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"Revelation": Book 8 in The Legacy of the Force series


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Prologue:
 
Twelve weeks after the death of Mara Jade Skywalker, Jaina Solo contemplates her next move.  She’s worked out that her brother, Jacen, never came home from the Yuuzhan Vong war.  The person who came back from the Embrace of Pain was a different person.
 
The only way to stop him now is to pursue a previously-unheard of path.  The Mandalorian crushgaunts made up her mind.  Beskar is nearly lightsaber proof, but she expected them to blow up when her dad opened the package.  After all, when did Boba Fett ever send her father gifts?
 
The answer, of course, is since his daughter was tortured to death by her brother.  They’ve been waiting for Fett’s revenge ever since but all that’s arrived is the beskar.  Jacen’s had training she hasn’t, but he’ll have to make a mistake soon.  When he does, she’ll be ready. 
 
Fett can’t be that hard to find, so she’ll hire him to train her to hunt and capture her brother. 
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          •    The time is now 41 years ABY so the last 7 books took place over the course of less than a year.
 
 

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chapter 1:
 

An Irmenu folk legend predicts the great warrior-sailor will be summoned from his sleep and come to their aid.
 
Ben imagines killing Jacen Solo, but can’t erase his face from his mind.  Jacen may be a stranger, but that’s someone you never knew or loved.  Family can hurt you the way no one else can.
 
He had the chance to kill him once, but his father stopped him. He might get another chance.  Jedi have killed Sith before and not jumped to the Dark Side.  He can’t get passed this.  Alema Rar didn’t kill his mother.  Jacen knew where to find him on Kavan and knew he was there with his mother’s body.
 
His father will snap if he tells him this.
 
Talking to Aunt Leia may help.  When she arrives, Jaina is with her.  He admits he has some difficult things to say and hopes they won’t rush off and tell his father.  He believes Jacen killed his mother.
 
Outlining his reasoning based on what Capt. Shevu taught him, Ben points to how ruthless Jacen has become, how Jacen found him on Kavan despite the fact that Ben was hiding in the Force, and that it was Ben who found the Sith ship on Ziost and turned it over to Jacen.  The next thing they know, Lumiya is flying it.
 
She may have been adept at stealing things, but even she couldn’t have swiped it without someone knowing about it. 
 
As for motive, he had told his mother about the things he was ordered to do and it made her angry.  She probably confronted Jacen and he used poison to make it look like Alema did it.  Alema has spent all this time hunting Aunt Leia and Uncle Han, not his mother.  Alema would have bragged to Jag about killing her.
 
His mother held on to her body long after death only to fade just as Jacen showed up to the funeral.  He can’t help but think it’s a message.  He’s committed to looking at the evidence even if it proves Jacen didn’t do it.
 
In his 90s, Gilad Pellaeon is enjoying time on his lawn when his aide, Vitor Reige,  arrives to tell him that an envoy from the GA is here.  A message invites him to discuss  a mutual aid treaty.


Pellaeon is irked.  He’d resigned rather than work with Jacen Solo, who’d never worn a uniform in his life prior to creating an unaccountable secret police force, but now an impersonal moral decision has morphed into loathing.  He won’t forget that he was forced out.
 
Deciding that Jacen Solo cannot play with his ships, Pellaeon doesn’t see the point in aligning the Empire with a regime that does not match interests.  Reige agrees to return the crumpled message as is and walks off, loyal as a son.  In fact, it’s possible he could be Pellaeon’s son, but the pain of losing Mynar is too great and he doesn’t want any more hopes dashed by confirming it.  Still, he’s made generous provision for Reige’s future.
 
Darth Caedus stares at the crumpled note, not carrying what Pellaeon thinks of him, and asks Tahiri if he maybe didn’t explain himself well enough.  She tells him he needs the backing of the Moffs, not Pellaeon.
 
Unfortunately, retired admirals can still be called back and he needs Pellaeon’s endorsement.  He wonders if he offers them Bilbringi or Borleias, that could be incentive enough.
 
Tahiri should prove she can finish a mission so he wants her to go talk to the old man.  And wear shoes, too.  He’ll have to see her and the Moff Council will find out.  They’ll ask questions and he’ll have to tell them. 
 
It’s easier to deal with one stubborn old man than the Mandalorians who are getting orders from Corellia for their new beskar-armored fighter.  He’s been waiting to see what revenge Fett would take on him, but it would seem the hunter is playing a much more dangerous game.
 
For now, though, he has to steer clear of Mandalore.  The next priority is Fondor which churns out ships for the Confederation.
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        •    Vitor Reige appeared in Remnant.
        •    So possibly two illegitimate sons for Pellaeon?  I didn’t know Pellaeon had so much time on his hands!
        •    Isn’t Borleais a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Coruscant?  Isn’t it constantly being used as a staging area to strike at the capital? Why would Jacen offer the Imperial Remnant such a strategic location?  And doesn’t Bilbringi have shipyards, too?  Aren’t those always being attacked?
 

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chapter 2:
 
Boba Fett is sent a message from the Phaedan State Treasury that the estate of Hidu Rezodar has been released to him.
 
At Fenn Shysa’s memorial site, marked by his helmet, Fett tells him he got his way.  Mirta comms him, anxious to get started. 
 
He heads to Goran Beviin’s farm where he’s told the rooms and med droids are ready.  Not knowing what to say to a wife whose been missing for year, or even if she will survive being thawed from her carbonite state, much less what age she was when it happened, is unnerving.
 
Mirta asks him where he was.  He admits he was at Shysa’s memorial.  She tells him his brother told her that he deposed Shysa.  Fett counters that Jaing Skirata may share a genome, but isn’t his brother.  He has no idea what went on between between Fett and Shysa, only that one came back and the other didn’t.  Mirta presses until he admits that he killed Fenn Shysa.
 
Aboard the Anakin Solo, Admiral Niathal can sense the fear.  Captain Nevil had witnessed Colonel Solo kill a junior officer.  This type of news doesn’t stay secret and will surely spread across the fleet. 
 
She’s not sure what she will do now.  Captain Nevil asks what she’s planning to do about him.  She would like to invoke emergency powers and have him arrested, but the GAG is very loyal to Solo and would likely trump the MPs.  She would end up sole Chief of State with a military that largely still supports him.
 
But she is now a spy for Luke Skywalker and needs to stay close to Jacen.  She admits there’s not much she can right now.  Nevil is adamant that he be brought up on charges.  Niathal tells him that, when firing on a target like Solo, one mustn’t miss and give him the chance to fire back.
 
Besides, there’s a war on and the distracted citizens of Corsucant haven’t been affected by any of this.  For now, she will confront him indignantly about his lapse in judgment before arranging a meeting with Skywalker.
 
Niathal puts anger into her thoughts, storms into Jacen’s office and tells him that executing officers should not be done on the bridge in front of everyone.  Its’ bad for morale which is an asset they can’t afford to lose.  He reminds her that they could have lost the war because of her mistake. And what happened to her brought that home to everyone.
 
She asks if his action was deliberate or if he lost control.  As it is, she will have to spend time improving morale lest the ship’s crews lose their initiative for fear of making a mistake. 
 
Jacen thinks she’s just trying to be popular.  They need to move on to Fondor.  He doesn’t think hitting their industry is a good idea because they need the shipyards intact.  The resources to hold them will come from the Imperial Remnant.
 
Niathal doesn’t think Pellaeon is going to work with them.  He tells her that he was going to offer the Moffs Borleias and Bilbringi.  This is problematic because neither world is a full member of the GA so they’re not Jacen’s to give.  They will either be turning a blind eye as the Moffs invade or committing resources they don’t have to help them take the worlds.  That doesn’t even take into consideration that the Imperials will be dealing with two populations that may not appreciate the new boundary lines.
 
She also doubts Tahiri will be a sufficient negotiator.  It would seem Jacen’s grooming her to take Ben’s place.  Niathal is rather glad Ben got out of the GAG.  On the way out, she passes Capt. Shevu.
 
Han regrets letting Jag have the crushgaunts.  Jaina assures him she can make her own crazy decisions and Fett is probably the best Jedi hunter out there.  Han asks her if she thinks Jacen is capable of killing Mara.
 
She doesn’t think he did but Ben’s arguments are rational.  He wonders what she’s planning to do with Jacen when she gets him.  Jaina thinks they’ll worry about that at the time. 
 
Han warns her that Fett may not take her up on the offer and she will have to accept that he can’t do everything.  Her parents will be in that part of the galaxy looking for sites for the new Jedi base if she needs help.
 
She’s hoping Fett will take her on because he understands her pain, but it doesn’t really matter his motivation, so long as he agrees.
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chapter 3:
 
Taun We asks how Boba’s illness has progressed and if her data has been of any use.
 
Ben shuts himself down in the Force before he lands in Galactic City.  Applying what he learned in the GAG, he changes clothes and starts with Shevu’s girlfriend.  At her workplace, though, he finds she doesn’t work there anymore.
 
Shevu’s apartment is still there, lived in, but nothing of Shula anywhere.  He waits until Shevu shows up and thinks there’s an intruder.  Ben reveals himself before he’s shot.   Shevu confirms that they’ve only been told he’s not working for GAG anymore and expresses condolences over his mother.

Ben tells him he knows Jacen killed her.  Shevu knows this, too, because they both follow the same rules of evidence.  Additionally, Jacen killed an officer aboard the Anakin Solo without even touching her.  He thinks Jacen’s a psychopath.
 
Ben explains the Sith theory.  Jacen was in the area, had the ability and probably the motive.  He has no evidence beyond the fact that his cousin found Ben with her body when he shouldn’t have.
 
He did record the crime scene, but no one believes him because they’re convinced Alema Rar did it instead.  Shevu reminds him that most murders are carried out by people the victim knows.  Ben asks him what happened to Shula. 
 
Shevu tells him that he married her secretly and sent her off Coruscant to keep her safe.  He’s amassing a file on Jacen that he hopes will bring him down.  Those who oppose him tend to end up dead.  They decide to pool their resources.
 
Changing her journey to N’zoth, Niathal meets with Luke Skywalker.  She tells him that Jacen has starting killing officers on his ship with the Force. This could either cause morale to plummet or usher in a reign of terror.  She’s willing to provide intelligence so long as Luke agrees to use it to remove him somehow.  She doesn’t really care how.
 
He suspects Jacen is becoming a Sith.  He really doesn’t have powers that are different from regular Jedi, but he is very strong.  His battlefield meditation technique seems to be quite effective.  Niathal adds that Tahiri Veila seems to have replaced his son.
 
Luke tells her that Ben has taken off again and may be on Coruscant hoping to build a case against Jacen.  She promises to assist him in any way she can.  He recommends she check with Lon Shevu.
 
At the repository on Phaeda, Boba Fett and Mirta retrieve the carbonite form of Sintas Vel.  She asks him how they parted. Fett admits he shot her for her own good so she wouldn’t open a booby trap.  It was just a small burn.  Mirta guesses she made out better than Shysa then.
 
Beviin and Medrit meet them on Mandalore where Sintas is thawed out.  She is blind, but that’s not surprising.  She’d been frozen in her mid-thirties, but still a beautiful woman.  She cannot tell them who she is. 
 
If she’d been older, Fett would done things differently, but she’s not old enough now to even be Mirta’s mother.  Beviin asks him how much of her past he would want her to forget.  Fett tells him it’s not her, but him, who needs to forget.
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chapter 4:
 
Shula Shevu sends a coded message to her husband, telling him not to take any stupid risks.
 
At Bastion, Pellaeon watches at the practice for his state funeral that will have to happen someday and, thus, must be rehearsed regularly.  He assures Reige it will only depress him if he’s taking part in it.
 
Meeting with the Moffs, he’s informed that there are rumors the GA is recruiting allies.  They aren’t convinced that fighting Jacen Solo’s war for him is worth their while, though.  Pellaeon confirms that Bilbringi and Borleias are being offered which doesn’t mean much as they aren’t the GA’s to give.  To fight for them would mean that they would have to shed blood for Colonel Solo, then to take the worlds from their populations.
 
Pellaeon adds that his problem is that Solo has no political or military experience.  Jedi are good at being doers, not managers, though Princess Leia is probably an exception to that.  Likely, he owes much of his success to Admiral Niathal.
 
They decide to sit it out and see what Solo has in mind first. 
 
Caedus accidentally turns to Lt. Tebut for assistance again before correcting himself.  Tahiri is waiting there now.  They are headed to Fondor to show the inhabitants how easy it is to get to them.
 
Caedus needs Tahiri to start growing beyond performing for tidbits of flowwalking.  He’d started her off that way to lure her, but she is going to have to accept how serious Sith service is.  She needs to move beyond doomed romantic fantasies that will never come true.
 
He has the ship brought in close, leaving the ship open to attack, but orders no firing of weapons.  That will be Tahiri’s job.  He asks her if the Fondorian fighters are a threat, reminding her it’s only a few seconds to allow a missle to hit their hull and kill hundreds of people. 
 
When the ships are in range, powered up, but not targeting, Tahiri, feeling pressured, decides to fire.  He asks if she made the right decision.  She may have neutralized a threat, but she also fired on vessels that hadn’t targeted her. 
 
If she’s to become his apprentice, she needs to be able to answer the rightness of her actions in her own mind.  Killing should never feel easy. It should trouble her at some point or else she’s not up to the task.
 
He retreats to his day cabin when Shevu comes in with reports.  It’s clear Shevu doesn’t approve of Caedus or his methods, but he knows his duty.  Caedus makes nice, asking if he’s sleeping well and about his girlfriend.  Shevu explains he doesn’t have a girlfriend anymore.  Noting that Shevu is due some time off, Caedus gives him a few days leave.
 
He understands what it’s like to be abandoned.  He’d thought that Mara was his sacrifice, then Ben’s love, but he now understands it’s his daughter’s love that has been stifled.  The only comfort he has is to make the galaxy safer for her.
 
Jaina Solo brings her X-Wing down to Mandalore.  She’s never been here before, but her mother had been and told stories of treehouses and a handsome man named Shysa.  Jaina has the chance to admire the new beskar ships before landing.
 
Goran Beviin meets her, tells her the Manda’lor is busy right now and takes her to a Cantina.  While she watches a televised game of bolo-ball, she gets a feeling in the Force.  Two Mandos enter, one with multi-colored patches of armor, the other moving very slowly with green armor.  The latter takes his helmet off, revealing an old man, pulls his blaster and calls her a Jedi.
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         •    Moff Lecersen’s first appearance.
         •    Other moffs mentioned are Quille and Rosset.
         •    Leia’s meeting with Fenn Shysa occurred in Marvel Comics “Star Wars” series.
 
 

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chapter 5:
 
 In Mandalorian culture, blue represents reliability, green is duty, gold is vengeance, black is justice, gray is mourning a lost love and red is honoring a father.
 
Ben and Shevu are on their way to the Hapes cluster and Kavan. Shevu explains that Jacen has ticked off a lot of people.  Many of the Corellians he rounded up were professors and students.  It caused problems at the university, as well as with Barit Saiy’s family engineering company. 
 
Ben remembers the young man he’d turned in for aiming a blaster at a CSF officer. Shevu found him and got him out.  He tells Ben not to feel guilty for turning him in.  Laws are laws, but there’s also justice. 
 
On Kavan, they look over the area.  Shevu thinks Jacen landed here in his StealthX which had bee signed out during the right time frame.  Mara called Hapan security to tells them that he was in the area.  They will track his specific Tibanna isotope.
 
In the tunnels, they find evidence of a massive fight, including what Ben suspects included Force pushes.  He checks the datapad on which he recorded the images at the crime scene.  As the sunlight reflects on it, he’s sure he sees her move, then she’s there, looking at him with a smile. She walks toward him, pulling hair from her head.  He tells her he loves her.
 
She mouths back that she loves him, too, then she’s gone.  Thinking Ben is overcome with grief, Shevu wants him to go back to the ship.  Ben asks about trace evidence left behind on people who fight each other.  Shevu confirms this and remembers that the StealthX was never examined.
 
Ben thinks it may contain some of his mother’s hair.  Shevu makes sure there would be no other reason for Mara’s hair to have been on Jacen or in his ship.  They’ll have to take the chance on the ship. 
 
Fett’s doctor gives Sintas another tranquilizer so she won’t injure herself.  Medrit tells her who she is, who he is and where they are.  They give her the necklace.  She feels it and says it’s not like it was.  Fett admits they had to change it.
 
Beluine doesn’t want her to have too much information too soon, so they do not tell her that her granddaughter and former husband are here.
 
Issues like this are why it’s better not to get attached to people.  Fett heads off, alone, til Medrit tells him that a Jedi who might be Jaina Solo just showed up in an X-Wing.  She wants to see him.

In the cantina, the old man admits he had a feeling she’d come.  The other Mando takes off his helmet and introduces himself as Venku or Kad’ika.  His friend is Gotab. Jaina realizes that no one else knows the two men are Force sensitive.  Gotab has the aura of someone who’s been trained. It’s possible they are Sith.  Yet there is no dark energy surrounding them.  
                               
 But that’s not why she’s here.  

She knows Boba Fett when she sees him.  It’s the Wookiee scalps.  She needlessly introduces herself; she looks like her mother.  She supposes she should thank him for saving her father a couple of times.  He shrugs it off; he also turned him over to Jabba.  

She’s come because of her brother.  He asks if Jacen’s sent her to buy Mando tech for the GA.  Instead, he learns she wants him to teach her how to capture Jacen.
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chapter 6:

Shevu tells Ben that Girdun can be trusted about as well as a Hutt.  He’s a career man and intelligence services has a different definition for the word trust.  The rift between the GAG and the CSF started pretty early and really hasn’t gotten better.

But they have to get access to Jacen’s X-Wing and have enough time to do some fairly detailed work.  Shevu thinks it’s best to call it in for servicing.  There’s really no one they can trust on the ground crew.  Ben would rather not put Shevu at risk.  This would have been so much easier if his mother had named her killer.

Ben contacts his father and admits he’s on Coruscant.  He is convinced that Jacen is at least implicated in this.  He’s getting worse; he just murdered a member of his own crew.  For his own peace of mind, Ben must know the truth.

Luke tells him Niathal has informed about the crew member’s death.  She seems willing to risk enough.  Ben can’t help but think how much Cal Omas and Dur Gejjen risked.  How much of this is Ben’s fault for following orders?

He’s not sure if he should tell his father that he saw his mother’s Force Ghost.  He knows what it’s like to want one more second with a lost loved one.  Would his father feel robbed of that experience?  

Ben just warns him that he may be asking Niathal for a favor; Luke tells him he’ll hear crazy stories about Jaina that are true.  She’s gone to Boba Fett for help against Jacen.

Ben tells Shevu that Niathal has contacted Luke privately with her reservations.  She may be able to help them.  That could still be dangerous.  Even if Jacen is away from the ship, someone may notice them climbing all over his fighter.  He will find a reason to get Niathal to authorize work on the StealthX and will wear a holorecorder when he has contact with Jacen.

Niathal comments to her droid administrator that Jacen is always off on trips.  If she didn’t already know what he was up to, she’d suspect he had a secret lover somwheere.  The droid tells her that there was enemy contact near Fondor; the Colonel is apparently training his new assistant.

Niathal questions of the girl is even enlisted.  She really doesn’t want civilians playing around on her battleships.  She types out a note to Jacen.  There have to be some limits.  Of course, she can’t transmit her emotions freely since Jacen will sense them, so she has to keep herself at a normal level of contempt and disdain.

She can keep track of most of his movements and even he should understand that he either must remain contactable or let her run things while he’s gone.  It’s not hard to find the Anakin Solo.  Though Jacen seems to have a hard time keeping intruders off his ship, it’s pretty hard for him to lose an entire Star Destroyer.

When Jacen arrives, he tells her he’s heard that the Moffs are waffling on joining the Ga.  He’s considering offering them worlds like Borleias and Bilbringi.  The GA hasn’t done much with Bilbringi since the Vong War and it’s still ripe for mining; Borleias is close to hyperspace routes.  He thinks they should ask the Moffs to help take Fondor.

She points out that the Remnant might assume that Fondor is theirs for the taking, too.  Jacen should be careful what games he plays with them.  This could make them uncomfortably close neighbors to Coruscant.  Jacen thinks there is enough territory to keep them busy for a long time.  Besides, Pellaeon will keep them in line.  Niathal reminds him that Pellaeon hates him.  Jacen counters that she hates him, too, but they can still work together.

This is what makes taking on Jacen difficult.  If he were visibly insane, it would be easier to get rid of him, assuming she could find a way to kill a powerful Force user.  She needs him to do something over-the-top.  

Out loud, though, she does agree that getting Fondor out of the way is probably for the best, but she’s concerned about making the Remnant think they can’t handle this on their own.  Jacen tells her he’ll send Tahiri to see Pellaeon.  

At this, Niathal suggests a seasoned officer should do this job.  She agrees to let him send Tahiri, but would prefer that she be a commissioned member of the Defense Force before letting her fiddle around with the weapons.

Now that they’ve bickered, acknowledged where each stands and aired their reservations, Niathal asks him what type of Jedi he is.  She never had these types of discussions with the Jedi Council.  She wonders if he’s a Sith.  She doesn’t know much about them except that Palpatine was one.   He was able to see the whole picture and devise tactics that didn’t allow for much mercy; the type of war that Master Skywalker would never engage in.  Jacen has that type of talent.

Jacen admits that he is a Sith.  She seems nonplussed by this and suggests they teach Sith tactics at the academy.  

She’s left wondering just what Pellaeon would or could do.  Without him, the Moffs would be circling around trying to take advantage of the current chaos.  But he won’t live forever.  

Told that Shevu wants to meet with her, she permits it, having expected it eventually.  Shevu explains that he wants to carry out forensic tests on her colleague’s fighter.  He would like uninterrupted access to it for a few hours.  He can’t tell her too much, but their conversation makes it clear that they are looking for a connection to Mara Jade Skywalker’s death.

They will use a droid so that Jacen won’t sense who’s been in the ship.  

She tells him that she will order a special examination of all space-capable vessels the GAG has in order to avoid having Jacen’s StealthX singled out.  She warns him, though, that there’d  better be a good over story in case His Celestial Highness learns of this.

Shevu doesn’t think it will matter.  Jacen’s eyes have been off the little people for a while now.

Fett doesn’t know what he could teach Jaina.  He himself has thought of making Jacen pay for killing his daughter, but it should be a more complete revenge of the type that he should have carried out when the Jedi killed his father in front of him.  

She explains that she and her brother have similar strengths in the Force, but he’s had training in techniques she doesn’t understand.  Fett has tips for hunting Jedi that she can use.  This isn’t just about Fett’s daughter; Jacen may have killed Mara Jade Skywalker.

Fett finds it interesting that she decides to stop her brother when he started killing Jedi.  Beviin mentions that Solo is killing his underlings, too.  Fett quips that this reminds him of old times, except that he almost liked Vader.  He advises ten tons of high-spec thermal detonator.

She wants Jacen alive; Fett warns her that alive always gets complicated.  She’s got the crush gauntlets and a lightsaber.  She doesn’t need him.  Getting rid of Jacen will end the war just as the Mandalorian economy is getting back on its feet.  Jaina accuses him of sacrificing entire worlds just for Mandalore’s benefit; he counters that the GA sacrificed Mandalore to the Vong.

She is aware that the planet didn’t get the reconstruction aid that it was promised and is sorry for it.  That doesn’t change the fact that Jacen needs to be stopped before this gets worse.  Fett knows this and there will be plenty of business after Solo is gone.  It’s so ironic that this twin-on-twin fight is exactly what the Vong wanted and didn’t live to see.

Besides, Shalk and Briila don’t deserve to lose their dad the way he lost his; that’s likely to happen if this war keeps going on.  He would have trained his own daughter if he’d been around for her.  Mandos train their kids; they train other people’s kids.  

He agrees to train her for a cost.  She’ll have to make herself useful around here as a mechanic.  He walks off.  Beviin reminds him that Jedi are healers, too.  Fett doesn’t want Jaina trying to fix Sintas.  Beviin accepts that without argument, but tells him there’s room at the farm if they want to keep an eye on her.  Fett admits he told Mirta that he’d killed Shysa. Shysa had forced him to to do so; they’d been surrounded by Sevvets and he was too badly hurt to escape.  Shysa had made him swear he would be Mandalore.  

Beviin tells him that he could have sworn anything to Shysa for all they know.  No one would have known if he broke his word.  Fett would have known, though.  His father had taught him that his word was everything.  

Beviin doesn’t think Fett would abandon anything without a good reason.  Sintas would tell him otherwise, if she could.

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chapter 7:
 
Kad’ika addresses clan leaders urging them to stop being the tool of governments who do not care if they live or die so long as they fight their wars for them.
 
Mirta tells her grandfather that grandmamma keeps asking where she is.  Ghes Orade comes in with flowers for Sintas, hoping she will enjoy the scent.  Fett notes that Orade is the only Mando here who cowers to him.  He shouldn’t.  He’s marrying Mirta.
 
Fett used to be an orphan, now he’s got family coming out of the woodwork.
 
Orade is not a meek man.  He assures Fett that he is marrying Mirta and they will take care of her grandmother.
 
Beluine thinks it’s remarkable that she’s even alert.  Her Kiffar heritage has probably played a factor there.  She needs to be stimulated with objects she might remember. 
 
In Sintas’s room, Fett sits down next to her.  She asks who he is.  He tells her he’s Boba Fett.  Mirta introduces herself again.  Sintas asks if she’s her daughter as she knows she has one.  Mirta explains that Ailyn was her daughter and was 16 the last time she saw her.  Sintas wants to find her.
 
Mirta pulls out the holo of Sintas, Fett and baby Ailyn.  She explains it’s of Sintas, her husband and daughter.  Sintas is embarrassed to learn she has a husband and wants to know what happened to him.  Fett admits that he was her husband and that he and Mirta found her.  Sintas fixes on how he came for her.
 
After he leaves the room, Beviin offers to take the Jedi off his hands.  Fett would rather be someplace else, but admits that Sintas needs to be dissuaded of the idea that he ws a devoted husband.  Medrit gives him some new beskar armor if he’s going to be sparring with a Jedi. 
 
Beviin doesn’t trust her or most Jedi.  Fett reminds him they trusted Kubariet during the war.  Beviin points out he was a different kind of Jedi, but he’ll give Jaina the benefit of the doubt.
 
She can sense there’s something wrong.  Fett admits his ex-wife was just released from carbonite after 38 years and doesn’t know her daughter is dead at the hands of Jaina’s brother.  She looks almost compassionate.
 
Fett has his own lightsaber, but is not much of a swordsman.  He also admits he’s never trained anyone.  Jaina tells him she wants to learn what Jacen hasn’t.  She runs down his list of powers:  he can move starships, deflect ion and turbolaser blasts, hear at long distances, create Force illusions, walk into the past or future, control objects, mind-rub people and cannot be sensed in the Force.  He can also make himself invisible sometimes.
 
Beviin tells her she’s screwed.  Fett asks her how she plans to take him.  When she doesn’t have an answer, he punches her right in the gut.  Lesson’s over.  She assumed she was safe because she misread his body language and assumed that, because he’s helping her, he won’t hurt her.  She has to start out prepared to win and hit first.
 
This isn’t about lightsaber techniques.  He’s twice her age, doesn’t have the Force and still got her to drop her guard.  Winning isn’t about getting better, but about finding the enemy’s weakness and exploiting it.
 
Jacen’s weaknesses are her own.  Since he knows her, she has to be someone else. 
 
Pellaeon tells Reige to show Tahiri in.  Over tea, she tells him that the GA wants stability.  Their plan is to hit the most powerful systems working against them and the war will be over.  Pellaeon reminds her he’s been at that position more than once and it hasn’t worked.  If they expect him to risk Imperial citizens on this, they will have to give him a good reason beyond pretty words of peace and harmony.
 
She tells him that, in exchange for Borleais and Bilbringi, the Empire will help attack Fondor in order to bring it back to the GA.  Pellaeon presses her on the details.  Is Jacen planning to take over the yards, the planet, occupy it?  He’ll take the initial offer to the Moffs.
 
She notes that he surely has more pull than that.  Pellaeon reminds her that, no matter how much power one has, it’s impossible to keep it for long without the support of most of those beneath him.
 
When she leaves, he has Reige call the Moffs to see who already knows about this.  The Empire could be put in a position of jumping in when Solo falls.  Jacen doesn’t quite understand that empire-building involves leaving populations alone to live their lives.
 
The Moffs are split.  On the one hand, both planets they’re being offered could be taken without much effort or giving the GA anything.  However, Solo doesn’t have the resources to look after Fondor while he fights the rest of the war so the Empire could step in to help there until the Alliance folds.  Then it’s just a matter of having possession.
 
They agree to help the GA so long as they share their plan for Fondor.  It’s best to put themselves in a position to exploit the situation that Solo will impose when the war is over.  Pellaeon can’t be sure he will honor any agreement if he wins, so there will have to be a trump card.
 
He takes out a small communications device and taps out a sequence, apologizing to her for bothering her.  She has the firepower that will be needed and he knows she will come.
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     •    The holo of the Fett family was the prize in the comic story, “Outbid But Never Outgunned” from “Star Wars Tales 7”.
     •    Kubariet was a Jedi who fought with the Mandalorians in Boba Fett: A Practical Man.
 

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chapter 8:
 
Sass Sikili of the Roche hives asks Jir Yomaget what this Trak’kad combat vessel is for.
 
Caedus wonders when he can change the door plate from Colonel Jacen Solo to Darth Caedus.  He may not even need an office as Niathal will be here to do the routine stuff.  However, she’s becoming irritating and he may need to get an administrator to replace her if she doesn’t go back to Mon Calamari or to the fleet.  It’s not likely now that she’s tasted power.
 
Fondor is going to be made an example of.  The Imperial Remnant is joining him which is a boon, not just in terms of military power, but in their sphere of influence which includes the banking worlds of Muunilinst and Mygeeto.
 
He asks Tahiri if she has found the Jedi base yet.  She reminds him the galaxy is huge and her StealthX maintenance cost her a day already.  She thinks they will go to one of their old bases. Caedus doesn’t think Luke would be so unimaginative to go to Hoth or Endor, but he may be hoping that Caedus will tie up resources searching them anyway.
 
He asks about fleet morale, but she’s not too helpful, so he closes his eyes, chooses a random time and place, the junior officers’ mess, and shuts out everything else.  He becomes one with the activity there and hears their musings, some chatter about him killing Tebut, others noting the number of people who’ve died since he took office, including Luke’s wife. 
 
The idea that people would think he killed Mara when she was trying to kill him makes him furious.  Then he chastises Tahiri for putting him in the position of having to do her work for her. She needs to get motivated about something other than dreaming of a dead boy.
 
He shows her his plan for Fondor:  mines are being laid around the whole planet. Niathal comes in and quips how there won’t be any dead civilians.  Caedus reminds her that he will be leaving tonight and five minelayers will start ahead of the task force.  She confirms they won’t be activated until Fondor has been warned and given a one-hour shipping alert.
 
He assures her that all war conventions will be honored.  They’ll give the blockade a week before assaulting the planet.  Niathal wasn’t told about that.  It’s pointless to create a mine shell if he doesn’t plan to sit it out, especially without the ships to spare.
 
Caedus wants to take the yards soon and then capture the capital.  She reminds him that a quick decisive victory was what was planned at Corellia, too. 
 
When he’s alone, he feels something has changed in the Force.  He reaches out to find Jaina, but he can’t feel her normal mix of temper and passion.  She may have been taught to hide in the Force.  He better not teach Tahiri that.
 
But Ben may have taught his mother that, too, so she could kill Jacen Solo.  He realizes that he’s differentiated himself from that person.  He doesn’t exist and isn’t coming back. If so, that means Darth Caedus doesn’t have a twin sister.  Now he can relax.
 
When the Anakin breaks orbit, Shevu and Ben get to work on the StealthX.  They slip a forensics droid into the ship.  When the droid finds female hair follicles that match Mara’s, Ben is ready to go.  They are stymied when Capt. Girdun shows up. 
 
Shevu gets his attention while Ben works on getting the droid out.  He worries that there may be other evidence in there, but he has what matters.  He takes a speeder to the next intersection, waits for Shevu and goes to pick him up. 
 
At his apartment, Shevu tells him they will have to do a DNA match and to prove that there was no other way it could’ve gotten into the ship.  A defense lawyer would argue that Jacen picked up the hairs off Ben and it’s only one word against the other that Ben didn’t tamper with the crime scene.
 
Niathal visits Fleet HQ every day, but this is her second arrival today without notice.  Watching from her peripheral vision as personnel try to bring the place to standards quickly, she looks for details of what Jacen may be up to.
 
She’s still not convinced he’s learned the lesson of the blockade of Corellia.  Looking over what he’s taken with him, she finds that this could have been done at Corellia when it was still possible to bring everyone to their senses. 
 
Skywalker will have to know the full picture, though.  Doing this will put her crews at risk as telling Luke is the same as telling Fondor.  Getting an idea of the Remnant task force, she also decides to speak with Pellaeon and get his impressions of this plan.  Doubtless, the Imperials think Fondor is going to drop in their laps as a bonus.
 
She comms Luke and tells him that Fondor is going to be mined within the next four to five hours.  Jacen will arrive after that with part of the Fourth Fleet and 150000 troops to isolate the orbital yards and force a surrendur.  The Remnant is backing him up.
 
He has too few troops to hold it all so she thinks that he’s going to draw out Fondor forces, pound them and let the Imperials move in.  She hopes Luke can ruin Jacen’s day.
 
It’s hard to know she’s betraying her people, too, behind her back.  She doesn’t feel worthy of her uniform today.
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

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chapter 09:
 
Luke tells the President of Fondor about the trap.
 
Beviin takes Jaina out to the poisoned land left by the Vong.  She tells him it’s hard not to hate them.  He admits he doesn’t even try.  Out here, they won’t have an audience.  Most people on this world haven’t seen a live Jedi before. 
 
He points out Fenn Shysa’s memorial, tells her that he led them to kick out the Empire.  He was a great Mandalore, but always wanted Fett to be the one.  He even got a clone deserter named Spar to pose as Boba for awhile to give people the idea that the Mandalorians were unified.  It worked for awhile until he was killed by Fett’s daughter who thought she was killing him.
 
Beviin shows her how to use a real metal blade, so she can vary her lightsaber technique beyond long sweeps combined with leaps.  It takes some time before she has to use the Force to push him back so she can get more than a couple of blows in.
 
He tells her how he learned how the Jedi fight from one who helped them during the Vong war.  Enemies are always enemies, but sometimes they can put that aside to deal with a common threat. 
 
If he met Jaina in a real battle, he’d kill her and hope she would kill him, too.  She tells him she would have to believe he was doing to kill her before she went that far.  Beviin wonders how he’s going to deal with her brother.  It’s always harder to capture than kill.
 
Even if she manages a capture, she must have some idea what she’s going to do with him.  Giving her little kicks while he interrogates her to provoke her, he reminds her Jacen isn’t going to stop bugging her if she asks.
 
Jedi are taught to feel, not think.  He suggests she visualize her actions before she draws the blade and stick with it from start to finish.  She needs to learn total war.  That’s not hate. 
 
They work on it with wooden sticks.  He quickly overwhelms her to the point where she’s curled up in a ball and has to use the Force to push him back.  Jaina can sense the difference.  He wonders if she can get herself in a state of mind where nothing can sto her.  It’s a technique Mandos learn young, but they also learn to stop it.
 
He also warns her that she held back with her Force powers when he would have used them, too.
 
At dinner, she asks about Gotab and Venku.  Beviin explains that Kad’ika is a political agitator who’s been pushing a Mandalore-First agenda for ages.  His armor is based on a Mandalorian tradition of wearing a plate of a relative’s armor after they die.  He pretty much wears his whole family.
 
Gotab is also one of the wild men of Kyrimorut who come and go as they please, but they’re available when it’s time to fight.  There’s a lot of Fett clone blood up there because it was a haven for clone deserters after the war.  Fett thinks he’s a Kiffar.
 
Dinua asks if all Jedi can heal.  She admits they can heal themselves, but some can heal others, too.  Jaina knows that Mandalorians adopt and tend to surround themselves with people of different skills.  That may explain Gotab.  Of course, no one seems to realize that the man is Force-sensitive.  The Jedi who fought with them during the Vong war is dead.  She realizes that Gotab can heal.
 
At the Imperial Destroyer Bloodfin, Pellaeon comms Admiral Niathal who tells him Jacen is going to mine Fondor and is talking about an assault in a week.  She wonders what Pellaeon has been told.  He admits he’s gotten a vague battle plan that is supposed to end with Fondor surrendering.  He doesn’t expect that to happen, though.
 
It will require occupying the planet first.  She wants to know if the Empire is planning to do that.  Pellaeon tells her that Jacen hasn’t made them an offer, but it’s possible he wants them to interpret his silence that way.  If he commits his troops to the shipyards, then, by default, only Imperial forces are left to land on Fondor.
 
He does wonder if Jacen is going to foul up.  She asks if he knows that Solo is a Sith.  It’s possible he could overplay his hand, but she admits he could have a backup plan she doesn’t know about.
 
Niathal fears that this could cost many lives.  She has elements of the Third Fleet standing by and she’s considering enabling a withdrawal over pouring more troops in.  He admits that he wouldn’t be sorry to see Jacen go and would be willing to help clean up the mess left behind.
 
The conversation ends with him wondering how much support Jacen still has after killing one of his officers.  He’s told that there’s someone here to see him and she won’t present ID.  He makes a joke about whether she’s blond or red-headed.
 
He’s assured she has red hair so decides he will personally welcome her aboard.  Moving to the hatch, he greets his old friend, and trump card, Admiral Daala.
 
Caedus knows something hasn’t gone according to plan when the ship jumps out of hyperspace.  The minelayers can’t be contacted.  There’s no signal from the net to activate them.
 
There is the residual trace of an explosion that matches the material used for the minelayer ships.  There is nothing on the HoloNet regarding Fondor, no diplomatic contact, the GAG is reporting a high alert status there, but that’s it. 
 
It is clear even to Tahiri that Fondor knew they were coming.  He asks for Admiral Niathal.  Admiral Pellaeon is to be told nothing if he contacts them.  They will have to change the battle plan, but will proceed.
 
In his day cabin, he catches his own reflection and sees his eyes are yellow.
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
          * Spar goes all the way back to the Republic Commando series.

 

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chapter 10:
 
Capt. Shevu gets a witness testimony that Mara Jade Skywalker threatened Jacen Solo about Ben and something called the Sith.
 
Ben reaches Endor and his father.  Luke tells him that Jacen’s about to take Fondor. Han and Leia are looking for a new base.  Ben explains he has some evidence that he wants to present to them all. 
 
He wants to know the truth even if he doesn’t like it.  Luke is moved to tears about how decent his son is.  He reminds Ben about the question he’d asked both his parents regarding the people they’d killed.  Luke admits he never thought about it before then.
 
Ben was right in that most of them were just ordinary soldiers who were just doing their job.  Not all of them were fanatics.  When he was younger, he probably felt they deserved what they got if they weren’t able to resist Palpatine, too.  He doesn’t consider those lives cheap or meaningless.  Five crews at Fondor are dead right now because he passed on info that cost them their lives.
 
Ben tells him that he saw his mother as a Force ghost on Kavan.  She told him she loved him.  He asks if he’s seen her.  Luke hasn’t but he knows that the Force gives them what they need. 
 
He wants Ben to stay here and work on the evacuation of the base.  He is leaving now to go to the Fondor mission.  Ben asks him to be careful and not get killed.  He would hate to end up like Boba Fett, polishing his dad’s old ship and hassling Uncle Han.
 
Ben runs into Jagged Fel who hates waiting around for a comm. message.  He asks Jag to get the senior Jedi together before going to his room and doing a DNA match on the hair sample found in Jacen’s ship.   It’s a match.
 
He also gets a message from Shevu that a couple of Senators witnessed his mother and Jacen arguing before she left for Hapes. Ben knows the argument was about him.  His mother went after Jacen and may have intended to do more than arrest him.
 
He doesn’t know how he feels about that.  His father sends him another message, telling him his mother’s locket is in a box in their quarters and to take it with him if they have to leave before he gets back.
 
One of the great things about Admiral Daala is that she has been out of touch for over twenty years and still is up-to-date on what’s happening in the galaxy. Despite her eye patch, she is still as intelligent and as lovely as ever.  Pellaeon asked her here to watch his back at Fondor and for some time after that.  He needs something to throw at Solo if he turns on the Remnant as he has so many others.
 
They may be needed to restore order if he loses.
 
She has a fleet that can be at Fondor in an hour’s lead time.  With the backing of small worlds the GA doesn’t notice which owe her favors after the Vong war, she has put together something deadly. 
 
She doesn’t think much of Solo’s plan, though, and reminds Pellaeon they both know what happens to governments that start wars with no plan on how to end them.  She hopes he isn’t planning to do more than hold Solo’s coat and see who wins.
 
She likens Pellaeon’s dilemma to a man whose home is safe, but feels compelled to stop a riot in the street lest it spill over and damage his home, too.  In the meantime, there are greedy children waiting to loot the stores.  She reminds him he should use her method of handling the Moffs.
 
Considering Daala previous gassed a group of uncooperative Moffs, that’s saying something, but she still plans to kill the ones who were responsible for killing her Liegeus.
 
Pellaeon hadn’t known and expresses his condolences.  She explains it was a thermal detonator five years ago and caused the need for the eye patch.  She can’t be sure if it was her or him they wanted.  She’ll have her eye repaired when she’d settled accounts with the conspirators.
 
Pellaeon assures her that some of the Moffs, like Lecersen, are more enlightened these days and won’t run screaming at the sight of a woman.  He’ll be sure to let them know she’s back in service.  Daala does ask him to keep an open comlink at all times and tells her as soon as possible when he plans to jump.
 
Admiral Niathal can only express her sincere condolences to the families of the minelayer crews that died at Fondor.  She knew this was a possibility when she leaked the information to Luke Skywalker.
 
Colonel Solo is already aware there is a leak.  Niathal suggests to him that this might be the right time to reopen talks, but Jacen tells her that he is going to attack simultaneously across the four orbitals to draw out their fleet.
 
Niathal reminds him that destroying their yards was not what was agreed upon.  She tells him she doesn’t want him to plan strategy based on feelings.  She is jumping to his position with the Third Fleet.  This will allow them to isolate Fondor and secure the orbitals.
 
She tells Captain Piris of the Bounty that Jacen has gone too far and needs to go.  She knows everyone in the Control Ops center can hear her.  Confiding in Piris that she misses the simplicity of having command of her own ship, Niathal is reminded that she’s not expected to go down with a ship anymore.
 
That leads her to muse that Jacen Solo would possibly jump into the [i]Anakin Solo’s[/i] last escape pod while poor Captain Nevil stayed on the bridge and did the decent thing.  She knows how to plot a coup because she’s done it before.  She just didn’t realize how far she’d fallen.
 
Piris assures her that they may not know how many commanders will follow them when the time comes, but he does know they won’t be alone.
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          •    We’ve been shown that Niathal sweeps for listening devices every time she enters her office.  If she’s that paranoid, why would she let a room full of GA personnel hear her complain about Jacen?  What if one of them is a spy?
          •    Liegeus Vorn was Daala’s lost love whom she’d reunited with at the end of Planet of Twilight.
 
 

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chapter 11:
 
A deployment commander complains that he cannot insert troops without decent plans. 
 
Fett tells Yomaget that the Jedi is here to learn how to arrest her brother. They’re working with her, but will have to be careful because she’s earning her keep by working on their machinery.
 
Yomaget shows him the Tra’kad which culd insert troops into high buildings or provide cover to ground troops.  The Verpine didn’t want to go in this because it’s old tech to them. 
 
Fett is about to go off to meet Jaina Solo when he’s commed through his helmet by Admiral Daala.  She tells him she’s back with the Remnant, looking at action at Fondor and wonders if he can have his hundred finest standby for backup. 
 
He tells her he can bring help within the next 24 hours, then goes to see Sintas.  She remembers his name, but not much else.  She knows that he found her after a long time, so that means he won’t look like he used to anyway.  He explains that they split up a year or two after Ailyn was born.
 
He’s upset when she points out that he still rescued her.  He’s even less happy when Beviin tells him Jaina is trying to help.  She admits she might be able to help or find someone who can.  Fett doesn’t understand why this is a big deal to him.  He finally admits he’s been avoiding her recovery and tells her to find the healer.
 
He tells Beviin he’s headed out to rally with Daala at Fondor.  Beviin thinks he’s running away.  He challenges him to go back ad tell his family he’s off fighting and Jaina that her brother will be in the crossfires.  Mirta overhears this and insists on going for her mother’s sake.
 
Fett tells Jaina if she wants some practice, she can come pay her brother a visit tomorrow. 
 
While Caedus figures out how the Fondorians will respond, he considers how to get rid of Niathal.  It had to be one of her cronies who leaked the plan.  He expects her to move against him everytime he leaves Coruscant, but she never does. 
 
He has to watch his anger, though.  Tebut’s life had to be worth something, if only as an example of using his anger for larger targets.  He started down this path for people like her who were being wasted by those in power who used it badly.  Though he’d dreaded the risk of following his grandfather’s footsteps, he gets confirmation every day that he isn’t. 
 
Vader was crippled by love and the authority of a demented Emperor.  Caedus has no such inhibitors, but he can’t just get rid of Niathal when he needs the support of her crews.  Tahiri understands this, too. 
 
She also tells him the crews are getting anxious about not having any details.  Knowing that he’s gotten separated from the regular troops in their minds, he pulls out a flight suit and goes on a reece himself. 
 
He flies around the shipyards, knowing he cannot let the Imperials have them if things go badly.  He momentarily senses a Force presence, but it fades and he moves on until he sees the Third Fleet dropping out.
 
He comms Nevil to patch him through to Niathal when a huge mass of ships appears around him. 
 
Niathal can’t see anything on her charts, jut the ones she expected to find.  She tells him there is nothing out there, but, assuming his Force skills allow him to see something she can’t, orders a small torpedo sent to his coordinates to make sure.
 
It hits nothing solid.  Then Jacen loses visual and comms he’s returning to the ship.  Of course, everyone has heard this exchange, knowing that the Joint Chief of State was chasing ghosts out there.
 
She comms Nevil, not bothering to restrict it, asking him if this was some kind of drill.  He doesn’t know anymore than she does.  She wants to speak to the Colonel when he’s available.
 
Before leaving the bridge, she asks her crew not to tell her if they don’t spot anything that isn’t there.
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 

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chapter 12:
 
Luke tells Han that he wishes he’d known if he could’ve stopped this.  If he’d told Omas at the beginning to let Corellia go its own way, they may not even be here now.  The conflict created a threat despite the fact that they all know Corellia would have come to their aid had another enemy like the Vong appeared.
 
Caedus fumes, knowing that he wasn’t being tricked.  There’s some kind of Force illusion going on here.  He will have to work to regain his infallible image now that the fleet has heard him make a fool of himself.
 
After he handles Niathal, he must do something about Luke.  
 
He finds himself among scattered ships again,but won’t be fooled this time because there’s nothing on his instruments.  He can’t jump at every shadow, so proceeds on only to have something hit him.
 
It could be a StealthX, but he had felt nothing out there.  Not Luke, not Ben, it could have even been Jaina. 
 
Luke comms him and invites him to land at one of the orbitals to talk.  Caedus tells him he’s not Luke’s father.  He doesn’t need to be redeemed.  He does, however, get the feeling he’s being herded toward something.  Niathal must have cut a deal and is setting him up.
 
Caedus’s ship continues to have pieces pulled off it as he flies.  He tries to block Luke before realizing how powerful his uncle really is.  His seat shoots off the runners to one side and sees the StealthX in front of him with two grappling arms extended.
 
They were trying to cripple his ship and grab him in the middle of the fleet.  He vows never to let anyone but his apprentice fly a StealthX again.  He aims at the fleet auxiliary vessel assigned to replenish a landing craft, crewed by civilians and with little defensive capabilities.  It’s time to see who blinks first.
 
The connection tunnel is an airlock and smashing through it will cost lives.  Luke tells him not to do it.  Caedus claims he’s past caring.  With Luke in pursuit, he flies toward the tunnel, then pulls the yoke back, missing the tunnel and nearly causing Luke to hit it before he comms the Anakin to prepare for an emergency landing.
 
He makes jokes when he lands, knowing that the hangar team will see good old Colonel Solo again.  He saves his yellow-eyed raging for when he gets to his cabin and channels his anger for when he takes out Fondor.
 
Niathal hears the scuttlebutt that Colonel Solo is blaming his phantom fleet on Luke Skywalker.  The Grand Master will have to learn how to shoot to kill.  Pellaeon comms in and she arranges for them all to meet on the Bloodfin, confirming in her mind that Tahiri is just another lackey.
 
Niathal contacts Fondor’s President, Shas Vadde, to ask him to agree to rejoin the Galactic Alliance and contribute to the common defense.  He reminds her that Fondor thinks they are being taken advantage of by the GA who only seems interested in defending Coruscant.  He also warns her that they are no good to the GA broken. 
 
On the Trak’Kad, Mirta asks Jaina if Jacen will know if she’s around.  Jaina has to admit he probably will, but, since he shuts himself down in the Force, she may not be able to sense him.  Mirta quips they should just follow the trail of bodies. 
 
Jaina doesn’t quite know what to say to someone whose mother was murdered by her brother. She tells Mirta she wishes she could atone for what he did.  She doesn’t even know him anymore. 
 
Mirta tells her that family is more than bloodlines.  Her grandfather is aboard Slave I.  Beviin stayed behind to look after her grandmother.  Jaina asks how she grew to hate a man she’d never met.  Mirta explains how she grew up hearing how he’d abandoned his wife and child to struggle financially and take dangerous bounties to pay the bills. 
 
Then she finds her grandfather only to learn he’s not a thug throwing money away on women, but a lonely simple man who’s hard to like. 
 
They dock with Slave I.  Fett hands out datachips with the floor plans and layouts of the orbital yards.  They’ll take out power grids or defend the Remnant’s flagship.  Daala wants someone to look after Pellaeon personally.
 
He tells his Mandos that Jacen Solo is to be left to Jaina unless absolutely necessary.  She will be flying the Bes’uliik.  Mirta shows her how, reminding her that she’s putting her faith in her.
 
She asks Jaina if a Jedi could really help her grandmother.  Jaina doesn’t think it would hurt and promises to find one. 
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  

  • Ya know what?  Luke’s comments at the beginning need to bring us back to what started this conflict in the first place.  The Corellians didn’t want to commit their share of defending the GA but wanted the benefits of being a member anyway.  Letting them get away with it would have been unfair to other member states.  I can’t imagine how well that would have gone over and it was exactly the reason Leia didn’t support them either.
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chapter 13:
 
Taun We tells Koa Ne that she is not dead and still has the research material.  Koa Ne hasn’t forgetten and has found what Taun We is looking for, but just doesn’t need her asking price of three million credits that badly.
 
Aboard the Bloodfin, Caedus, with Tahiri at his heels, can’t believe he was duped with a Fallanassi illusion and almost had his ship ripped out from under him.  That Luke came after him shows how important it is for the Jedi to stop him.

But it does show the limits of Luke’s power.  All Caedus has to do is know that Luke’s best shot isn’t good enough.  Neither is Niathal’s.
 
They trade barbs about the nature of the actual Bloodfin creature until Pellaeon arrives and the strategy discussion begins.  Caedus presents his plan which Pellaeon notes will require not only long term holding of the shipyards, but also the planet with the orbitals.  It is clear that both Niathal and Pellaeon do not have the same goal in mind as Caedus.
 
They are still viewing Fondor as an asset, not an example.  And, then, there’s Niathal who doesn’t seem to be in a flap about the Jedi StealthXs like she should be.  She suggests that they cut a deal with Fondor to save on resources.  If they rejoin the GA, allowing a small force to remain, they will be promised guaranteed work for the yards and factories.
 
Pellaeon notes that’s how it worked under the Empire.  Caedus can see there’s deal-making going on here that doesn’t include him.  He adds that they could isolate Fondor as planned, then see if they are open to a discussion.
 
Knowing he must keep an eye on the two of them, Caedus asks if Tahiri can stay aboard Bloodfin to act as a liason.  He can tell Pellaeon doesn’t trust him, but the admiral accepts the offer. 
 
When she escorts him to the hangar, Tahiri asks how she’s supposed to liase.  Caedus tells her that she is to stop Pellaeon if he interferes with their plans.  Some sacrifices are necessary to make sure that the Anakins of the galaxy don’t have to give up their lives.
 
Tahiri tells him that living in the past is dangerous.  She thinks an orderly galaxy is the best way to avoid falling to those like the Vong.  He leaves her there, understanding that she knows how he has been manipulating her. 
 
When the deadline passes without a response, Niathal orders all ships to battle stations.  Caedus takes his position, searching the Force for Jedi and assuming the worst.  X-Wings head out without meeting a planetary defense.
 
Once the flotillas are throughout, Niathal starts to cut in, but Caedus feels it.  The Fondorian fleet is there inside the active orbital yards.  It boils out quickly, Caedus confused as to why he missed it before.  He realizes that’s where the Jedi were concentrating on blocking him. 
 
Niathal is unhappy at this turn of events, knowing that removing Jacen will have to come later.  Fondor is putting up a fight.  When Jacen comms to say he’s bringing this to an end, Niathal insists they regroup instead.
 
He would rather target Oridin City the capital.  When she starts hearing comm. traffic from inside the Fourth Fleet, she grows very concerned.  Officers who should know better seem to have become more reckless.  Niathal remembers what Luke told her about Jacen experimenting with dark powers. 
 
The Anakin Solo plows through on the way to Oridin.  Captain Nevil asks if Caedus can share his plans for breaching the planetary shield.  Caedus assures him that he will use an alternate power source.  He knows the captain is troubled by what happened with Tebut, but he is learning to use his powers past the ability of the Jedi.  He is in control now when he wasn’t before.
 
Through the Force, he finds the Fondorian shield generator and the crew working it.  He projects the impression that the GA fleet has left and the home vessels need to return to base.  They drop the shields.
 
He orders the planet to be attacked now before the fleet closes in.
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chapter 14:
 
The GA warship Anakin Solo’s log shows that Captain Kral Nevil is missing, presumably from a launched escape pod.
 
Caedus won’t take the comm. from Niathal, but she doubts she would believe what he tells her.  She hopes the Fondorians aren’t playing dead and he’s falling for it. 
 
Oridin City is burning, though.  She calls the Bloodfin to find that Pellaeon has been getting some basic Force explanations from Tahiri.  She tells him she’s contacting the President to offer terms.
 
Vadde is urged to surrender now and is promised disaster recovery and special economic status for Fondor.  He asks about Solo.  She admits she’s not asking his permission, especially while he’s still fighting.
 
Vadde accepts the offer and asks for a few minutes for all his ships to get the news.  Niathal orders an immediate cease-fire.  Jacen will not accept it.  When she relieves him of duty, he orders all GA forces to fight on. 
 
Pellaeon acknowledges that Imperial forces are only taking orders from Admiral Niathal.  Vadde’s defense secretary asks what they should do if the [i]Anakin Solo[/i] opens fire.  Niathal tells them that self-defense is not a breach of their agreement, but that she will take out Solo if he fires first.
 
Moff Rosset can’t believe the two Chiefs of State are slugging it out in the middle of a battle.  They can’t possibly believe any promises will be kept at this point. 
 
Knowing that Tahiri is in the room with him, Pellaeon allows that cohesion could be better but they should just wait this out and take the opportunity to mount rescue operations and repair damage.   She just stands there watching like a bipedal villip.
 
Moff Quille would rather take advantage of the disarray, but Pellaeon insists they follow the terms of the cease-fire.  Solo powers up his turbolasers.  Pellaeon turns to Tahiri and asks if he can’t just take off Niathal’s head with a thought or if taking down the shields has worn him out.
 
Niathal tells him that Solo’s not listening to reason so she’s putting herself between him and Fondor.  Pellaeon reiterates to them all that the Remnant will honor the surrender, before retiring to his cabin for a moment.
 
Though the comlink is open and Daala can hear everything he says, he wants to get her take on this.  Tahiri steps into the room behind him.  She tries to convince him to support the GA in this, but he assures her that he is supporting them as an ally.  It’s Colonel Solo that is creating the chaos she fears so much.
 
She pulls a blaster on him, tells him to call off his fleet and give Jacen a chance.  He refuses, noting that he’s 92 years old, and only cares how he dies, not when.  He calls his fleet and tells them to place themselves under Admiral Niathal’s disposal only. 
 
She fires and he crumbles to the ground, wishing he’d had the chance to talk with Reige.  He notes that Jacen’s new order seems to be slaughtering civilians from above and getting a child to kill an old man.  Moff Quille steps in, refusing to touch the body.
 
Pellaeon whispers Quille’s name so Daala can hear it, knowing she’s going to be a big surprise.  He puts his comlink on the floor and taps it until he dies.
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chapter 15:
 
The Chimaera transmits a message to Boba Fett from Daala asking him to seize a Star Destroyer for her.  She knows it’ll cost extra.
 
Caedus cannot help but think of Niathal as a traitor.  He orders the comm. shut down.  The executive officer reports that an escape pod is missing and Capt. Nevil is gone.  The Imperial fleet is turning toward them and Lt. Veila is comming him. 
 
She tells him that she shot Admiral Pellaeon and the Remnant is rejoining Jacen’s forces.  The crew has mutinied aboard the Bloodfin and the commanders are trying to regain control.  They’re on emergency power, the senior Moff commanders are stuck here with her.
 
He promises to come for her.  He asks if she’s ashamed for killing an old man.  Caedus assures her that being willing to be despised to serve the common good is the mark of a good Sith. 
 
She may call him Darth Caedus from now on.
 
He’s ready to give Niathal the fight she wants when several ships drop out of hyperspace.  Thinking they are apparitions from the Jedi, he orders them to filter them out until he realizes they are very old ships and that the others can see them, too.
 
When he recognizes the Chimaera as a fully-restored ship, he knows they’re in trouble.  Admiral Daala comms him and tells him girls just can’t through anything away that might be fashionable later.
 
She opens fire in tribute to Gil Pellaeon and Liegeus.
 
Fett admires her timing, but thinks it’s a lot of trouble to go through for a few Moffs.  The Bloodfin’s mutineers, led by Vitor Reige, have rigged the drives and weapons to blow if they are boarded.  The senior Moffs are here, but those with command status are still with their ships.
 
Jaina warns him that Tahiri is aboard, too, and will be trouble.  Fett tells her that letting her hear Daala’s recording was touch but she has to learn that recognizing the voice is part of making sure you’ve killed the right person.
 
Reige reports where the troops are coming from and warns him to look out for Jacen Solo who may be coming to extra Tahiri.  Jaina can’t sense Jacen, but she’ll use Tahiri as a transponder. 
 
The seize aboard is glorious, with Fett reminding himself to tell Jaina someday how impressive she looked deflecting bolts with just a lightsaber and a flight suit.  For now, she’s cursing loudly that Tahiri has vanished.
 
Chimaera cuts straight through to the Anakin Solo with some interesting weapons.  They use metal-crystal phase shifters which penetrate shields…likely dusted off from Maw Installation. 
 
Niathal comms the commanders of those ships which have not acknowledged her command, telling them they have one more opportunity to rejoin without disciplinary action.
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chapter 16:
 
Admiral Niathal is told that they may want to find out where Daala is based and where she’s got her technology hid in case her arrival does not bode well for their future.
 
There are no countermeasures for whatever is being launched against them.  Caedus orders all ships with this weapon to be identify.  The attack on Fondor should be broken off so everything can be thrown at Daala, even ships responding to distress calls.
 
With half their fleet taking damage and more than 30 vessels lost, though, he is losing.  He finally decides to have an assembly area identified and all ships to jump there if they can.  He tells all ships that Admiral Niathal is acting illegally.
 
Then he asks for a med sprinter and a medical corpsman uniform so he can extract Tahiri.  All ships should return to Coruscant and repel Niathal if she returns there.
 
Niathal doesn’t understand how he has held on to so many ships.  For now, they will withdraw to another base and set up a new GA government in exile.  The Jedi Council may be able to help, but she doesn’t know where the StealthXs are now. 
 
She comms them and gets Luke who tells her they are keeping Jacen’s ships off of the Fondorian emergency responders.  He suggests she send some rescue teams to Fondor and President Vadde may let her take refuge there.  

She is grateful for his assistance.  One day, she knows she will have to confess to someone how she leaded the minelayer’s movements.  She wonders how Luke’s conscience will handle it.  She’s told Captain Nevil has been recovered.  At least, his wife hasn’t lost a son and husband.

Approaching the Bloodfin, Darth Caedus looks over the battle wreckage.  He can sense that Tahiri is alive.  So is Jaina.  If he could be the person he was before, the people he’d lost would stop being monochrome memories of another life and become colorful vibrant beings again.  He tries not to think of his daughter, but Jaina bothers him most.

Yun-Harla would have relished seeing the battling twins.  

He talks his way past a couple of Imperial frigates by claiming to be a medic wanting to get wounded off the Bloodfin for humanitarian reasons.  At some point, he’ll have to figure out where Daala hid all this if Maw Installation had been cleared out.

He sends through the Force to Tahiri, knowing she’s alive, but under stress.

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chapter 17:

Orade tells Fett they’ve got company.  He’s told there’s a medical ship docking.  With the battle still going on board, Fett remarks that there’d better be medics on board or else they could end up needing surgery themselves.

He, Mirta, Carid and Vevut clear the area and set a strip of detonite.  In this confined space, it doesn’t matter how many Imperial troops there are.  The explosion goes off and the Mandos dive into the opening.

Mirta asks her grandfather where the Jedi is.  Jaina drops down from a ventilation duct right then.  She explains that Tahiri has gone into an emergency exit route.  Jaina can get to her if she’s blocked off somewhere along the route.  Mirta agrees to do it.  Fett tells them there’s a med sprinter docked up there.  The ducts join up so it’s possible Tahiri has arranged an escape.

Jaina can sense Tahiri, but not anyone on the hull.  It might be a droid or a Force user hiding which can only mean one person.  Mirta points out that even someone without the Force would know that Jacen would come get his villip.  If she gets to him first, Jaina’s training has been for nothing.

Fett reminds her that they are leaving Jacen to his sister.  Mirta can’t get herself killed now that he’s bought her wedding present.  They climb up the duct; Jaina using the Force to jump.

Cavid quips that Fett shouldn’t get jealous as he can do the same thing in a jetpack.  Fett admits he shouldn’t have brought Mirta or Orade.  He needs someone to dance on his grave.  

He and Vevut wait behind a console so they can jump out as soon as Carid blows the hatch bolts to the inner sanctum where they are sure to find some Moffs.  His body keeps telling him he’s too old for this and should be worrying about his granddaughter.  

They race into the sanctum, blasters blazing.  Five men left alive, but no one else is there.  A hatch above shows how they escaped.  Carid wonders why people always run away from them.

Jaina reaches the top level and can’t find any more openings.  Mira is ahead, squatting with her blaster leveled.  Mirta ‘s hand signals are as good as anything sent through the Force.  Tahiri is here.

Jaina can feel her.  Mirta signals that Jaina should go ahead and Mirta will give her covering fire.  Jaina races around a corner and finds Tahiri clinging to a ladder trying to release something in the deckhead.  

Mirta fires at her, but Tahiri deflects the shots with her lightsaber.  Mirta slams into her, knocking her upward.  Then Tahiri finds that her lightsaber doesn’t slice through the Mando’s body armor.  Jaina swings at Tahiri while Mirta ducks clear, pulls out her blade and digs it into Tahiri’s thigh.

Several moffs appear, stopping occasionally to fire at Fett, Carid and Vevet in pursuit. The distracton is enough to give Tahiri time to open the hatch and get through it.  There’s blood everywhere.  Mirta, clutching her throat with one hand, gasps and tells Jaina her brother is up there.

The moffs are dead.  Jaina can feel Jacen using the Force to choke Mirta to give Tahiri time to escape.  She uses the Force to break Jacen’s grip while Carid and Vevut run past her.  Fett stops to check on Mirta, hollering to the others that they leave Solo to his sister.  

Darth Caedus calls for Tahiri who is hurt seriously and her suit is caught on something sharp.  Then the Mandalorians call to him.  They use a power tool to cut open the docking tube.  Caedus knows he could use the Force to stop the bleeding, seal the breach or pull her clear.  There are a number of things he could do, but not all of them.  He could leave her to die, but he still needs her.

He gets into the tube, tells her to grab him and hang in.  He prepares to Force jump when something above causes the tube to creak and the hatch above to shut.  Tahiri tells him that the Mandos have vacuumproof suits.  He thinks that he could open the hatch if he pushes hard enough.  Then something grabs his ankle and twists it hard.

A Mando greets him and tells him she feels like she knows him already.

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chapter 18:

Caedus knows he can’t leave Tahiri, but saving her could mean he won’t get out of here.  The Mando doesn’t fire.  Caedus uses the Force to give the Mando the illusion of Ailyn Vel’s face, knowing that sometimes an enemy can be distracted by the image of someone they love even if they know that person isn’t really there.

The Mando just jokes that the face doesn’t suit him.  He holds his blaster on Caedus while Tahiri clings to the latter’s waist.  Finally, wanting to have some fun, he fires into Caedus’ leg and lets go.  Caedus dissociates himself from the pain and uses the Force to punching open the hatch and leaping through the docking ring into the med evac ship with Tahiri.

He slams the hatch shut and use everything he has to stop her bleeding while he looks for medical equipment to help her.  He doesn’t understand why nothing seems to be pursuing him as he has time to hook Tahiri up to a bed and get a line into her arm to pump plasma into her.

It’s clearly their destiny to fight another day.

Fett orders Orade to leave Solo alone.  Jaina insists on going after him.  He’s injured, tired and Tahiri is bad off right now.  Fett argues that she has nothing to pursue him in and, besides, she’s not ready.  

He reaches out to his granddaughter who insists she’s fine.  She and Jaina make a good team.  Jaina tells her she’s a maniac; she severed one of Tahiri’s arteries.  Mirta tells her that’s what she gets for killing an old man.

Carid and Vevut drop down. Carid tells Jaina it was fun to kneecap her brother.  He wishes the Mand’alor hadn’t stopped him.  As it is, the [i]Bloodfin’s[/i] pretty messed up. Daala better not complain considering how much they held back.

Fett decides to go find Pellaeon’s body.  In the Grand Admiral’s day cabin, he chats with Reige who pledges that the crew will serve Daala out of respect for Pellaeon.  At a respectful distance, Jaina muses how the old man wasn’t the first person she’d known well, lost touch with and then seen again a casualty of war.

She tells Fett that it’s a terrible thing to reach one’s nineties and then be robbed of a peaceful death.  Fett snorts that Pellaeon died well.  People like him don’t want to fade out quietly.  Jaina wonders why she’s bothering trying to be sociable.

He wonders what she’s actually learned from him.  They use anything as a weapon, they have no real leaders and no headquarters.  The Mandalorians have few secrets.  He also asks if she knows that her brother can give off the illusion that he’s someone else.

She didn’t know that.  It’s not surprising since he was always good at illusions.  

Daala looks around at the bodies of the moffs, briefly lamenting the death of one she’d wanted to kill personally for the death of Liegeus.  Walking through the ship, she comments to Fett that the Sith seem to have modified their tactics in shooting an old man who’d given his life in service.  She wonders if the Jedi can get rid of them this time.

Fett thinks it would only be temporary;  The Sith and the Jedi are like a pendulum.  There’ll always be one while you have the other.  Daala tells him he did alright under Vader.  Fett points out that the Mandalorians have worked for Sith for millennia despite having had a war with them, too.  The Jedi and the Sith have these sectarian fights and everyone else gets hit by the debris.  He’s tried to remove the problem, but they keep coming back.

She thinks there’s another solution.  The Jedi Council shouldn’t exist.  The Jedi need to stay away from politics and never have the ability to wield armies.  He doubts that will keep the peace; not every troublemaker carried midichlorians in their blood.  She wonders who will replace Jacen Solo when he’s finally brought down.  

Fett’s supposed to be retired; but she could use a consultant with some anti-Jedi experience.  Fett assures her they would be happy to provide Beskar restraints if she ever needs a place to lock up the Jedi.  She tells him that he’d be surprised what ended up at the Maw Installation.  It turns out the Empire wasn’t nearly as adept at making Beskar work as the Mando’s are.  She might visit his world someday.

He tells her she could lift a glass at a Mirta’s wedding.  Daala mentions she has a son and a granddaughter, as well.  Fett muses about how people like them somehow have time to have families, then heads off to continue Jaina’s training – a part of him wondering if the Jedi Kubariet had a granddaughter yet.

Caedus returns to Coruscant, accepting that the trouble at Fondor was another necessary sort of pain the Force arranged to ease Niathal out without making him look bad.  The admin droid greets him, announcing that it’s cleared Niathal’s desk and transferred all defense operations to the Chief of State’s department.  There are two items on the calendar today – choosing a new Supreme Commander and meeting with Senator G’Sil.

Sitting down, he finds the headlines and finds himself annoyed by one of the articles in a holozine devoted to political commentary that often has a satirical edge.  Many of its articles are funny, but this one hits too close to home with its portrayal of Jacen Solo as a gangster who has turned on his family.  It implies he is connected to the deaths of Aiylen Vel, Cal Omas, Durr Gejjen and Mara Jade Skywalker, along with members of his own crew.

He’s surprised to find he can be so offended. He wants to comm them and tell them they’re wrong.  He’s not a gangster.  Nothing he’s done has been motivated by wealth or a desire for power.  They’re making him out like a common criminal while he’s done what he could to deal with the chaos.  It’s not like he can just change the galaxy by ordering people to behave themselves.

Nobody protested the Rebel Alliance’s unlawful victory over Palpatine.  They killed plenty of people because they saw the need for change.  The Sith must do these things.  Conventional laws don’t apply to them.  

He tells the droid to cancel with G’Sil.  The droid reminds him that the security council must meet every quarter; it’s the law. Caedus advises the droid to change the law.  He had that amendment to the Emergency Measures Act put in place months ago.  He can change any law without going to the Senate.  The droid should just remove the section about meetings being required.

Then he wants Shevu brought in.

Caedus complains briefly about the holozine, not necessarily disputing the facts, but that no one understands why he makes the decisions he does.  Publications like this only spread rumor, but he can’t go chasing a bunch of gossip mongers when Admirals are handing battle plans to the Jedi.  

He wants Shevu to understand because he sees the captain as a representative of ordinary people.  How he sees Caedus will be the way ordinary people see him.  Caedus explains that Mara or Luke would have come after him eventually because he’d taken their son as his apprentice.  All Sith Lords need apprentices.  He asks if Shevu knows what a Sith is.

The captain asks if it’s an old-fashioned Jedi philosophy.  Caedus tells him it is, but one more inclined to bring law and order than the Jedi.  Mara Jade Skywalker threatened his life in front of two Senators, then came after him to Kavan and tried to kill him.  It was a brawl.  Despite his weapons, it took some poison darts he kept with him as a last resort to kill her.

Shevu notes that’s why Ben dropped out of the Guard.

Caedus knows now what Lumiya had tried to tell him:  Ben doesn’t have what it takes to be a Sith apprentice.  She had sacrificed herself to protect Caedus, just as she had diverted Luke’s attention from him.  He has to make sure her sacrifice was worth it.

He assures Shevu that it wasn’t personal revenge.  Shevu knows that it still must be difficult, her having been a member of his family.  Caedus admits he’s trying to put it out of his mind. Shevu offers a police tip: don’t make it about the offender, but the victim. Focusing on the offender makes one sloppy.  It had never occurred to Caedus that ordinary beings used techniques to channel their emotions.

He adds that he has a new title now – Darth Caedus.  He’d prefer Shevu use that in the future.  The captain seems to accept that and Caedus is relieved that Shevu understands his motives.  He tells the man that he feels the hand of history on his shoulder.

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                  •    Kubariet was a Jedi that appeared in Dark Horse Comics’ Boba Fett: A Practical Man.
 

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chapter 19:

Ben steels himself to play the recording Shevu had risked his life to get.  

Han and Leia have found a new base so the Jedi and their allies are pulling off of Endor.  Ben finds he has to will himself to go find his father and prove to him that Jacen had killed his mother.  Shevu had worn a wire around Jacen.  How ironic that Jacen is so surrounded by deceit that he couldn’t sense that a man right in front of him was fooling him.

He starts walking, finding Jag and Zekk in the old briefing room.  He asks them to leave and go find his father, uncle and Aunt.  He also needs someone to get ahold of Jaina so he can set up a comm.  He’s got something he needs to show his family.

When everyone is available either in the room or on holocomm, Ben begins.  He shows them the copy of Jacen’s StealthX log that proves when he left Coruscant and when he returned.  The logs for his mother’s flight.  He produces the star charts with her movements in Hapan space which were provided by the Hapans along with Tenel Ka’s statement as to when Jacen arrived and when he left.  He shows the forensic droid remains and explains how he and Shevu had gotten physical evidence from Jacen’s ship.

He struggles to get beyond the finding of his mother’s blood-stained hair in the ship.  He recounts his own movements on Kavan, including the recordings of his mother’s body and the crime scene, then tells how Jacen found Ben despite Ben having no beacon, having made no comms and having shut down his presence in the Force.

Then he plays the conversation between Jacen and Shevu.

When it’s done, there is silence.  Jaina asks him to forward the recording to him.  Then Leia gets up, takes him in her arms and holds him, telling him he did everything absolutely right.  He sees tears in her eyes.  He’s never seen her cry.

Getting out of the room as fast as he is able, he climbs a tree up to a platform that had been part of an Ewok walkway and sits with his legs dangling over the edge.  After awhile, his father arrives, sits down next to him and they lean against each other for the rest of the day, not saying anything.

Jaina sits at Fenn Shysha’s memorial when Fett shows up and reminds her he bills for wasted time.  She shows him the datapad with Jacen’s confession on it and asks what he thinks.
 
Fett thinks she’s looking at this all wrong.  Jacen is a sane man who has resorted to lying to himself to explain how he got to where he is and to avoid blame for it.  It happens to everyone when they get that first taste of power and start sliding.  Jaina’s problem is that she wanted to believe that Mara Skywalker was completely innocent in the whole thing.  In Fett’s mind, Mara just went out for some pest control and almost succeeded.
 
Jaina asks why he hasn’t gone after Jacen.  Fett points out that her family will eventually start feeling bad about taking him down, despite the fact that it had to be done.  When the memory of the reality of the situation fades, he doesn’t want them to have mean old Boba Fett to blame for it.
 
He personally would rather have him live a long time in pain, but he’s going to let the family decide that.  Jaina notes that he hates Jedi which she understands because one killed his father.  He is done with giving advice and tells her none of her kind could understand.
 
He couldn’t avenge his father’s death because the Jedi got blown out of Palpatine’s window instead.  So he took it all on any Jedi he could until he realized that it was important because all Force users are trouble.  There’s no difference between Jedi and Sith. Every big war but the Vong one has been about those two sides dragging everyone else in to their conflict. 
 
Jaina points out that they are peacekeepers and that doesn’t always involve pleasant negotiations.  He tells her to give him her lightsaber and uses it to cut a branch right off a tree.  He shows it to her and tells her that a severed head has enough oxygen to retain consciousness for about two minutes.  She should try going to pick up the pieces of her father’s body and see how well she sleeps at night.
 
Knowing that combat training isn’t happening today, Jaina decides to go see Gotab or whoever he was when he carried a lightsaber.
 
Sintas hears Mirta coming in and they talk about the little bits Sintas remembers.  She does remember bounty hunting and will have to hone her skills so she can make a living.  Fett overhears this and tells her she doesn’t have to work again.  He will make sure she doesn’t have to scrape. 
 
She thinks she must have married him for a good reason.  Fett tells her he has more bad news for her.  Their daughter, Ailyn, is dead.  She was a bounty hunter who blamed him for not being there for them and tried to kill him more than once.  An interrogator on Coruscant caused her death.
 
Sintas gets angry, demanding to know who this person was who killed her little girl.  She turns on Mirta to find out why she would kill her own grandfather.  Fett tells her not to blame Mirta.  Ailyn was right to feel the way she did, but he’s a rich old man now and can afford to let her live a real life.
 
At the tapcafe, Jaina is approached by Gotab and Venku.  She tells him she knows he’s a healer but would like to know how many people know he’s a Jedi.  Gotab explains he used to be a Jedi, but left about 60 years ago, during the Clone Wars because he had moral objections to using a slave army.  He helped his new brothers escape and has spent his life helping them.  Venku’s mother was a Jedi and his father was a clone soldier.  He had to be hidden for years to keep the Empire from trying to breed a new army from him.  Not even Beviin knew who they were.
 
Jaina explains that Fett’s ex-wife, Sintas, was frozen in carbonite for over 30 years and has been thawed out, but she’s suffering from blindness and memory loss.  She thinks that he may be able to help.  If it’s a matter of credits, Fett will pay.
 
Gotab tells her he doesn’t want money, it’s the right thing to do.  Still, Jedi aren’t trusted around here and they’ve spent a lot of time letting folks think they’re Kiffar.
 
Back at Beviin’s farm, she tells him and Medrit that Gotab was a Jedi and is going to try to heal Sintas.  She doesn’t want anyone going after him because he’s lived among the Mandos for 60 years.  He may not have had a choice to be a Jedi, but he chose to be a Mandalorian.
 
Gotab works on Sintas for several hours until she sees flashes of light.  That night, Jaina tries to sleep while some celebration is going on at Levet’s farm.  Then she hears a solo male voice singing.  She enters the kitchen to find Beviin there.
 
He thinks Sintas is having nightmares.  Jaina goes in as she wakes up.  She can see now and had many different dreams. It’s coming back to her.  She remembers Ailyn.  She remembers leaving.  She remembers Bo shooting someone. 
 
She doesn’t know why Ailyn and Mirta hated him.  She never talked about it with her daughter.  It’s more complicated than that.  Jaina thinks she should get Mirta, but Sintas would rather talk to someone who understands how families can tear themselves apart.
 
She doesn’t know how she’s going to explain this to Mirta.  Her grandfather wasn’t part of their lives because has exiled for killing the superior officer who raped Sintas.
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•    Though the chapter does not specify Gotab’s real name, it’s clearly Bardan Jusik.
•    Nice to know Levet’s farm is still going.  He was another clone deserter from Republic Commando.
 

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chapter 20: 


Tahiri reports to Caedus that she disobeyed his instructions and went back to the old rebel hideouts.  There is evidence that the Jedi have been at Endor very recently, but she doesn’t know where they’ve gone now.
 
A week later, Orade and Mirta exchange marriage vows.  Fett sits in Slave I, admiring the rare blue heart-of-fire stone he’s bought.  Beviin bangs on the door and tells him to get to his granddaughter’s wedding feast.
 
Fett shows him the stone and tells him it’s for Sintas.  It’s a good-bye present.  He’s also got a portfolio of properties that will take care of her for the rest of her life.  He wants Beviin to give it to her, but this is one job his friend won’t do for him.
 
Sintas follows anyway.  She assures him that she never told Ailyn anything about what happened.  That was a mistake as their daughter filled in the gaps herself.  Fett admits he could have stayed in touch.  She reminds him he could have told the magistrate, but he refused to let her pain be dragged out in public.  He survived.  He gives her the portfolio and asks her if she ever found anyone else.  She admits she did many times but it never lasts in their line of work.  He tells her he can’t remember if he did. 
 
Sintas asks him to do the family thing just once and go their granddaughter’s feast.
 
At the party, Jaina entertains everyone by using the Force to pull corks out of wine bottles.  Though Mirta looks happy, Jaina can sense how saddened she is.  How one event spiraled their whole family out of control.  50 years ago, her parents were growing up with no idea what was coming. 
 
Mirta wonders what would have happened if she’d actually killed her grandfather.  Her mother built her whole life around hating him.  If Jaina’s mother hadn’t diverted her blaster shot, he’d be dead.  Jaina tells her she’s broken the cycle of hatred.  She should not worry about what-ifs.
 
Mirta reminds her that she was prepared to kill based on a lack of understanding about what really happened.  Jaina should remember that if she’s considering killing her brother.  She may want to bring him in and let someone else do the killing.
 
They agree to avoid being in opposing armies and to avoid each other if they end up that way.
 
At the empty tapcaf, Fett waits for Admiral Daala who arrives, telling him she’s arranging Pellaeon’s funeral on Corellia.  He asks if she’s like Jaina Solo who thinks he’s giving up a blessing.  Daala tells him she jumped at a second chance with Liegeus.  Fett points out Liegeus never stopped loving her.  Daala counters that she didn’t make him stop.
 
She reminds him she was offered a drink at his granddaughter’s wedding.  He tells her he’s ready when she is.  She tells him to call her Natasi.
 
Jaina sits with Gotab wanting to know more from a man who left the Jedi and didn’t become a Sith.  He tells her he used to be Bardan Jusik but stopped using the name after the Purge.  Mandos adopt so he and his wife had a huge family. 
 
Jaina tells him she must stop her brother, but Mirta has implored her to think twice about killing him.  Jaina doesn’t think anyone else can.  Gotab jokes that this one must be bigger than Palpatine if Luke Skywalker can’t take him.
 
Jaina notes he sounds quite bitter.  Gotab doubts much has changed since his time when the Jedi did everything they could to justify their existence and hold power.  They couldn’t hold the moral high ground when they cut corners on social justice to go after the big Sith fish.  He’s killed and not regretted it, but he’s never whined about his conscience.  If she wants to talk to him, she can talk to him just as someone who can use the Force.

Jaina admits it’s about her brother.  Gotab tells her that a hundred Jedi standing together could’ve taken him if they’d stayed united.  Instead, they stood by and hoped he would see the light so they wouldn’t have to do the dirty work.
 
She asks if he’s going to give the no attachment speech.  Gotab tells her that she will become a creature of ritual if she avoids attachments.  Unable to understand love and sacrifice.  The only answer for a Force user is self control which means not using the Force at all.
 
The only answer for her is to kill him out of love.  People do it all the time for different reasons.  She will have to go on living after that.  Jaina says there’s a prophecy that she’s the Sword of the Jedi.  He thinks she’s imposing meaning that may not be there.   Swords represent justice and justice is supposed to be blind.  Her personal feelings don’t matter.
 
A good friend of his owned a strill that lost its mind due to a brain tumor.  He loved that animal but had to shoot it because it was attacking everyone. It killed him to do it but he couldn’t let the suffering continue.
 
Jaina considers how Vergere had taught Jacen to embrace pain and how that is central to his life now.  He doesn’t think he can get rid of it so he has started to use it.  Gotab tells her that she’s going to kill him because he’s a power-hungry, murdering dictator that no other Jedi has the guts to kill. 
 
She thanks him for the clarity and asks if he has grandchildren.  In fact he has great-great grandchildren.  She tells him she’ll do it for them.  He still has his lightsaber, but he would give up all his Force powers but the healing ones.  He compliments hers.  Venku has two of them and can use them, too.
 
Venku arrives to take him home.  Gotab tells her that Kad’ika means Little Saber  He’s the Sword of the Mandos, telling them to take care of themselves first.
 
She asks Venku if he wants to practice.  He takes out the two blue ones and looks at them fondly before they begin.
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          •    Simple confirmation that Gotab was Jusik.  Still as morally righteous as ever.
          •    First mention of Daala’s first name.  Why did Liegeus call her Daala in Planet of Twilight, then?  Wouldn’t he have called her Natasi, too?
 

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Epilogue:
 
At the Jedi camp in the Transitory Mists, Ben assures his father he’s okay.  He can’t sleep, wondering about Shevu, if he’s seen Shula and how Lekauf’s parents are coping.  He lets his mind drift until he knows his father is talking to someone.
 
Luke excitedly tells his sweetheart that she found him and asks her to stay awhile.  Ben starts to rush there, too, but stops because this is his father’s time.  He lays back down and lets the tears flow until he falls asleep.
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

End of Book 8
 
 

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