take them to Coruscant.
Alema is thrilled to see Luke and Mara Skywalker show up. Now all she needs is Leia. She orders the Duracrud to activate and approach the resort dome. Lumiya confronts her. Alema states she is here to kill Mara and Han. If Alema helps Jacen, they will all leave.
Lumiya points out that jumping in together will keep them from leaving.
Luke tries to get Jacen to leave until they spot his parents arriving. Then Lumiya is there.
Luke prepares to take on her, Mara deflects blasterfire, Leia insists on fighting Alema and Han is helpless to fire at either of them.
Lumiya expects Luke hates her. He admits she’s given him reasons to, but he doesn’t. She assures him that she doesn’t hate either. All she’s done as been purely professional. She offers her hand and even suggests he take a shot at her. She doesn’t want to hurt him. If she did, she would have killed Jacen instead of letting him escape.
Luke looks around to see that Jacen is, indeed, gone while they and his parents are still fighting. He touches Lumiya’s hand and nothing happened.
Han tells Leia that Jacen is gone. The Duracrud is coming in quickly. Alema dons a helmet and smiles. Luke sees the ship coming and it pushes the dome in as it heads to the floor. He leaps to the exit, Mara ahead of him. Leia and Han are in the rear. Atmosphere is leaving quickly. Leia uses the Force to shove Han through the exit, then cannot move forward herself. That is, until something wraps around her ankle. Luke’s grappling line tethers her to Luke and Han who work to pull her through.
Jacen seizes a shuttle, heads to the Anakin Solo and demands updates on the battle. The Confederation had been ready for the Alliance , but hadn’t expected those ships to move through the minefield. All around him, though, he sees incompetence and it makes him angry.
He gets aboard the ship, grudgingly giving Lumiya authorization to land, too, knowing she will want to talk to him.
The battle ends up a draw, with Turr Phennir claiming victory despite accomplishing nothing.
Aboard the Galactic Voyager, Luke is still troubled by no sign of Ben and of Jacen’s running out on his parents. Mara agrees that he’s getting worse. What bothers Luke most is that Lumiya had reached out without hostility or vengeance.
Now, he senses Ben.
Lumiya can sense Jacen’s anger all the way in her quarters, but she approves because it strengthens him. He is upset because he was drawn into a trap and made to look like a fool. Lumiya doesn’t think it’s the disaster he believes it is.
If he learns to coordinate a battle with his mind, he will be defeated far fewer times. She cannot utilize it herself but she can teach him. He’s ready in all ways but one. He must make his sacrifice and takes his Sith name. The sacrifice mut be one whom he loves and that will leave a void.
He assumes that means his parents. She can’t be certain of that. Does Jacen even love them? He opens himself up to his emotions, going through his past, viewing them as a small child, a teenager and a man. He remembers when he realized they were not ordinary people, but those who were willing to abandon him for long periods of time to be raised by others. He feels the pain and anger associated with those partings.
She thinks he cannot be a Sith until he is able to feel. She’ll be waiting. He knows he can do nothing until he knows whether or not he loves his parents. If he does, he can sacrifice one, possibly kill the other to prevent retaliation. If he doesn’t, he should eliminate the trouble they can cause before they do it.
Regardless, the galaxy is better off without them. He says good-bye.
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  • Turr Phennir was an Imperial pilot whom we met Starfighters of Adumar but had appeared in several Rogue Squadron comics.

 

 

End of Book 4

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