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Legacy of the Force #7: "Fury"

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chapter 1
Above the nightmarish scene on Kashyyyk, the Millennium Falcon flies over the forest planting beacons.  Chewbacca’s son, Waroo, is aboard, helping Leia and Han who can’t help but think that, had things gone right, might have been flying the old ship someday with Jacen.
Though Han tells himself that his son is dead, it still grips his heart when Jacen does something even more outrageous than the next.
After the beacons are set, the ships in orbit will begin setting strategic fires to help burn out the uncontrolled one. 
In the cockpit, Han hears a voice behind him.  He turns to find Alema Rar who uses the Force to pull his blaster to her with her left arm.  Considering it had been crippled years ago, she shouldn’t have been able to do that. She also seems to have repaired the other damage to her face and foot. 
She is planning to wait until Leia appears, then kill Han with her lightsaber.  Fortunately, Han knows the ship better than anyone, so he disengages the intertial compensator and the artificial gravity generator, then hits the thrusters.  On its tail, the Falcon blasts toward space with Alema falling along the wall of the corridor, laughing.
Waroo had been helping Leia aboard at the time.  The ship’s quick movement slams them into the bulkhead.  Leia’s about to yell at her husband when she hears the laughter echoing. 
She ignites her lightsaber, telling Waroo that Alema is aboard.  She sends him to the cockpit to protect Han.  This is difficult as the ship keeps bucking, rolling and spinning.  Reaching out to the Force, Leia finds Waroo, Han and Waroo again.  This doesn’t make sense.
Turning into the engineering bay, she finds Alema holding her lightsaber in two good hands. 
Han sends Waroo back to help Leia instead as he tries to fly the ship, avoiding the ones in orbit. 
Leia and Alema fight as the ship moves erratically.  Leia crashes into a bulkhead, but Alema doesn’t pull her blowgun or do anything else but come at her slowly with her lightsaber.  Waroo comes flying down the corridor, so Leia uses the Force to slow his fall.
He pulls his bowcaster.  Leia stops him from firing, telling him something is wrong here.  She continues to fight Alema until the latter tires and decides they will meet later.  She leaps up and run.  Though Leia and Waroo race after her, there is no trace of her on the ship.

            •    The time is still 40 years ABY, though we should be hitting 41 soon since Ben is 14.


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chapter 2
In the office of the Chiefs of State, Darth Caedus prepares himself to be called by his birth name, one he hates and will soon abandon.  The Omwati advisor sums up their strategic situation with the following:  the Alliance ’s battle strength is reduced by 20% with the withdrawal of the Hapan fleet and morale among the GA’s population is reduced by the Jedi abandonment.
Admiral Niathal doesn’t say it, but Caedus knows that she is thinking he should resign. As it is, he is still recovering from his brutal battle just a few days ago with his uncle, Luke Skywalker, who had inflicted severe wounds but had not killed him.
His physical condition is painful enough, but is compounded by the betrayal of the love of his life, Tenel Ka, the mother of his daughter, Allana.
Caedus assures Niathal that the Hapans will rejoin the Alliance after an operation he is going to be carrying out soon.  He doesn’t offer any details.
Niathal tells him that Belinda Kalenda has pulled Dr. Seyah off of Centerpoint because he believes his cover is being blown.  He’s already back on Coruscant.  Caedus fumes at both Kalenda and Seyah for being idiots.  He decides to have Seya arrested, tried for desertion and execution. 
Bimmissari and some other minor worlds have defected to the Confederation, Intelligence is finding increased communications between the Confederation and the Imperial Remnant and the Corporate Sector. 
Caedus thinks all of that will be irrelevant when the Hapans return.
Afterwards, Caedus fumes about how everyone he’d loved had deserted him, except Allana.  He’d known it would happen, but it doesn’t dull the pain.  He will not allow Tenel Ka to turn his daughter against him.
Yoda had once told Luke that electric shocks, with frequent, irregular intervals and varying intensities, can inhibit a Jedi’s ability to use the Force.  Emotional shocks do about the same thing. 
Finding his son being tortured by his cousin, Jacen, was bad enough.  Ben’s hardened desire to take the kill was worse.  Luke knows that, had either of them killed Jacen at that moment, Ben would have started a downward spiral to the Dark Side.
Keeping Jacen alive, however, has just condemned millions more to die. 
Kyp Durron approaches him.  The Jedi have relocated to the Endor moon for now.  Kyp tells him where they’ve hidden their ships.  The students are packed into the old Imperial outpost while the Jedi have found caverns nearby for training. 
There isn’t any problem with the Ewok clans, especially Wicket’s, which is nearby.  The Masters are still concerned about how to handle Jacen, though. 
Luke asks Kyp to arrange that.
              •    We met Dr. Seyah in Betrayal when he was first traveling to Centerpoint as an Alliance spy.

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chapter 3:
On Kashyyyk, Jaina walks down the ramp of the Falcon to tell her father that she fixed the damage Alema did before Leia interrupted her.  Jagged Fel and Zekk are with her, the former handing Han the blaster that had been taken by Alema.
However, there is no sign of Alema.  No fingerprints, no skin cells, nothing to prove she was ever there.  Jaina wonders if this is related to that phantom fight that Jacen and Ben had when they went to Brisha Syo’s asteroid. 
There are reports that Alema is flying a Sith ship that had been associated with Lumiya.  She could have been taught other things, too.  It is perhaps good that Leia didn’t cut down Alema, considering she felt Waroo in two different places.
Jag is sure Alema will get better at this with more practice.  They will have to find her quickly.  Han thinks that means getting the shuttle that Colonel Solo took on the trip.  She would have fixed the ship so that it wouldn’t have the coordinates anymore, but the shuttle records will still have other details, such as the amount of fuel, duration in hyperspace, Hypercomm traffic and other small details that can be tracked.  It might be a good idea to grab that shuttle somehow.
In the cockpit of the Falcon, Jag takes a quick seat in the captain’s chair, telling Leia not let Han know he did it.  He explains to her that he’s not convinced that Brisha Syo ever existed.  This person seems to have had only one purpose in life, to provide Lumiya a motive to go after Ben for a killing that even he doesn’t remember. 
There is no record she ever existed beyond a garbled message that implies she was Lumiya’s daughter.  They have only one witness, Jacen, who never turned in a report of what happened.  Living people leave more memories than that.
To him, Brisha was made-up or an alternate identity of Lumiya. 
Leia wonders if Jag himself isn’t leaving memories, thinking he has only one purpose before he vanishes. 
                                    •    Jag is, of course, correct.  Brisha Syo was an alias of Lumiya’s.  I’ve had a hard time with the Jedi believing that Brisha was her                                              daughter, knowing that the Sith deal in deceptions.

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chapter 4
The Jedi Masters in exile meet on Endor.  Luke, Katarn, Cilghal, Kyp, Corran, Saba and Octa Ramis.  Both Kam and Tionne Solusar are recovering from their wounds received at Ossus.
As they all spar in a skilled dance, Kyp bounces his idea off on Luke.  A team of a couple of Masters, three or four Knights and a native guide will approach the Senate Building through the undercity, wait for Jacen and spring a trap with coma gas, shock nets, then a direct assault by the Jedi.
They move him through the undercity to exit while an empty droid shuttle takes off to draw pursuers away.  This is a capture mission, but they must accept the idea that neutralizing Jacen could also occur. 
There’s not a mission leader chosen yet.  Luke asks if the native guide can be trusted.  Corran doubts it.  Kyp has the girl brought up.  A teenage girl named Seha who’d been brought to the Temple not long ago and sponsored by Jacen.
She tells Luke that much of her family died when the Vongforming began on Coruscant.  She and her father fled to the undercity where he soon died.  She found refuge among the other displaced persons below.  Jacen would come down every so often to visit the World Brain.  When he determined she was Force sensitive, he arranged for her to come to the Temple even though she is rather old for an apprentice.
Out of gratitude for his help, she helped him, by passing on information, sneaking things in and out sometimes.  She was the one who helped get Ben out of the Temple.  When she heard about the massacre at Ossus, she couldn’t believe Jacen could do that.  She came forward then.
Corran doesn’t think she can be trusted as a guide.  Cilghal points out that Seha did help destroy the computers at the Temple when the GAG seized it, carried out a set of complete records and led to Jedi to safety.
Luke isn’t sure she should come on this mission.  If Jacen sees her, she would be in terrible danger.  Zekk knows the undercity pretty well.  Seha reminds him that Zekk doesn’t know it since the Vongforming.  She thinks she’s the best person for the job.
Luke isn’t sure he knows what the Force is telling him anymore.  Since Mara’s death, there are so many conflicting choices.  He turns to Kyp and asks why there’s no decision on a mission leader yet.  Kyp explains that he thinks Luke should lead it.
The Jedi don’t know where they’re going at this point.  They need Luke to show them by leading.  Knowing that he will strike at Jacen with hatred, putting Ben’s future at risk, Luke decides that Kyle Katarn will lead instead.
                  •    Seha first appeared in Exile

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chapter 5
Darth Caedus is disguised as an engineering officer aboard a GA shuttle en route to Hapes.  When he gets there, he sees his daughter though the Force, playing with a toy creator.
When the shuttle lands, Caedus shoots the pilot and pulls his cargo out of the bay.  Inside his luggage, a little redheaded girl named Tika is hidden.  He tells her they are going to change her clothes and do her hair before she goes to play.
Tenel Ka greets her father, Prince Isolder, and asks his advice about the GA representatives here.  He knows she wants to see them when they are most desperate and will agree to have Colonel Solo removed from power, but doesn’t want to prolong the war anymore.
Isolder reminds her that she’s already made her demands.  She should send them home now so they don’t have any more opportunities to argue with her.  That should increase their desperation.
She is concerned when chime indicates the security level within the palace has gone up a notch.  This isn’t unusual for the palace where alarms rise and fall so often that they are almost meaningless.  Still, Tenel Ka knows of no reason this should go off now. 
She asks her chamberlain to find out the reason for this latest alert.  Tenel Ka advises her father that she doesn’t want to get the reputation for being unwell.  That was something that plagued her mother, the late Teneniel Djo, who had not been able to handle the shock of so many lives lost at Centerpoint during the Yuuzhan Vong war.
The chamberlain reports only an automated elevation of the alert that happens when small random events occur that raise flags with the security system.  In this case, there are small static interruptions in the holocam feeds of no more than a few seconds each.
Tenel Ka seeks Allana out in the Force and finds her sleeping, then she expands to look for something else.  A pull in the Force tells her there’s another user in the palace.  She punches buttons on her monitor to show Allana playing at her toy creator.  She’s nearly relieved when she remembers that Allana had been asleep a moment ago.
There are also no guards in the playroom.
She calls an alert and rushes out of the room, her father after her. 

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chapter 6
The Queen Mother runs past a group of courtiers gathered at an open door to find a guardswoman dead.  A male courtier’s body lies hidden behind a curtain.  Following the presence of her daughter, she finds a cook dead in a corridor near the kitchen and runs to the hangar. 
A recently-arrived shuttle is surrounded by her security, but she knows it’s a diversion.  Tahiri Veila’s StealthX is firing up.  Jacen is in the cockpit with Allana on his lap.  The shields are up and the repulsorlifts are at full strength.
She orders her people to take cover.  Jacen looks at her, presses a button on a comlink and a stone column collapses in the hangar.
When she wakes up, she’s on a divan in a waiting room, her father at her side.  He tells her their ships are waiting on routes between here and Coruscant, but it’s likely Solo will pick a route they cannot predict.
A little girl had been left behind as a decoy.  She’s an orphan who’d been promised that one of thousands of beautiful women on this world would become her new mommy.  A datachip had been left with the child.
The chip contains a message from Jacen to Tenel Ka.  He has her daughter.  He tells her that being abandoned at Kuat was like being murdered and surviving.  If she doesn’t put all Hapan military forces under his command, Allana will die.
Tenel Ka asks her father if he thinks Colonel Solo is capable of carrying out this threat.  Though he doesn’t know Jacen as well as she does, Isolder admits he’s seen the recording a dozen times and only sees a man whose humanity has been removed.  He thinks the threat is serious.
Tenel Ka tells him that it’s exactly like being murdered and surviving.
                               •    At one point, Tenel Ka calls her father Prince Isolder.  I just thought that was weird.

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chapter 7
Warro brings Han a case that’s been delivered for him.  Inside is armor fitted in foam inserts.  A message, “With Deepest Sympathy”, is included.  Han tells them it’s beskar armor, strong Mandalorian iron, that can even take lightsaber hits.  Crushgaunts will crush whatever they grip, the breastplate and backpiece are light, but durable.  It’s a gift from Boba Fett who understands the loss of a child.
This stuff is very valuable, but Han won’t use it.  Jag asks if he can as it will be helpful in dealing with Alema Rar.  Han agrees if Jag will tell him why Jaina has become so emotionless lately.  Jag explains that the Sword of the Jedi title is getting to her.  She’s convinced that she will not only have to take down Alema Rar, but Jacen, too. 
She can’t be persuaded that sharpening a sword all the time will cause it to break.  Unfortunately, Jaina doesn’t learn from words, only success and failure.
          •    This is the beskar that Fett ordered delivered to Han at the end of Sacrifice.

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chapter 8
Allana wakes up in the GAG building on Coruscant to find her friend, Jacen.  He tells her that bad people came to her home like before and used coma gas to put everyone to sleep.  Her mother thought she would be safer with him.
Allana doesn’t remember any of this.  What he’s saying makes sense, but her mommy had always told her that anyone she’d send Allana away with will always know the special words.  Jacen hasn’t said them yet.  She wonders how long it will be before he remembers them and what she will do if he doesn’t.
Kyle Katarn’s team consists of Valin Horn, Thann Mithric, Kolir Hu’lya and Seha, who leads them through the undercity beneath the government district.  She shows them the direction of the Senate Building. 
Katarn will need the position closest to Solo’s usual entry to the building   He tells Seha to stay here, stay alive and get them all out regardless of the outcome of the mission.
          •    We met Thann Mithric and Kolir Hu’lya in Betrayal
          •    Valin Horn should be about 27 years old by now.

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chapter 9
Lt. Oldathan is an aged pilot flying a K-wing for Commenor.  Like many other retired pilots, he’d been called back to active duty when the war began.  Alliance ships are here again to keep them from going anywhere else.
His squadron moves out toward a mystery blip that may just be a malfunction.  There’s only one courier shuttle out there when they arrive.  Nothing much out of the ordinary is going on here.  However, the comm. transmissions are odd. 
One rescue shuttle reports retrieving six friendly EV pilots.  It’s odd because there’s no report of retrieval of any enemy pilots.  He’s heard rumors that the war is causing harsh treatment of prisoners on both sides.  He wonders if the shuttle pilot fired on any EV enemy pilots.
One of his comrades insists that he saw a star disappear.  Oldathan looks to see that a star is, indeed, missing, but then it reappears.
Sensors don’t acknowledge this.  Thinking this may be a cloaked ship, they plot to intercept.  As they get closer, they find this is an inbound ship the size of a meteor.  They are given permission to fire upon it. 
A huge shape appears for a moment, several small starfighters and shuttle come from it.  It’s a huge asteroid.  The enemy craft clears away before the asteroid pulls apart into chunks, drifting forward. 
Oldathan sends Control a feed to warn them, but he doesn’t have enough firepower to affect even one shard.  He tells his squadron to join him in attacking the cloaking mechanism so at least the same tactic can’t be employed with the same equipment again.

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chapter 10:
The Jedi team has traced and re[traced their stations to the exit points and are now positioned beneath different plaza-level access covers.
Valin Horn is hanging in a vertical shaft peering through a holocam monitor, waiting.  They are using an intercom so comlink transmissions will not be detected by security sensors. 
Mithric tells him that Kolir is receiving HoloNet news.  The Third Fleet attacked Commenor by dropping asteroids onto the planet.  The task force commander did this himself, without orders from Solo or Admiral Niathal.  He’s being brought back on charges.
The Commenori are going to retaliate anyway.  It will be hard to convince them that it was a rogue officer.
A convoy passes above, Valin spots a long black speeder and thinks it could be Solo.  The second vehicle might be carrying a YVH droid.  He watches the speeder stop, several armed guards get out, the YVH carrying a long crate and then Jacen Solo.  When he’s a few meters from the vehicle, Valin tells them to go.
Caedus hears the four clanks and knows there’s a problem.  The YVH spins at the same time, causing Allana to complain from inside the crate, and Jacen ignites his lightsaber.  He tells the droid to secure the package while he handles the attackers.
An automatic grenade launcher fires.  He pushes them away with the Force and finds more headed his way, propelled telekinetically.  They are dazzle-grenades which temporarily blind his support troops.
Caedus senses Kyle Katarn and several Jedi with him.  Katarn asks if he wants to surrdender.  Three Jedi Knights, Valin, Mithric and Hy’lya, support him, but only Katarn is a real threat.
They begin a duel with only a brief distraction while Caedus kicks Valin Horn off his feet.  Seha watches the fight from the pavement hatch.  She pulls a patch of black cloth with adhesive stuck to it and sends it flying toward the fight.
Caedus is unhappy to find this attack is coordinated.  There are several GAG vehicles on the way, chasing what looks like the Jedi escape vehicle.  He uses the Force to bring a GAG speeder down, knocking Katarn into him and then using his lightsaber to plunge into Katarn’s chest.

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chapter 11
Seha watches Mithric lunge at Jacen.  Master Katarn’s instructions to her to act when the battle is most chaotic ring in her mind.  She flies the patch onto Colonel Solo’s cloak and knows she should leave.  She can’t help but watch.
She reaches out with the Force to pull Master Katarn’s body to her.  The GAG troopers are getting their vision back and start firing.  Valin leaves the others to the attack to ward off the troopers.  Hu’lya races for the downed shuttle.
Katarn opens his eyes and tells Seha to go.  He wants one of the explosives package now.  She lowers him to the floor, telling him she’ll get them both out alive.
Having not recovered yet from his duel with Luke, Caedus is grazed by a blasterbolt deflected by Horn and is getting beaten down by the Falleen Mithric.  He starts slipping.  He waits until an incoming bolt comes in with one of Mithric’s attacks before catching the blow with the hilt and a bolt with the tip, deflecting onto the Falleen.
Then he severs Mithric’s head before turning to face Valin.  He can’t believe Valin is going to try this alone, telling him he’s a fraction of the man his father is.  Valin tells him that he was going to say the same thing before he dashes to the shuttle, too. 
It’s a pointless move as the shuttle isn’t going anywhere.  But, more confusing, Katarn is nowhere in sight. 
Allana notices that Jacen is hurt right off.  He tells her bad people tried to take her from him while YV was helping her.  She admits she doesn’t like riding in the box.  Caedus explains it keeps people from seeing her so they don’t know where she is. 
She keeps waiting for him to say the special words but he doesn’t.  He tells her he loves her, though.  She loves him, too, but misses her mommy.  He does, too.
Ben dreams about the Yuuzhan Vong vine digging into his flesh while he was in the Embrace of Pain.  He wakes up in a small room in the former Imperial outpost that had once served as a walk-in closet.
He finds his father meditating.  He feels guilty because he’s been snappish lately.  It’s been hard being the only person who knows that Jacen killed his mother, not Alema Rar.  But his father doesn’t deserve this.
Ben sits down and tells him that he finished the homework that his parents had given him before he went to Almania.  He reminds his father of the essay about how Anakin Skywalker fell to the Dark Side.  Ben learned that Palpatine manipulated Anakin so that he would be suspicious of everyone, had him do terrible things so no one would trust him and isolated him from others.  Anakin probably hated the Emperor, but had no one else.
That’s what Jacen was doing to him.  If he’d killed Jacen that day, he’d have fallen to the Dark Side.  He wonders if Luke would ever send him off on a mission that might get him killed the way he’s sent Valin Horn.  Luke tells him that being the Grand Master means he cannot let his emotions determine who he sends and who doesn’t.  The Jedi wouldn’t trust him if he did.
Ben asks if Luke had a choice between killing Jacen or saving Valin from the Dark Side, what he would pick.  Luke admits he’d kill Jacen.  Ben knows this means that his father chose from the heart during the fight with Jacen.  He doesn’t want special treatment anymore.
Luke agrees only on the condition that, if Ben ever has a shot at Jacen again, he does it only without hate. 
Kyp Durron has news from Coruscant.  The mission has only been partially successful.  Jacen evaded capture, Katarn is being treated for serious wounds at a safe house, Mithric was killed, the others evacuated through the downed shuttle into the undercity. 
The tracer did get attached to Jacen, though.
Kyp explains to Ben that they figured the ambush portion of the mission would fail since they couldn’t control place or time.  The tracer will help with that.  Only Katarn knew the truth.  It’s likely Jacen will retaliate now.  They need to improve their resources.  Luke offers to contact Wedge, Booster and Karrde to see what they can arrange.
Kyp welcomes him back.

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  • Jedi Cool changed the title to Legacy of the Force #7: "Fury"

chapter 12
Maitell Base had been build by Imperial occupation forces decades ago.  Zekk is tired of practicing with Jaina.  She’s well beyond him now and needs to spar with a Master.  Zekk warns her that she’s playing too rough and is a danger to everyone.  He won’t work with her unless she agrees to using practice sabers.
They are interrupted by the arrival of a black-clad figure with a helmet and cape.  It turns out to be Jag.  He agrees to spar with her.  Jaina warns him that she is dangerous, but agrees to use a practice saber with him.
The first couple of matches are over as soon as they start, but when she tries to kick him in another match, she hits metal.  She uses the Force to push him into a tree, goes over to him and finds he’s wearing the beskar armor.  Jag tells her that she’s training herself to die.  He’s watched her for a long time and thinks she’s concentrated on the Sword part, but not the Jedi part.
No Jedi he knows would have pushed him into a tree just for losing a practice match.  She didn’t know he was wearing it and could have seriously injured him.  She has to start thinking, not like a Jedi, but as one who hunts them.
He thinks she needs a day off.
When he heads back to the Falcon, Zekk joins him.  He thanks Jag for getting through to her.  That’ll make her think.  Jag admits he doesn’t like confronting her.  A few years ago, he thought he had a future with her, but she slipped away.  He let that happen, but he can’t let her lose her humanity, too.
Zekk may not have thought much of Jag in the past, but he’s glad to have him as a comrade.    Watching from the top of the boarding ramp, Leia steps back and asks Han how to teach a man not to be a noble, long-suffering, self-sacrificing idiot.

Han tells her he mostly just shoots them.

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chapter 13
Caedus brings Allana everywhere, guarded by trusted officers and his YVH droid.  Right now, he’s working on multiple fronts. 
Tenel Ka has not only not turned her fleets over to him, but has withdrawn them into Hapan space and cut all communication with the GA and everyone else.  She’s either been killed in the explosion that accompanied his departure and her successor has opted for neutrality or she’s risking the life of her daughter.
Fortunately, he’s convinced the Confederation that the nonaggression treaty with the Hapans is void, so they are using resources to monitor that area, too. 
The Jedi have gone underground with the exception of the attack on him a few days before.  Tahiri has been sent to find them but has had no luck.  It appears that the Jedi have been warned about her association with him.  It’s a big galaxy and she’s just a stupid, needy girl who keeps wanting to flow-walk.
He’s gotten so tired of seeing Anakin again and again that he hates the kid now.  He has no idea why he ever held him such esteem as to name a Star Destroyer after him. 
Commenor retaliated for the asteroid attack by unleashing an airborne bacterium that has spread through the armed forces and lower social classes.  Since the affliceria bug had been deemed extinct a hundred years ago, there are no stores of antibiotics for it. 
His subordinates have reported that Dr. Seyah disappeared shortly before he was to have been arrested.  Caedus suspects he was always a double agent.
Allana is responding to him with less enthusiasm each time.  He is reluctant to try to erase some of her memories of her mother but may take that step if it’s necessary.
As Han moves the Falcon into her hangar, he spots the Love Commander sitting there.  He’s been helping with the firefighting, but meets his friends to tell them he must go.  He gives them the registration for the ship, telling them to do whatever they want with it. He has to get to Tendra.
Fearing the worst for their friend, they are relieved to learn that Tendra is going to have a baby.  Lando thinks it’s fine for them to be happy, but he’s too old to be a father.  Leia assures him that the only people who think they are ready for parenthood are kidding themselves.  He and Tendra will be the parents every kid dreams of having.
Darth Caedus has come to think of this ship as his home.  His life had been spent traveling all over the galaxy with no real place to call his own. Now, he can sleep in the same bed every night and keep Allana safe nearby in the hidden quarters.
He is told that Admiral Niathal is coming up on her personal shuttle.  This unscheduled arrival must mean something important is up.  He orders preparations made.
              •    Look at how Jacen’s attitude is changing about his family.  Last book, he filled himself with his love for his family to fight a battle.  Now,                          the dear brother for whom he’d named a ship disgusts him.

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chapter 14
Niathal tells him that Sadras Koyan, the Five Worlds Prime Minister, is considering changing sides.  Hed been Chief of State of Tralus before Gejjen was assassinated, but was elected Prime Minister afterwards.   He’d been a member of the Centerpoint Party.
He wants to negotiate with Jacen specifically at any location equidistant between Corellia and Coruscant with an equal number of vessels for either face-to-face or ship-to-ship negotiations.
Caedus thinks this is a trap.  He will not let Allana be separated from him until the war is over which means she’s not going into a possible trap.  On the other hand, he cannot allow Niathal to realize that he’s concerned about the child.  If she sees her as anything other than a hostage, she could be dangerous if turned against him.
He decides to do it so long as they can units standing by to jump to the talk site when trouble erupts.
Cilghal explains Kyle’s injuries to Luke. Besides, two severed ribs and a penetrated lung, he’s contracted the affliceria bug and several other infections.  Valin did the best he could, but they had to drag Kyle through the undercity and the explosions they planted to cover their escape kicked up dust into the air.
Valin also tells Luke about the YVH droid that was programmed to get cargo away rather than help its master, some mob violence in response to the bacterium and much suppression of news on the HoloNet.
Wedge appears with Wes Janson.  Iella is analyzing the news and passing her guesses to him, Karrde and Booster.  He doesn’t hear much from Syal who is still flying for the GA.  Myri is aboard Errant Venture, passing info to him. 
He’s here because an old friend of his from the Corellian Defense Force was recently returned to active duty and assigned a recommissions Carrack-cruiser at the age of 90.  He’s going to be part of a diplomatic mission to the GA that even Phennir wasn’t told about ahead of time.  Since making inquiries, Phennir was told it was a distraction.
All this comes from a couple of sources close to each.  The meeting is scheduled for two days at a halfway point between Corellia and Coruscant.  Luke decides to send a StealthX out to see if they can figure out where. 
Caedus relaxes during the hyperspace jump until Lt. Tebut, at the comm. station, tells him they are being hailed by a yacht called the Love Commander.  He’d rather blow it up right now, but Lando isn’t completely useless. 
He starts to chastise Calrissian until he sees his mother’s face.  He notes his father isn’t with her.  She tells him the Falcon is on Kashyyyk putting out the fires he started.  She wants to speak with him.
Sensing no danger or assassins, he decides to let her land, listen to what she has to say and then throw her in prison. 

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chapter 15
When Leia is brought in, she tells him he needs to look at himself and his life.  He isn’t interested in this debate, disappointed that she hasn’t anything more important to talk about.  She’s not the mother she used to be either. 
She and his father are criminals and have been for decades, only forgiven by the ineffective government they put in place of the legitimate one.  Leia asks if he’s ever studied Darth Vader.  Clearly he got his arguments from him.
In the smuggling compartments of the Love Commander, Jaina and Han wait until the security team stops its scans.  She wonders how long her mother can keep Jacen distracted. Han doubts Jacen will fall for a guilt trip, but he might get enough buttons pushed to enter into a prolonged political debate.
Fortunately, the sensor crew doesn’t scan for ysalamiri, so they don’t sense the creature preventing Jaina and her team from being sensed by any other Force user nearby.  Further, Jacen’s shuttle is in this hangar.
Slowly, the two of them, Zekk and Jag, exit the ship and hide from the holocams behind vehicles and get rid of the guards.  Their next job is to take out the tractor beams and install some holocomm gear.
In his office, Caedus is debating the finer points of Palpatine’s rise to power, but pointing out that he worked within the system to gain power.  That’s what made him legitimacy.  The Rebel Alliance and the Yuuzhan Vong came in and destroyed everything in sight.
Lt. Tebut arrives to tell him they’ve dropped out of hyperspace.  Caedus invites her to the bridge where she can see him foil a trap or, at least, see her friends being welcomed back to the GA.
He finds that the Corellian forces include a Star Destroyer called Valorum.  It was launched 60 years ago in the latter days of the Old Republic.  That makes them desperate.  He contacts the Blue Diver and gives Admiral Limpan instructions to jump in if they lose contact for more than 15 seconds.
The Confederation fleet is full of old, decommissioned vessels, and is commanded by Captain Hoclaw.  She warns Caedus that starting off their negotiations by asking if they’re going to surrender is not going to get him far.
          •    Caedus displays some knowledge of the period surrounding Palpatine’s rise, including the fact that Valorum was his predecessor in office.

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chapter 16
Jag and Han start tinkering with the main motivators of the hangar. 
Leia tries to listen to the conversation between Jacen and the captain, but can’t get something out of her head.  She drops down to an intelligence officer and asks him for an isolated audio feed of Corellian’s side.  He refuses, but she points out that she has a vested interest in making sure that this ship named for her dead son doesn’t get destroyed with her remaining son on it. 
While Hoclaw haggles over reparation costs, Leia listens carefully and has the officer send a message to Jacen.
Jaina knows her mother has to be doing her best to delay him, but they can’t stay here forever.  Her mouse droid has pulled much from the shuttle, but not everything.  Zekk finishes with his task.
Caedus reads the message that states that his mother cannot pick up bridge or other noises in the transmission he’s getting.  She thinks the ship is either automated or has only a skeleton crew.
He gets irritated when Hoclaw asks that he step down as a gesture of good faith.  He refuses to back down on any of his demands and gives her ten minutes to accept them or he’ll give her harsher conditions.
He turns to find his mother nowhere in sight.  The intelligence officer tells him the guard has taken her back to the command salon.
Caedus follows quickly.
Several members of the Corellian Defense Force are waiting in the fire-control chamber of Centerpoint Station.  Sadras Koyan, Denjax Teppler and Admiral Delpin are growing anxious for the thing to come online, but Teppler does mention that Hoclaw is certain she can keep stalling Solo.
At Lumiya’s asteroid base near Bimmiel, Alema Rar thinks she should get some worshipers now that she’s a goddess.  She can’t believe Lumiya used this technology to further the Sith agenda. 
Once she has had her revenge on Leia, she will go back to Korriban and get rid of that nuisance colony there.  This will take time as her last projection to Kashyyyk had taken a lot of her, but Lumiya’s notes had promised better results with practice.
She reaches out to the Force to find Han and Leia, but they are nowhere to be found.  She broadens her search and finds a Force presence that is bright and pure.  It’s a human child, sleeping.  Alema wraps herself around the girl so she can go hunting for Han Solo.
When Caedus reaches his command salon, he finds only officers who tell him that the guard took his mother to his private office.  Caedus rushes in to find the guard knocked out and his mother gone.

Confirming that Allana is stil sleeping in her room, he orders security to find Leia.  When he learns that she is headed to the private hangar where the guards are not responding, Caedus suspects that she had allies when she came aboard. 
To be safe, he checks Allana’s room personally to make sure this isn’t a decoy.  She tells him she dreamed there was a lady here.  If Allana is not what Leia is after, it could be anything.  He orders weapons launched the minute the yacht leaves.  Fearing that Leia may have brought a bomb aboard, he decides to take Allana for a ride.
At Centerpoint, the officials are told the targeting system is holding.  Koyan authorizes the launch and Delpin to fire the weapon.  Delpin has her teams move in.

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chapter 17:
At the controls of a personnel speeder, Caedus rushes himself and Allana to the hangar so they can get off this ship.  He can’t trust any of his familiar ships, so he grabs a prototype TIE Recon Fighter.
The sensor officer reports sixteen squadrons of starfighters have dropped out of hyperspace.  Caedus orders Admiral Limpan’s task force to be brought in and the [i]Anakin[/i] to be moved to the rear of the formation.  He launches then.
Aboard the Love Commander, the team prepares to leave while Jacen is preoccupied with the Corellians.
Caedus brings his TIE around, nicknamed the Blur, and watches the stars.  More ships arrive, including several capital ships.  They stay far from the Anakin Solo in a formation that is so weak he can’t think of a worse one.
Then he remembers his father telling him years before that the moment he’s so much smarter than his opponent that he doesn’t even have to try to beat him is when the other guy smiles and hands him the vibroblade he just used to cut his heart out.
Then he shakes his head beause his father has nothing to teach him anymore.
Allana tearfully tells him someone is going away.  And someone else, too.  He knows she’s Force-sensitive and can feel the pilots dying.  More sensitive than he is to the feeling of loss, there isn’t anything she can be told to help her.  He feels helpless.
Han pulls the Love Commander out of the Anakin Solo to make his run.

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chapter 18
Jag and Zekk are strapping themselves in when Alema Rar pops in.  There is a quick fight before the infrared sensors in Jag’s helmet shows him the truth.  When none of them will battle her, she asks how they found out.
Jag tells her Lumiya told them because she hated her.  Angered by their gloats, her image wavers and she vanishes.  Leia asks if Jag learned anything useful.
Luke, Kyp, Corran, Tyria Tainer, Twool and Sanola Ti drop out of hyerpspace to find the GA task force surrounded by the Confederation.  It’s configuration is not what Luke would consider sound.  Twool is monitoring Jacen’s tracking device which shows him hovering away from the Anakin Solo.
If this is true, it means several layers of defense between them and Jacen are gone and they could just shot him down.  Of course, they are under comm. silence so Luke can’t communicate that.  He wants to avoid a battle meld so that Jacen won’t sense it. 
He decides to move toward the ship Twool has picked out, fire on it and the others will follow.  Sanoli Ti is the youngest Knight on the mission, but has picked up the skills in piloting of her aunt, Kirana. 
He follows Jacen’s ship, opens up to the others and fires.
Caedus is trying to figure out how to console his daughter when he suddenly feels hopeful.  Realizing it’s a Jedi battle meld, he hits the thrusters as the ship is hit from behind.  He senses Luke, Corran and Kyp.  Angry that the attacks keep coming when he’s with his daughter, he lets it grow to fuel his power.  He makes himself smaller in the Force. 
Still lasers come at him, missing him by meters.  They are tracking him somehow.  They may be homing in on Allana’s Force presence and targeting him that way. 
Clamped to the stern of the Anakin, the Love Commander waits for an opportunity to launch.  Leia feels a wave of hatred coming at her.  She and Jaina know Jacen is out there somewhere.  So is Luke.
Han decides it’s time to go and do what they can.
          •    Twool first appeared in The Joiner King.
          •    First appearance of Sanola Ti.  Her aunt, Kirana, gets name-checked a lot, but no storylines at all.

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chapter 19
Luke feels the hatred coming through the Force, but doesn’t respond with hate as he fires away at his target. 

Caedus activates his shields, rather than using the stealth technology.  He calls the Anakin Solo for support.  Kyp and Corran come at him and he uses his anger to push himself away, not able to comfort Allana.  Two XJ7s and an ugly Aleph harass the the pursuers.
Luke stays on his tail, needing to finish this now.  He opens himself up to the Force and senses a little girl.  He can’t believe there is a child in that ship.  But he can’t kill an innocent.  He has the other Jedi form up on him and veer off.
Free from pursuit, Caedus finds out the name of the Aleph pilot.  It’s Syal Antilles.  He was saved by the oldest daughter of yet another Alliance traitor.  Still, he had promised to reward loyalty and merit, so he promotes her to captain.
A blow in the Force stuns Caedus, it flies through space and turns the ships there into nothing.
Luke senses it, too, spotting the emptiness where the battle should be.  Jacen is alive.  Leia, Jaina and Zekk are not too far away.  Whatever had hit this region came and went quickly.
On the Love Commander, Jaina thinks Centerpoint was fired.  With Jacen’s ship still out there and starfighters headed toward them, it’s time to go.

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chapter 20:

Prime Minister Koyan demands to know what happened.  Teppler isn’t sure.  Delpin determines the weapon fired but the system overloaded.  It took time to get past the imprints on Anakin Solo.
There’s no way of knowing what the damage was until they get eyewitness reports.  For now, they’ve lost all contact with the decoy fleet which might mean they were wiped out.  If so, the Alliance ships probably went with them.
Until they know more, they’ll have to work on repairing the damage Centerpoint caused thumbing its nose at those who fired it and weren’t Anakin.  
Back on board the Anakin, the surviving starfighters from the Second Fleet are in the hangar, while the SD limps, without a hyperdrive, back to Coruscant.
Centerpoint is operational and his enemies tried to use it against him personally.  They didn’t know it, but they’d tried to kill Allana, too, and will pay for that.  Everyone who had supported Corellia in this action will die or end up in a prison workshop.
Admiral Niathal wants to see him at once at the Senate building, but he doesn’t want to be away when Allana wakes up.  He does ask [b]Captain Nevil[/b] is he lost anyone. Nevil admits he lost his son.
Caedus tries to feel sorry for him, but really can’t because Nevil is a nobody. 
In his office, Niathal tells him the Second Fleet is in shambles, the Blue Diver is gone and Limpan with her.  Caedus admits he only escaped because he felt in the Force that something else was going on, took the Hapan princess with him to prevent the Jedi Solo from rescuring her and got out in a starfighter.  He was pursued by Jedi StealthXs and had the Anakin Solo follow.
As it stands now, the Corellians lost a bunch of junk ships in exchange for several modern GA vessels.  But Caedus thinks they’ve won the war anyway.  The GA must take Centerpoint from the Corellians.



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chapter 21:
Syal Antilles is met by Tycho Celchu aboard the Anakin Solo.  She tells him she got her promotion by virtue of almost shooting down Luke Skywalker.  That’s supposed to make up for losing her entire squadron, including her fiancé.  
Tycho is serving as an analyst for Admiral Niathal, but now he needs her to tell him about morale on the field, about the war and Colonel Solo. 
She explains that the Yuuzhan Vong war was clearcut.  They either won or they died.  Everyone she knows counted that, when they were told what they are fighting for now, it would make sense.  It doesn’t.
As a result of all this chaos, terrible things are being done or are being said to be done, she’s shot at, not only Luke, but her own father and everyone is afraid of Colonel Solo.  No one talks about him at all.  Syal asks Tycho if he’s ever heard of someone whose own people never talk about him.
Tycho admits he knew one or two a long time ago.  He asks if she wants out.  Syal tells him she wants to do something to bring the war to an end, but she’s not going to bring dishonor to her uniform.  Problem is, she doesn’t know how to bring honor to it.
She doesn’t know if he understands what that means until he reminds her he used to fly for the Emperor, a man no one ever talked about.  He will be giving her nonsensical orders in a couple of days.  He asks her not to protest, but go where they tell her.  He’ll be there.
He asks if she can get ahold of her father. It will take time, but she can.
General Phennir is furious at the Corellians for using Centerpoint without working with his office.  Koyan reminds him that it’s a Corellian resource.  With Solo dead, they only have to deal with the more reasonable Admiral Niathal.

Phennir tells him the [i]Anakin Solo[/i] is orbiting Coruscant and asks if he’s sure Solo is dead.  Reports indicate the ship had been withdrawn from the engagement zone by the time the weapon was fired.  If they’d worked with Phennir, he could have actually turned the tide of war.
If Koyan thinks Centerpoint makes him all that powerful, he can forget about getting aid from the rest of the Confederation.  An experienced politician knows it’s time to appease Phennir.  Koyan just tells him not to threaten him.

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chapter 22:
Back at Maitell Base on Kashyyyk, Jaina finds Jag in the workshop.  Talon Karrde has sent results from the preliminary data from Jacen’s shuttle.  She stops when she sees him working on his gear, including the Mandalorian armor.  He has a backpack with a thruster, a blaster pistol he designed himself with some special features and a flight suit laced with cortosis alloy. 
Jaina gives him something else he needs:  the coordinates for Brisha Syo’s habitat. 
Allana’s nightmares have continued for two days.  The medical droid has explained the emotional trauma, but it can’t ease Darth Caedus’s pain.  When she wakes up, she looks around, draws away from him and grabs the injector pen her mother had given her.
She tells him she wants to go home.  He explains that she’s safer here than anywhere else.  Allana doesn’t believe him.  She accuses him of taking her without permission. 
Caedus tells her it’s true, but he doesn’t need permission.  He tells her to open her heart and listen to him, she’ll know what he’s saying is true.  Her mommy has the right to decide where she goes because she’s Allana’s parent.  Jacen has that right, too, because he’s her daddy.  He knows that she’s suspected she had one and she was right.  It was important to keep the secret for awhile.  When the war is over, everyone can know and she can help him decide things for everyone.
At Korriban, the Sith Order meets in the ruins.  A woman named Dician reports news of Alema Rar.  The holocron given to her traced her back to the asteroid belt near Bimmiel.  She would like to send a cloaked ship there when one is available.  In her identity as an intelligence agent for the Confederation, she must allow the Jedi to think of her as an ally.  As a result, she’s gotten a lot of information about Rar.
It appears that she has inherited the lost technique of phantom projection originated by Darth Vectivus from Lumiya.  This lost art could be beneficial to them all.  They will have to recapture Alema and take the secret from her.
The Order decides to send a fully armed warship instead.  Dician will have to locate the power source for this technique and destroy it, obtain any artifacts in her possession and either capture or kill her.
Tenel Ka’s retinue accompanies her for a walk in the Endor forest.  She tells Luke that she turned her back on the Alliance and withdrew from the war.   Luke is sure she had a good reason.  Tenel Ka isn’t quite so serene about it.  She tells him that Jacen has kidnapped her daughter and has threatened to kill her if she didn’t resume her duties as an Alliance member.

She believes he could do it, too.  But, her people have spent years trying to recover from the last time Centerpoint Station was fired.  The desperation of the Confederation is building.  They can use the station to destroy whole worlds.  
 She has to turn her fleets against Jacen and risk losing her child.  She knows where her daughter is, she can feel her through the Force.  She’s on the Anakin Solo.  Luke reminds her that she is of no use to her people or to the Order if she can’t move past her grief.  He wonders if they should just rescue Allana.

Without her, Jacen loses his hold over her and the Consortium, Niathal may reconsider her alliance with him and they could sue for peace.  This could end the war.


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chapter 23

 Near Bimmiel, the Falcon drops out of hyperspace.  Han and Leia spot Jag’s X-wing which means Jaina and Zekk are here somewhere, too.  Leia comms Jag to tell him they’ve begun a passive sensor scan and are running computations on any good-sized asteroids to determine their locations when Jacen and Ben visited.
Han decides their best bet is to find the biggest, roundest asteroids first.  Corporate bigwigs love big round things.

Alema feels a ripple in the Force and begins to search for the source.  Not finding anything, she relaxes and seeks any hint as to what it was.  Then she feels it again.  Someone is hunting her.

On the Frigate Poison Moon, Dician is notified that a nearby spherical asteroid has been confirmed as the source of the tracer transmissions. Dician orders a course plotted to keep them out of the line of sight for as long as possible.  

Her sensor officer, Ithila, is a Hapan woman with burns scars across her face caused by an explosion during the Vong War.  A bacta allergy prevents removing them so she went into exile because of the Hapan standard of physical perfection.  Ithila reports that there are two targets, neither with an active transponder, one is probably a starfighter; the other a light freighter.  The starfighter is approaching the same asteroid.

Dician orders the approach continued, but all weapons at the ready.

Jag approaches the asteroid and spots the habitat that perfectly matches what Ben described in his report.  It’s unknown if Alema is even there, but, if she isn’t, they can wait for her.  Further down, he spots a light coming from a room that must be what Ben described – the one that led to the railcar which accesses the mines.  

He lets Jaina and Zekk in, his hands mimicking an explosion.  Apparently, Alema has left a booby trap.  She may still be here, then, or had quickly departed.  He tells them there are two bombs, so far.  No Sith ship, though.  Jaina reaches out through the Force, disappointed to feel that Alema is gone.

Zekk doesn’t think she has and directs them to where he thinks she still is.  Then Jaina feels her and the ship.  Obviously, they’ve not surprised her.  They will have to travel through several minutes of hard vacuum to get to her, though.  If they use their flight helmets, combined with their flight suits, they should be able to handle it.  

Dician realizes the light freighter is probably the Millennium Falcon.  The glory she would receive for ridding the galaxy of Han and Leia Solo would be great.  She pushes her crew to continue their approach to be absolutely sure.  They will be perfect.

Leia feels a pulse in the Force from the direction of the asteroid.  It’s the presence of Alema Rar, reaching out for her.  She tells Han that Alema’s found them.  They prepare for her Force phantom.

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chapter 24

Jag jumps down into the vacuum, followed by Jaina and Zekk.  They feel Alema reaching out for them.  No sooner do they hit ground, a flock of mynocks rushes toward them.

Han registers mynocks against the Falcon’s hull.  He prepares to burn them off.  She stops him.  One on the cockpit stares straight at her and she can feel that it is Han.  She warns him that he’ll burn himself.  It’s both a Force phantom and him.  

Han decides to shake it off instead, hitting the thrusters.  The mynock is knocked forward, then wheels back around toward them.

From the Poison Moon, Dician can see the Falcon maneuvering, but no opponent is visible.  She’d just felt something brushing against her in the Force before it moved on.  She orders the ship to wait until the Falcon is oriented away from them and then begin a run.  She’ll give the order to fire and launch shuttles.

After ducking, Jaina can sense that the mynocks contain complex personalities.  One of them is Jag – they are phantoms.  Kag suggests they divide Alema’s concentration and overload her.  He begins to lead some of the mynocks away.

As the Falcon spins Han loses eye contact with the creature.  He asks Leia for help finding it, but she sounds the alarm that there are incoming ships.  A large frigate is nearby, emitting several shuttles, as well as turbolasers.  They are outgunned, but not enough to persuade Han to leave his daughter behind.

The mynock is gone, then Leia senses it again.  Alema’s voice echoes from within the ship, calling for Han.

Jaina and Zekk are attacked again.  Zekk accidentally destroys a protocol droid he assumed was a phantom, cracking a couple of ribs.  Alema has certainly had time to come up with diversions for them, but nothing too difficult.  It would seem that their theories about the limitations of the phantoms are holding true.  None of them seem to be able to have much range, limited to proximity of the bodies they are simulating.  

Jaina senses malevolence, approaching too fast for her to dodge.

The mynocks come after Jag, knocking the crushgaunt on his arm, but not damaging it.  His flight suit, on the other hand, has a small cut in it.  He covers the gash with his other arm, hoping that the armor underneath his flight suit can be concealed as much as possible.  

Alema Rar waits at the lowest level of the cavern.  The railcar rests at the bottom of the track, angled upward.  To her left is the entrance into Darth Vectivus’ private cavern.  She is tiring of having to maintain so many phantoms at a time.  It’s time to finish off the intruders.


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chapter 25:

The attack was aimed at Jaina.  Zekk lashes out, pushing Jaina with the Force.  The source is full of dark energy, both unliving and kinetic.  Zekk can sense a large ball with webbed wings, a spike and landing implements.  He also senses its hatred.

Fighting a starfighter with a lightsaber isn’t easy. It does serve to distract it from Jaina, though.  He sends her on, determined to handle this himself.  He decides to abandon his detachment and pour contempt for the Ship into his emotions.  

He can sense its anger now, as if it were banging on a door.  He understands its thoughts now, familiar since he’d learned them years ago at the Shadow Academy.  If he would open up those techniques, long repressed, he might be able to battle it.  But he wavers.  

Deciding that it will go after Jaina next, he opens himself to darkness and his mind becomes clear.  The Ship doesn’t understand.  He is a Jedi.  Zekk tells it he’s been many things.  The Ship decides he can’t be trusted.  Zekk finds it amusing that he trusts Alema Rar, planting images of her as a young Jedi Knight. 

The Ship doesn’t trust her, but it must obey her.  Zekk wants to know if it has to obey anyone who knows the dark ways.  He knows them, too.  He tells Ship that it is free from Alema Rar. It must leave her and this place in order to find a better master, ignoring all else.

Ship resists due to older orders from Alema, then it takes off.  Finally, Jaina was safe.  He will find Alema and kill her.  Then he’ll kill that irritating moralistic Jagged Fel, reconnect with Jaina until she loves and obeys him.  He has to remind himself that he shouldn’t be thinking these things.  The dark side is pouring into him and it’s very strong.

Jaina can’t reach either Zekk or Jag with her comlink.  Moving on toward a couple of Force presences, she finds Jag in the grip of a mynock attack.  Jaina battles the one dragging Jag off until her friend changes into the form of the young, unmaimed Alema Rar.  The other mynocks disappear.


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