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chapter 26

Aboard the Falcon, Leia struggles to keep her balance while watching the doorway to the access corridor.  When she spots the blue-black lightsaber blade, she leaps up and lights her own saber.  Alema appears in her young, unblemished persona, savagely attacking.

Leia blocks her, conserving energy, causing Alema to become angrier with each failed attempt.  Alema tells her that she is old and will eventually tire; both she and her husband will die.  Leia tells her she’s head some variation of that same speech for decades now.  It’s part of being old.

In the cavern, Alema glares at Jaina, but doesn’t attack when she feels something in the Force.  Jaina can feel it, too.  Something growing and devouring…Zekk.  She reaches out through the Force, but cannot find the familiar presence of her friend.  Alema laughs at this first, but not last, loss of the day.  

Jaina begins to sense something else…a sense of freedom.  Something is leaving this place.  Alema realizes that it’s Ship.  Alema calls for it and then vanishes.

In fact, on board the Falcon, it is Alema who is tiring.  She is about to attack again, when her eyes open wide and she disappears.    Nothing in the Force can find her.  

Still being dragged by a mynock, Jag tries to assess any damage to him when the creatures suddenly disappear and he finds himself flying toward a stone wall.  He engages his thruster pack to slow himself, but he still hits the wall hart, hears something crack in his left leg and his vision fails.

Alema reaches out for Ship, calling it to come back.  She has no way to escape now.  She’ll have to find whatever vehicle had brought the Jedi or find a way to lure in the Falcon.  She boards the railcar and prepares to ascend.

Ithila informs Captain Dician that something new is coming.  A Sith meditation sphere is in range.  Believing Alema Rar is making her escape, she prepares to fire until she’s told the ship is empty.  She orders the shuttle crews back, confirms the explosive charges are in place and authorizes their detonation.

Then she reaches out for the sphere and asks where it’s going.  The image of Ziost appears in her mind.  She orders a course laid in for the Sith homeworld to see if they can beat Ship there.  


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chapter 27:

As their attackers run off, Han and Leia wonder what they had wanted.  They can see the damage to the asteroid.

Jaina spots the railcar and knows that neither of her friends is aboard it.  She starts cutting through rail track until the car hits the gap.  Alema jumps out and tells Jaina to get out of her way.  Jaina is hit by dark energy, knocking her back, giving Alema time to leap past her.  Then Alema is distracted by a blaster bolt from nowhere.

Jag slowly descends using his backpack thrusters.  Jaina wants to stay and finish off Alema.  Jag thinks he should deal with her.  Someone is using explosives, cracking the shell of the asteroid, causing the atmosphere to vent.  Zekk is one chamber up and won’t leave.  If Jaina doesn’t help him, he’ll die here.

With his suit, he can handle hard vacuum for more than an hour; Jaina doesn’t have that long with just her face mask.  When she gets to the next cavern, she should cut the track free.  A few weeks ago, she would have argued with him.  But she just wishes him Good Luck.

Jag takes a pouch off of his utility belt, jams it into the metal of the track and ascends.  Alema leaps from below and lands where Jag had been standing.  Thumbing his comlink, Jag gives the detonation code and the pouch explodes…but not before Alema uses the Force to sail free and far away from her.

She uses the Force to start tossing track at him.  Fortunately, the beskar plate takes the brunt; however, it also distributes the impact so he is hurtled to one side.  He flies about thirty meters, only to be hit again.  Crashing into a vertical section of track, he clamps his left crushgaunt on it.

Alema tells him she knows he must have brought his X-Wing so she will use it to escape.  Jag warns her that the remains of the Dark Nest have to end here.  The track starts giving way and they begin to fall.  He pulls his blaster and aims it.  Not fast enough, though.  Alema uses the Force to pull his blaster to her. 

She mocks him for failing to learn, not knowing that the sensor inside the blaster is informing the processor that it’s gone a certain distance from him and the seconds count down.  She barely registers the danger before it explodes.

He finds her missing her right arm now.  He grabs her neck and can see fear in her eyes.  He isn’t having it.  She’d just tried to kill him.  She whispers the word, “Remember”.  He knows she wants to be remembered the way she had been before the universe turned against her.

He crushes the vertebrae.

Then he hits his thrusters and rises up.

Jaina finds Zekk and orders him to get moving.  He tells her the evil of this place has infected him.  He’d thought he’d be able to keep it away from him, but it doesn’t work that way.  She asks if he’s her friend. Zekk tells her that he is and he loves her.  

She explains that she needs him to help her.  He needs to climb.  If he doesn’t, she’ll have to carry him which will slow her down and get her killed.  He forces himself to move.  

When they reach the surface, the ground is shaking.  Another explosion flashes.  They float through into the habitat.  At that point, the shock wave from the explosion hits, causing Jag’s X-Wing to tumble out of view.   The habitat tils and begins to move, tumbling free of the asteroid.

Forcing themselves into the hangar, they find their StealthX’s among standard equipment, some of it floating.  The control board for the hangar door and atmospheric shield is dead. Jaina tells Zekk to get into his ship and she’ll get the hangar doors open. 

He refuses.  She’ll be sucked into space when she opens them.  She tells him she’ll use a shadow bomb, something he knows will damage their ships.  

On the Falcon, Leia can hear Jaina’s voice across the comm board.  The wall of the hurtling habitat blows out, followed by the two StealthX ships.  Leia asks if she’s alright.  She’s noncommittal. She believes that both Alema and Jag are dead.


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chapter 28:

Han and Leia watch the asteroid explode.  Over the comm board, heavy breathing alerts Leia that someone is out there.  She calls for Zekk.  But Jag answers.  

He got to the surface, commed his astromech which gave him the distance and bearing to his X-Wing which was upright and was able to get in.  But it’s damaged and he is unable to calculate a hyperspace jump.  Han offers to run the numbers for him.

On Endor, Luke and Ben chat with Han and Leia who tell them that Alema Rar is dead.  Jag is badly injured, Zekk is not himself right now and the asteroid has been destroyed by an unmarked frigate that attacked during the operation.  Shuttles planted fission bombs and left.  The Sith ship appears to have flown off by itself.  

They will arrive in a couple of days.  For now, Luke feels the soberness of the situation.  Alema can no longer threaten his family, but it’s regretful that her insanity was not her fault.  Ben asks if he’s feeling better.  Luke says he is now that Mara’s murderer is gone.  He still feels that Ben is withholding something from him, but will let his son decide when to reveal it.

In meditation, Luke opens himself to the Force, but finds no serenity.  He gets no guidance, visions or images of the future.  It doesn’t bother him anymore.  Ben rejoins him and sits down next to him, not speaking.  For a long time, they sit together.

Luke tells Ben that his thoughts betray him.  Most of the time, that doesn’t mean much, but transmitting them around the wrong person is dangerous.  He wants to know what is wrong with him that Ben feels he cannot express.  

Ben wonders why his father doesn’t have any energy.  It used to empower other people; however, since his mother was killed, Luke seems incapable of movement.  Ben had assumed that, once her murderer was dead, Luke would be able to move again.

Everyone recognizes that Luke has lost his center.  No one knows when he is going to take charge again because Luke’s leadership is what will make a difference.  Luke tells him that people fixate too much on what he did as a young man with limitless energy at a time when there were no real Jedi left.  That was a long time ago.  Others can lead.

Ben disagrees; no one can be Luke Skywalker.

Luke tells him that he cannot toss the weight of decades off of his back.  If he could, it would eliminate everything he’s learned from them.    He’s more of a teacher and director of resources;  someone should be groomed to take his place.

Ben accuses him of wanting to be dead.  When he was told that Alema Rar was dead, he should have been relieved that he could move on with his life and get back to work.  Instead, he’s looking for a replacement.  That is really what attachment is, not marrying or having a family, but being reduced to nothing when those you love are gone.  Mara would not want Luke to live like this. 

Luke realizes that Ben is right.  He slowly pulls away from his grief, still missing Mara, but now able to breathe.  He wonders when Ben got so smart.  Maybe it’s time for him to build his own lightsaber.  

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chapter 29:

Syal Antilles lands her shuttle on the Endor moon, looking around at the ships and the huge curved section of durasteel that had once been part of the second Death Star.  She can just imagine Miri cutting off sections and selling them as souvenirs.

She suddenly thinks that’s disrespectful to her passenger, Tycho Celchu, whose homeworld of Alderaan had been destroyed.  He tells her they should actually cut some pieces off anyway.  Upon disembarking, they find her father waiting on the ground and Tycho tells her she’s off duty.

Also on board the shuttle is Doctor Seyah who is wanted by the GAG and was rescued by Tycho before he could be arrested.  Tycho wants to know if Luke can give him sanctuary here.  

Luke leads the group through the Death Star wreckage: Han, Leia, Jaina, Zekk, Syal, Tycho, Saba, Corran, Ben and Kyle Katarn.

Luke stops them under some shade.  He tells them that Tycho has come to ask the Jedi Order to return to the GA.  Wedge thinks it is Admiral Niathal who wants that, but hasn’t given him orders to do so, which means his career is toast if something goes wrong.

Luke understand this, but will not allow the Order to be put in a position where any part of it can be commanded by Jacen Solo.  Until the Chief of State can be trusted, the Jedi serve the GA best by determining what is best for everyone.

The Jedi serve the Galactic Alliance, nonetheless.  Once Jacen Solo is not in a position of power, they will return to Coruscant and work with Admiral Niathal.  In the meantime, they will have to evacuate Endor so Jacen cannot track them here.  Their next mission will be to rescue Tenel Ka’s daughter, Allana.

Tycho breaks down Luke’s plan:  They’re going to rescue the Queen Mother’s daughter, freeing Tenel Ka up to turn her fleets against Jacen and, consequently, the Galactic Alliance…which will then be conquered by the Confederation.

Luke explains that there’s a missing detail.  He suspects Jacen will try to retake Centerpoint Station from the Corellians, especially after they just used it against him.  The Jedi cannot allow anyone to have this superweapon so they’re going to destroy it…probably at the same time Jacen will try to recapture it.

Tycho argues that doing so will deprive the Galactic Alliance of both the Hapan Fleets and Centerpoint Station.  Luke tells him that they will give the Queen Mother the right to negotiate the use of her fleets while at the same time denying the use of Centerpoint to the Confederation.  The huge loss may cost the Corellians allies.  If Niathal can muzzle Jacen, the Alliance might get the Hapans back and the Alliance will be stronger.

Tycho thinks there are too many hypothetical scenarios in there for this to work.  

Luke explains that a tracer has been planted on Jacen who seems not to have detected it.  If they can keep StealthXs near the Anakin Solo, they may be able to determine when the mission starts.  It’s a short-range beacon, but it’ll have to work.

Leia interrupts to reveal that Zekk has planted a full-power holocomm beacon on the Anakin and partly disabled the tractor beam to allow for an escape and to distract the mechanics.  He did this during the raid to find out the information about Brisha Syo’s asteroid.

Luke continues, the plan now altered to just use the long-range beacon to know when to jump to Corellia.  Tycho has brought an expert who can help them figure out the best way to destroy it.  Tycho jumps in to protest that he did not bring Doctor Seyah here for that.  Luke says he was willing to blow it up once; he probably still is.

They can take Tycho’s shuttle which still has a registration and identity under his name.  There is the issue of Tycho violating his oath to the GA to allow this.  Wedge will not pull a blaster on his friend, even set to stun, especially since his daughter is likely to do something foolish in Tycho’s defense.

 So Wedge puts his finger at Tycho and tells him to imagine it’s a blaster set to stun.  They banter over which type of blaster is the best pretend weapon to use while Syal shakes her head.

Luke asks Wedge to pick a starfighter squadron that will chase the shuttle to safety aboard the [i]Anakin[/i] and to provide support at Centerpoint Station.  Luke will lead a unit of Jedi to attack Jacen, either to remove him or, at least, distract him.  Han and Leia will lead the rescue mission to retrieve the little girl.  Kyle Katarn will handle extraction of both teams.  Doctor Seyah and the other scientists here will try to find out the best way to destroy Centerpoint.  Having had some experience there, Ben will be part of that mission.  

Ben suggests that he go with Luke to the Anakin.  Besides, diverting Jacen’s attention from the real mission, it will keep him from wondering where Ben is.

Luke agrees and, after apologizing to Tycho for imprisoning him, stealing his shuttle and exposing him to Ewoks, allows Tycho to volunteer to come along on the trip to Corellia so he can fly a starfighter, get a good look at everything and fly home.  He appoints Syal his special envoy as part of the ongoing discussions to bring the Jedi Order quickly and amicably back into the GA.

Wedge is reminded of his first diplomatic assignment.  He and Tycho just opened fire on everyone who disagreed with them.


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chapter 30:

Jaina watches over Jag who seems to be struggling to regain his vitality.  He lost consciousness on the way to Endor, after the Falcon had picked him up following a short jump to Bimmiel.  He doesn’t know where he is.

She tells him that his scars are mostly physical; but Zekk is still recovering emotionally.

At least, Jaina, tells him, he’s restored his family honor.  Jag doesn’t seem too encouraged by that.  Chiss rules are stringent.  Because of the mistakes made by others, even Jaina, Jag could not return home.  His hunting of Alema had been the last task given to him.  Now his connection to his people is severed.

She suggests he stay with the Jedi.  Jag doubts Zekk wants him around.  She assures him that she considers Jag a friend as much as she does Zekk.  Jag confronts her about their relationship.  Does he have a place in her life?  Is she really his friend?

She thinks for several long moments and then says she is.

For now, she has a couple of Solo family traditions to tackle:  rescuing a princess and blowing up a big space station.

In the Command Bunker on Corellia, Denjax Teppler makes sure the door is secure while he disables the holocam over it.  When he finishes, he activates a transmission.  The holographic form of General Turr Phennir appears.  

Teppler wants to talk about the embargo of Corellia;  Phennir explains that its Koyan’s incompetence which is the reason for the embargo in the first place.  The Confederation is a warrior, Corellia is a poisoned arm and Sadras Koyan is the venom that will kill the whole body.  There is no doubt that when this war is over, Koyan will use Centerpoint Station to force Corellia’s allies to accede to his demands.

He demands that Teppler have Koyan removed from power.  It doesn’t matter how it’s done, only that someone replaces him with whom Phennir can work.  Teppler considers that a dual leadership governs the Alliance right now.  Perhaps, Admiral Delpin could run the military while Teppler himself handles the civilian aspect.  

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chapter 31:

Darth Caedus is satisfied.  Allana has accepted him as her father, the Hapans are behaving, he feels healthy and healed after his fight with Luke.  Corellia’s defenses seem to be genuinely lax.  In one day, he will run Centerpoint Station.  Soon, the war will be over.

Lt. Tebut, on security detail, hands him the day’s report.  Before she leaves, however, she notices that he has a patch on his cloak and mentions it because it’s unusual for him to wear old clothes.  Caedus pulls at the patch and recognizes it as a beacon.

Sitting in the co-pilot’s seat on the Falcon which itself is berthed in the hangar of the Errant Venture,  Han reminds Jag that he doesn’t let just anyone fly his ship.  Booster reports that the Anakin Solo is leading ships out of Coruscant’s orbit.

The rescue team assembles: Han, Luke, Leia, Ben, Saba, Iella and R2.

The pilots man their ships under Rakehell Squadron: Syal, her father, Tycho, a Dathomirian Jedi Sanola Ti,  Corran, Rodian Jedi Twool, Tyria Tainer, Cheriss ke Hanadi, Jaina, Zekk, Volu Nyth and Wes Janson.

Meanwhile, in a troop carrier, Kyp and Dr. Seyah compare their fake GAG uniforms.  The other members of the team, such as Valin Horn and Jaden Korr are dressed the same.

Near Centerpoint Station, Rogue Squadron is dispatched.  Wedge doesn’t appear shaken by the fact that his former squadron is among the enemy.  He tells his pilots that the shuttle Reveille is ready.  She’ll head toward the Anakin Solo while the pilots pursue her, shooting.  They should try to miss.


  • Twool first appears in Dark Nest I: The Joiner King.
  • Tyria Tainer first appeared in X-Wing: Wraith Squadron.  This is her first appearance since The Unifying Force.
  • Cheriss ke Hanadi first appeared in X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar.
  • Volu Nyth first appeared in Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream.
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chapter 33:
As Tycho’s ship disappears, Wedge calls the squadron to form up to annoy another shuttle.
Teppler doesn’t think that Koyan’s resilience against Phennir’s demands will last much longer.  Centerpoint is under attack and Confederation forces are needed for its defense.  Phennir agrees to stand by until he gets confirmation that Koyan is no longer an obstacle.
Captain Nevil tells Caedus that there are reports of Jedi and saboteurs aboard.  He reaches out through the Force to sense Luke, Ben, Saba and his mother.  The latter surprises him and he calls security immediately.
Withdrawing from the battle meditation, he has his additional defenders, 8 YVH droids, come in.  Others will be stationed in other parts of the ship. They are necessary to reduce the number of Jedi attacking.  He can take Ben and his mother without a problem.  Saba would be more difficult, but Saba and Luke together would be impossible.
The four Jedi head out first with Han and Iella behind, R2 trailing them.  The droid heads to the nearest datajack. 
Rakehell Squadron heads after a shuttle with fake battle damage.  Under Wedge’s orders, they shoot but don’t hit.
On board, Dr. Seyah and Kyp are headed to Centerpoint.
Caedus is monitoring the battle which is going well, despite mounting casualties, and the Jedi team which is sometimes visible on the holocams.  Luke, Ben and Saba take out defenders her and there, but Leia is nowhere to be found.  Through the Force, Caedus isn’t hiding, so Luke found his presence easily.  He wonders if his mother is wounded.
Then a blast door begins to glow as a lightsaber blade starts to cut through it.
Koyan doesn’t understand how he can make Niathal surrender if she won’t talk to him.  His technician thinks he should just destroy Coruscant and show them what the station is made of.  Even Koyan won’t go that far.
Teppler comms him and explains that he thinks the enemy is trying to capture the station and, more specifically, the Prime Minister himself.  There is a shuttle standing by that will get him to safety.  Koyan would rather monitor the situation from here so he can decide about firing.
Teppler assures him the he and Delpin can monitor from the command bunker until he gets there.  Koyan agrees, then tells the technician to take orders from Teppler and Delpin until he hears from him again.
Rakehell Squadron has the displeasure of meeting Rogue Squadron in combat.  Syal is unhappy to have to fire on an ally, but cannot do anything less than her best for her father.

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chapter 34:
The shuttle comes in hot, lands and goes to greet the Corellian defenders who begin firing immediately.  Seyah is pushed through the airlock doorway and Kyp Durron suggests he fire his weapon.
Ben finishes cutting the circle out of the blast doors, then uses the Force to push the circle out.  A small round object flies through the hole and hits the deck.  Ben starts to leap, but Saba uses the Force to flip the cut out metal over the detonator and shield the explosion. 
Blasterfire pours through as the Jedi fight four YVHs.  Two are taken down, leave two to face each master.  Saba cuts the head off of hers, while Luke topples one with the Force and drives his blade through the back.
Koyan runs through the endless corridor, jumping over bodies of infiltrators and CorSec security guards alike.  When he finds the shuttle, a GA officer is piloting it.  He pulls his blaster, she fires at him and then realizes she didn’t set it for stun.  She comms the Anakin to tell them who she just shot.
Syal gets hit with minor damage to her thrusters, but she is saddened that she had vaped a Rogue a minute ago.  Her father tells her that he did, too.  Rogue Leader Lensi who was a good man.  Sanola is shot up, so Syal is his wing now.
          •    Lensi was introduced in [i]Rebirth[/i].

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