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"Omen": Book 2 in the Fate of the Jedi series


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Prologue
 
Two years ago, Dician sensed the planet Ziost even before she saw it from the bridge of Poison Moon.  She looks for the meditation sphere and turns to her sensor officer, Ithila. 
 
After a short time, it arrives.  Dician tries to urge it to come with her to Korriban to the One Sith.  Ship refuses and turns back to Ziost.  Dician, her original mission to track down Alema Rar, finished by shattering the base at the asteroid, ponders her next move.
 
The Millennium Falcon was at the asteroid base, too.  She’d tried to destroy it before Ship had shown up without Alema.  She’d moved to capture it instead, giving up the chance to destroy the Falcon.  Now she will return home with no victory.
 
At least the Ship will remain in Ziost with no one to control it.
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          •    We met Dician and her Hapan underling Ithila in the Legacy of the Force book Fury.  The Sith meditation sphere, known as Ship, first appeared in Exile.
 

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chapter 1:
 
Jysella Horn feels like part of her is frozen in carbonite like her brother.  Always feeling like the tagalong little sister, the three-year difference between Valin and her haven’t made much of a difference lately as they’ve grown into friends.
 
Her friend, Bazel Warv lays a hand on her shoulder on the way up the stairs of the Jedi Temple.  Barv forgets how strong he is, but, at least, with little Amelia, the adopted daughter of Han and Leia, he’s very gentle.  She rides on his shoulders sometimes, loving everyone in the small group of Jedi called “the Unit” that consists of Barv, Jysella and Valin and Yaqeel Saav’etu
 
Yaqeel is with them now, assuring Jysella.  She wants to believe her friends as they reach the Temple entrance.  The five unique spires had once been a feature of the Coruscant skyline before falling to the Yuuzhan Vong, but a lot has been restored.  The exterior is very modern, though.  Jysella misses the statues of the masters that used to guard the entrance.
 
When she reaches Cilghal, the healer tries to assure her, as well.  This is not a reflection on her family at all.  She is hoping this is a temporary problem.  Jysella only wants to wrap her arms around her brother right now, not understanding how he could think his family was made of imposters.
 
Cilghal is looking over flimsy when the change comes over Jysella. She realizes that everything is wrong.  Valin was right.  This looks like Cilghal, but isn’t.  The Mon Calamari notes something is wrong and just thinks the young woman wants to talk.  Jysella won’t have it and uses the Force to push Cilghal away.
 
Then she runs.
 
Cilghal contacts security to detain Jysella, explaining that it appears she’s succumbed to the same illness. 
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          •    What part of the temple was destroyed during the Yuuzhan Vong war?  We had no indication that there was any Jedi Temple left on Coruscant prior to the Dark Nest crisis when it was mentioned that the GA built one for the Jedi to show a sense of unity and a return to normalcy.  Prior to that, the Jedi had their academy on Yavin IV before moving around during the turbulent war years.  Jacen Solo and Vergere found the underground rooms of the old Jedi Temple from the Old Republic days in Traitor, but there’s no indication that the building had been destroyed during the Vong attack.  In fact, it’s very much implied that it had been long gone. I can’t imagine that building standing derelict for 50 or 60 years before being rebuilt by the GA.  Which begs to question what Jysella remembers.
 
          •    The chapter mentions that only the male Horns are afflicted by the inability to use telekinesis.  That’s a weird thing, isn’t it?  Of course, we’ve barely seen Jysella before this chapter and she wasn’t mentioned at all in Vision of the Future when the whole Horn family was aboard the Errant Venture.  Valin was about six then and there was no reference to another child.
 

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chapter 2:
 
Jysella doesn’t know where she can go, wishing she had believed her brother.  A Fake version of Natua Wan appears, trying to stop her.  Jysella throws a bust of a long-dead Jedi at her and knocks her over.
 
The Fake Jedi are everywhere.  She whirls her lightsaber at Radd Minker and escapes through a door.  Cilghal catches up here to find Minker cutting a hole in the door.  She tells security that Jysella is on the other side.
 
Reaching out, Cilghal senses the young woman, but finds that there’s something surrounding the fear that seems familiar.  She can’t place it.
 
When the fake Jedi attack, Jysella sees herself in the future, captured.  She sprints away, disables a security droids and heads to the exit.  Seeing a service corridor door, she ducks inside, hides behind a cleaning droid and hugs herself as she did as a child, masking herself in the Force.
 
Security is frustrated that Jysella managed to know the location of security droids she shouldn’t have.  The team keeps that information secret.  Cilghal has teams dispersed to every other exit.
 
When she feels the fake Jedi running past, Jysella grabs her lightsaber and runs out the entrance. 
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          •    First appearance of Natua Wan and Radd Minker
 

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chapter 3:
 
Yaqeel and Barv sit in a café and watch a stranger come in with a cam droid.  Yaqeel is disgusted to see that it’s a journalist.  Suddenly a pedestrian hurtles through the window.  The two Jedi are stunned to see that it’s Jysella Horn.
 
Realizing that she is behaving erratically, they try to stop her but she tinks they are fakes, too.  Yaqeel uses the Force to push the cam droid at her friend who seems to almost know that it was going to happen.  She cuts that droid up.
 
When the GA security shows up, they grab her and restrain her.  Cilghal arrives and tells the two Jedi that she saw it happen before her eyes.  She wants them to come back to the Temple right now.  A car with the seal of the Galactic Alliance shows up at that moment.
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chapter 4:
 
Admiral Daala, Chief of State, exits the vehicle where she gives a statement reminding the audience how Valin Horn caused property damage while on his rampage.  His sister has now been proven to suffer from the same incapacitation.  Since the Jedi have proven they cannot contain members of their order, Jysella Horn will be taken to the same facility and restrained in carbonite with her brother.
 
She goes on to point out that Luke Skywalker has admitted his inability to control his Jedi has constituted reckless endangerment and is exiled until he can provide evidence that he can manage his Order effectively.  Until then, the Jedi will be closely monitored. 
 
A reporter named Javis Tyrr asks if it’s a coincidence that the two aberrant Jedi are siblings.  Daala can’t say, but they will be looking at all relevant data, including their genetics and home environment.  This gives Tyrr a chance to imply that Corran and Mirax were at fault.
 
Cilghal decides she’s had enough and starts to lead her group back to the Temple.  Tyrr grabs them and asks about the fight. Cilghal tells him that they are concerned about every incident of erratically behaving Jedi and are doing everything they can.
 
Back in her car, Daala relaxes as her personal assistant, Wynn Dorvan, sits with his pet Chitlik on his shoulder.  He’d been scanning the HoloNet when the news of the fight came up and let her know. 
 
She admits she’s never been a fan of the Jedi and can’t complain about the political leverage she’s getting that will allow her to tighten the reins on the Order, but these outbursts are unpredictable and she hates what she can’t control.
 
Dorvan tells her that Hamner wants to meet with her tomorrow, she turns the request down for a few days.  That will give the Jedi time to stew. 
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          •    If I recall correctly from just the last book, Luke’s sentence was to be reconsidered if he demonstrated to a board of inquiry that he knew the reason why Jacen Solo fell to the Dark Side, not that he had to prove that he could control his Order.
          •    Reference to an aide of Daala’s that had a pet chitlik was made in Millennium Falcon.
 
 

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chapter 5:
 
Two years earlier, on the world of Kesh, Vestara Khai faces her adversary, her good friend and native Keshiri, Ahri Raas.  They spar with their lightsabers  until she wins, then they relax. 
 
Neither of them have been chosen formerly as apprentices, but Vestara is 14 and knows that it’s likely that she will be chosen.  The Tyro are often chosen at much younger ages and Vestara is strong in the Force. 
 
She does, however, have a scar on her face that the Tribe considers a flaw.  It is on her mouth’s corner and cosmetic surgery had failed to correct it completely.  Kesh is a world where any flaw can prevent advancement.
 
However, Lady Rhea has told her that, while it mars her beauty, it can also aid her.  It could make others think she was something she wasn’t.  Ahri wants to go back and train in the courtyard which is as far as they would be allowed to go.
 
Neither have seen the inside of the Temple or the Ship of Destiny called Omen yet.  Suddenly, a ship flies over them.  It is nothing like what they’ ve seen before.  It flies in and allows its shadow to rest on Vestara, fascinated by her.
 
She summons her uvak pet, Tikk, through the Force.  She and Ahri fly on the uvak to follow the ship.  She knows that it has come for the Sith.
 
They fly Tikk to the Temple and set down.  She runs to Ship and hugs it.  Ahri puts his arms around her, hoping she is alright.  Though Ahri is her friend, his Keshiri birth makes any romance between them out of the question.  The Sith are merit-based, but there is a still a stigma against Keshiri.
 
Vestara communicates with Ship which wants to teach her for the good of all Sith. 
 
A group of the Sith Masters came out of the Temple and she spies Lady Rhea looking interested.
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chapter 6:
 
A lot of work had gone into Jade Shadow, given by Tendra Calrissian, upgraded by Talon Karrde, modified by Han Solo, but it is still Mara’s ship.  Ben can feel his mother all over the place. 
 
Cilghal comms Luke to tell him that Jysella Horn has fallen prey to the mysterious disease, too.  It happened right before Cilghal’s eyes with with no warning.  An attempt was made to detain her, but she escaped and was captured by the GA forces. 
 
Cilghal is certain that Jysella flow-walked for a moment.  She seemed to know where she would be confronted and tried to avoid those routes.  Luke points out that it’s a typical Jedi technique to be able to anticipate the moves of others.  Cilghal explains that Jysella managed to figure out where two security droids that were about to attack her were hidden and disabled them.  Two of her closest friends, whom she didn’t recognize, pursued her outside the Temple and she countered every move they made.  This is beyond what Cilghal would deem typical Jedi fighting techniques.
 
Right now, the GA has her and is going to put her in carbonite.  Their security was on the scene immediately and a reporter got almost everything.  She sends Luke and Ben the recording that they watch with great sadness.  Luke is forced to agree that there is skill beyond what would normally be accounted for.
 
Chief of State Daala says a lot without actually saying it. 
 
All three Jedi agree that the affected young people are all displaying abilities that Jacen had but that they couldn’t have learned themselves.  There is no evidence that Jacen taught it to them, but they cannot dismiss that Jacen might have been involved.  Perhaps, he foresaw his end and flow-walked to the past to arrange for a future legacy.
 
Ben points out that Jacen had studied with the Aing-Tii.  They are a species that tend not to welcome strangers, but Luke thinks it’s a good place to continue his travels.  If Jacen did use flow-walking to set up this future booby-trap, they will need to learn if it’s possible to undo it.
 
Cilghal tells him they live in the Kathol Rift which is going to make this harder.  She does also volunteer that they have managed to grab Seff Hellin who is being studied at the Temple.  The GA is not aware of this.  Neither are any of the masters besides herself.  No one wants to put Kenth Hamner in a compromising position.
 
She’s learned that Seff doesn’t have Valin’s ability to blank the encephaloscan, so she’s found that the parts of his brain that are active while dreaming also seem to be active while he’s awake.  Though he’s awake and cognizant, it’s as if he’s in a dream state.
 
Luke tells her to pass on his sympathies to Corran and Mirax.  Ben asks if he thinks Jacen really set this up.  Luke thinks it’s possible.  The Aing-Tii may be able to shed some light on it.  Hopefully, they won’t have to flow walk to find out.
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chapter 7:
 
Ben and Luke divide up the information that Cilghal sends them on the Kathol Rift and the Aing-Tii.  While Ben studies the species themselves, Luke looks up information on the dangerous spatial phenomenon that makes up the Rift.  It’s navigable, but quite difficult due to a huge cloud of unstable gases that is several parsecs wide.  The Aing-Tii seem to be able to handle it well. 
 
This is due to currents in the Rift that wrap around the dangerous cloud of gas. Those corridors change position, though, sometimes many times per day.  There must be some predictable pattern that the Aing-Tii have figured out.
 
Besides the energy discharges that will take to a ship like lightning to a lightning rod, they will have to deal with the xenophobic Aing-Tii.  They are bipedal with large tails and eyes that peer out beneath bony plates tattooed with some kind of markings.
 
Ben tells him that they use a type of club wrapped in wiring that delivers a stun.  Their ships huge and are called Sanhedrim ships.  The technology they have allows the vessels to appear out of nowhere.  They can either smash an enemy ship across the bow or bathe it in a ray that distorts the newcomer’s perception of time.
 
Talon Karrde met them once through his former employer, Jorj Car’das, who lived among them while he was dying.  Yoda had sent him to them for aid.  He wrote down everything he learned about them.  This is contrary to everything they know about the Aing-Tii from other sources.
 
They might have had a personal relationship with Yoda.  Car’das explained that the Aing-Tii believe in deities called “Those Who Dwell Beyond the Veil”.  They do collect artifacts and used to use a human called the Codex.  The technique isn’t known, but it’s possible he was brainwashed and went inside. 
 
Luke wonders if the hassat-durr technique he learned from the Kel Dor would help.  If he doesn’t use it right, he could be struck by lightning repeatedly.  However, he could use it to deflect energy. 
 
Additionally, this part of space is known to cause hallucinations, especially among Force-users. Spiders are a frequent sighting reported, along with small hairless beings with large eyes, slit noses and tiny mouths.  Nausea and severe headaches are also noted.
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          •    We learned the story of Jorj Car’das in Vision of the Future.
 

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chapter 8:
 
Kenth Hamner arrives first in the High Council chambers to think.  He’d been selected for this job because of his deftness with politics.  Yet, everything he does only gets the Order into deeper trouble. 
 
He’d initially thought Daala a good choice for Chief of State, but now she just confuses him.  She seemed rational and, after all, Jagged Fel is the Imperial Head of State.  Those differences don’t seem so important after all this time.
 
He’d gone along with everything the Chief has asked for, yet she still presses down on them.  He’s asked for a meeting that she’s put off for three days.
 
Soon, the Masters come in.  Kyp, Octa , Saba, Cilghal, Kyle.  Then Leia and Jaina, too, for their insight.  Only Corran is not here.  He comms he’s on his way, not caring if they start without him or not.
 
Kenth tables the discussion of the two Horns until then.  Kyp Durron speaks up and asks how long it will be before the GA comes down on the Jedi Order again.  Kenth isn’t sure they shouldn’t wait for Corran for that, too, but the latter arrives, looking horrible.
 
Hamner asks Cilghal to describe what she saw in Jysella the day of the attack.  She goes over the events from beginning to end, concluding that Jysella is suffering the same problem as Valin. She wishes she were able to study Jysella to confirm, not only that, but also if her brain wave pattern is similar to Valin’s.
 
Corran knows that she wants him and Mirax to come in for a medical examination.  Cilghal thanks him for understanding. Though they do not know why Valin and Jysella are being affected in this way, it would help if they can eliminate genetic reasons. 
 
Cilghal turns to Hamner about getting permission to examine Jysella.  Corran grouses that he and Mirax can’t even see her.  Hamner finds that disgraceful and assures him that he will speak with Chief Daala at his meeting three days from now.
 
The other Jedi find the delay outrageous.  Leia steps in and offers to see if Chief Daala would be willing to allow her and Han to act as go-betweens.  As a grandmother herself, Daala surely isn’t as callous as it appears.
 
Leia assures Kenth that she would not be acting as a Jedi or usurping his role as the head of the Order.  Not wanting to offend Leia, he agrees, assuring everyone that he will request that Cilghal be allowed to examine Jysella and that her parents be allowed a visit.
 
He wants Corran and Mirax to report immediately for a medical examination and they’ll probably need Booster, too.  Corran interrupts to tell him that exam isn’t happening right now and he’ll have trouble if he expects Booster to submit to anything.  Corran is going home to his wife to try and find a way to see their daughter before she’s encased in carbonite.
 
Cilghal tells Corran she has a lot of data to sift through.  A few hours’ delay shouldn’t be a problem.  She’s sure, though, that Booster will want to help his grandchildren. Any cooperation he’s willing to give would be helpful.
 
Corran calms down, admitting Mirax is already speaking with her father. 
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chapter 9:
 
In the detention center of the Jedi Temple, Leia and Han go to visit Seff Hellin who is in comfortable surroundings, but limited by ysalamiri.
 
They confirm that he’s the same one they saw a few months ago.  Leia thinks his aura has gotten darker and more stronger. 
 
Leia believes they should go visit the Horns. Jaina admits it’s been hard on them, losing both children and Chief Daala implying that their family could be the reason.  At least, Daala is willing to see the Solos.
 
Jaina warns them that the heat’s not off yet.  The observers are gone, but the journalists are not.  Javis Tyrr seems intent on chatting with her and Jag.  He was there at Jysella’s breakdown and got unfortunately clear holoimages.
 
Leia points out how convenient it was that the press and the GA security were right on that incident.  It’s almost as if it were orchestrated, but Leia can’t see how that could have been arranged.
 
Jag is holding the Moffs together who are acting like children now that they have to accept women, but the situation between the GA and the Jedi is not helping anyone. 
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chapter 10:
 
Two years earlier, on Kesh, Vestara wakes up in her beautiful room, attended by her Keshiri servant, Muura.  Today, she’s going to meet the Circle of Lords, having been summoned by a Sith Master himself.
 
Her father is Gavar Khai, a Sith Saber. Her mother, Lahka, is not Force-sensitive, so stays out of Sith business.  Gavar Khai was surprised and concerned, questioning her gently as to what she has said or done that may have upset someone.  She assured him she’d done nothing, but doesn’t mention the conversation with Ship.
 
Security had cleared the area around it and closed the Temple.  No one has discussed it at all. 
 
Her father appears at the door.  He tells her that Tikk is waiting and she shouldn’t be late.  He’s going to discuss some things with Muura. 
 
The Keshiri had become second-class citizens when the Sith arrived with their enhanced technology.  The city is enclosed within walls that had once been used to keep out large predators.  Craftspeople work hard to bring the Force to bear in their art.  The guilds are ruthlessly competitive.  The poorest live closest to the city walls. They are generally the ones who lack Force-sensitivity and are usually Keshiri.
 
When she lands at the center of the city where she is conducted to the Circle of Lords.  Her father had taught her to conceal her emotions, with the belief that she would someday control them, too.  Anger, fear and even happiness can interfere with one’s perceptions.  They can also be weapons that she will have to control so that others will not be given an advantage.
 
The Grand Lord, Darish Vol, is there.  He is an impressive-looking, but aged, Keshiri.  The High Lords and Masters of the Sith are here, as well.  The Grand Lord bids her to tell them the story of the Return.
 
Vestara relates the story they all know well.  The Omen crashed on Kesh long ago where the Sith were welcomed by the Keshiri and treated as gods.  They believed the Sith were predestined protectors who would guard against the predicted Destructors.
 
The Sith believe that they are those Protectors, destined to grow strong and stand against the Return of those who would destroy Kesh.  That has not happened in the 5000 years they’ve been here.
 
Lady Rhea announces that everything they’ve known over the millennia changed yesterday.   There is now a way off Kesh.  Ship has sought them out to fulfill the destiny that all worlds belong to the Sith.
 
It is a Sith meditation sphere designed to train apprentices.  Vestara’s was the first mind it contacted.  She is presented with one of the few remaining lightsabers from the original Sith.  Most apprentices have to make their own which aren’t as good with the limited resources here. 
 
She realizes that her father knew what was happening and couldn’t tell her.  Apprentices are separated from their families with no warning or contact for an entire year.  Lady Rhea encourages her to revel in her delight.  She has been chosen for the honor of being the first to leave Kesh in 5000 years.
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chapter 11:
 
Wynn Dorvan heads to his office, bare for the most part since he has no family.  There is a bouquet of flowers waiting for him that does surprise him.  His chitlick, Pocket, stirs from her place inside his pocket.  The card is in Daala’s handwriting.  It tells him, “Sorry. A favor”.
 
He doesn’t know what she means until a perky young Twi’lek greets him.  She’s Desha Lor, his new assistant.  It turns out she’s the daughter of a diplomat who is well known and respected and, apparently, a friend to Daala. 
 
The girl doesn’t have a criminal record, is a good student and seems too innocent to do this job.  But , then, so was Princess Leia.  He’ll have to watch Desha.
 
Moff Lecersen assures Moff Vanysn that he’s keeping an eye on Fel.  Vansyn thinks he’s better to keep an eye on Jaina Solo.  Fel is letting his personal relationship with her affect his government one. 
 
Lecersen urges patience.  They’ll let Fel carry on his love affair until it burns out.  In the meantime, he’ll lose good judgment and they’ll pounce then.  Right now, Daala has the Jedi where she wants them.  All the threads are there to let the Moffs restore themselves to their former glory.
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chapter 12:
 
Jaina almost misses Dab Hantaq who at least tried to be courteous when doing his job.  The reporters, by contrast, are pushy
 
Jaina contacts Jag for another stealth mission and walks out the Jedi Temple, past the reporters, letting them see her in a formal gown and high heels.  Dodging questions ranging from slavery on Vinsoth to vegetarian Jedi, she jumps into a speeder driven by Winter.
 
Javis Tyrr follows the speeder with his holocam droid beside him, hoping to eavesdrop on the conversation at dinner.  He has aired many responsible stories about the Jedi, including one about their history.  As the public lost interest, his boss decided he needed to do livelier stories. 
 
They are dining at the Indigo Tower, one of the nicest restaurants here.  After Jaina and Fel go inside, Tyrr bribes an employee to sit him close to them.  It turns out the two are dining in private rooms.
 
Inside, Jag and Jaina would love to see Tyrr’s face.  They change clothing with their two doubles, Karn Valanti and Lina Zev, code named “Carved” and “Curved”, before ducking out through the kitchens. 
 
Carved and Curved stay behind to eat.
 
Javis Tyrr catches sight of them every time the door opens and is disappointed to see that they look like a couple out on a date.  He finally gets  a tiny cam on a serving droid that goes into the room.
 
At first, he just thinks the audio is off.  Their voices aren’t right.  Then he realizes that they aren’t Jaina and Jag.  He’s been listening to doubles.
 
Outside, Tahiri lets them into a speeder.
 
At the Solo’s apartment, Leia admits she’s worried about Allana.  The child seems unsettled.  At least, on Hapes, despite the danger, she had a routine.  Leia had one, too, when she was young.  Her stable, happy childhood with two parents who loved each other was never really intruded upon by politics. 
 
She thinks they should go to the Coruscant Livestock Exchange and Exhibition and buy Allana something she can ride on sunlit afternoons the way Leia used to ride her thranta.
 
Han agrees so long as they don’t buy a tauntaun.
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chapter 13:
 
At the Kathol Rift, the Jade Shadow jumps out of hyperspace.  Luke sends a message to Cilghal, telling her where they are.  They’ve narrowed their search.  Jacen had not mentioned needing any special equipment to find the place.  Neither had Jorj Car’das.
 
Luke utilizes the hassat-durr technique to protect the ship from the electrical discharges out here.  They will have to assess what damage has already been done.
 
During an argument about whether or not Ben should learn flow-walking, the hallucinations start.  Hundreds of tiny arachnids crawl around.  They calm their thoughts and the visions disappear. 
 
They make small jumps within the Rift, going from place to place until a beeping sound emits.  The readings tell Ben that they are in orbit of Coruscant.  Ben knows this must be another illusion, but Luke tells him that there are now readings of Tatooine.  A ship appears both times, directly on top of them.  It appears the Aing-Tii have found them.
 
They know what Luke and Ben have come for.  Luke agrees to their test and coordinates appear on the screen.
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chapter 14:
 
Ben wonders if they are walking into a trap.  Luke thinks the Aing-Tii have had opportunities to kill them earlier.  They land on a moon.  Luke tells Ben to leave his lightsaber on board.
 
They are approached by Aing-Tii who do not seem to understand Basic.  Luke believes that his challenge is to learn how to communicate with them.  It appears that they creatures speak with green tendrils flickering out of their mouths.
 
Luke sits down, cross-legged, Ben with him, and connects to the Force.  Suddenly, Ben understands that the being’s name is Tadar’Ro.  It’s a very intense experience and he has to shut himself down from the Force.
 
Luke tells him to go back to the ship.  While he walks away, he turns back to see the tendrils licking his father’s face.
 
When Luke returns, he explains that he’s never experienced anything like it.  They are unlike any species he’s met.  Ben asks what happens next.  Luke tells him he should get used to being licked.
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chapter 15:
 
Tadar’Ro has transmitted coordinates to them.  The jumps are easy and quick and take them to another moon.  There are cities here and dwellings, moisture farming equipment and the presence of many beings.
 
Tadar’Ro waits for them with several beings.  He holds out a type of microphone.  A human voice comes from it.  The device was created after a human taught them his language.  They communicate through pheromones which are analyzed and translated into corresponding words in Basic.
 
Luke and Ben follow him to a long line of Aing-tii.  Tadar’Ro explains that they will say something to the Jedi who must respond with the phrase the Wounded One used, “As Those Who Dwell Beyond the Veil will it”.
 
It takes a lot of licking, greeting and repeating the process.  They get the feeling that one of the females doesn’t want them here.  Luke and Ben are taken to a dwelling that seems constructed for humans.  Clearly, this is where Jorj Car’das lived when he was here.
 
Luke explains that the Aing-Tii know why they have come, but he senses some are not happy.  Tadar’Ro tells him that the Aing-Tii respect the Force, but do not use it.  It is not a tool or a weapon.  :They believe they are being guided to certain places in a certain manner that is not predetermined.
 
Over the last few years, a Prophet has challenged those beliefs.  He has seen things that come to pass.  They are specific enough not to be misinterpretations or coincidences.  They have considered that he could just have good judgment, but it’s hard to discount what they have seen.  He has foretold the coming of Those Who Dwell Beyond the Veil in his lifetime.
 
It’s upset many because he became one with the Force a few weeks ago and there has been no sign of the coming.  There is now division and anger where there wasn’t before and inhibiting the ability to serve.  They have to find a resolution which is why the Jedi have been permitted to come.
 
If they can touch the Relics, they may be able to determine if the Prophet was correct.  The Aing-Tii are forbidden to do so.  Luke remembers how they travel around searching for artifacts. 
 
Luke agrees to help if, in return, Tadar’Ro can tell him anything about Jacen Solo.  Tadar’Ro was the one who taught Jacen because of his experience with Jorj Car’das.  Luke asks if he will tell of the time spent with Jacen.  Ben adds that he’d like to learn to flow-walk.
 
After all, it’s important that they know what skills Jacen had that might have turned him dark.  Tadar’Ro agrees to accommodate both requests.
 
Luke looks around Car’das’ old quarters, noting that there are datapads and droid parts here. He is hoping to find something from them.  He finds that they are journals.  Apparently, Car’das was only allowed to bring with him a small amount of what he learned.
 
He turns on the pad and sees Car’das’s face with the voice that Tadar’Ro is using in his translator device.
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chapter 16:
 
On Kesh, in the past, Vestara flies Tikk to the Temple where she will live.  Besides a few necessary items sent from home, she will have everything provided for there.  Apprentices live simple lives as the Sith want to know that their Sabers can live without luxuries.
 
Lady Rhea greets her, taking the reins of the uvak. Vestara can’t help but wonder if Tikk will be hers again.  Rhea notices this and tells her that she is used to a life without want.  She needs to learn how not to have things.  An apprentice raises his lightsaber above Tikk’s head.
 
Vestara’s mind cries out, but she says nothing.  Rhea nods her head and the apprentice lowers the weapons. Rhea compliments Vestara for her strength.  If she had protested, her uvak would be dead now.  She should be fond of him, her family and her pets.  She must enjoy what she has earned, but they must actually be earned.  Vestara should never love someone or something so much that she cannot bear to lose it.
 
She is taken to a large dormitory with cots only and fires in the hearth, candles for light and absolutely no privacy.  Rhea confirms that no one here cares about modesty as they are equals.  Some learn to change quickly without revealing anything; others have no sense of decorum at all.  There is, however, a refresher.
 
The reason for these primitive surroundings is to purge apprentices of anything luxurious.  She must learn to be at home anywhere.  The galaxy may belong to them, but some of it is rich and comfortable, while other parts are not.  She will learn to sleep anywhere and be at peace with her surroundings.
 
Later, while eating dinner, she feels Ship calling her.  Rhea confirms they are wanted.  It seems the whole Temple is.  Ship tells them they are needed now.  The Sith have been hunted and pushed back.  There are some in hiding called the One Sith, but they are lacking.  Jedi are all over, but do not rule.
 
Lord Vol assures them all that they are still here. This may be why they were allowed to grow here, so that their Tribe can restore the Sith. 
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chapter 17:
 
Jaina thinks the Exhibition stinks.  Natua Wan and Radd Minker are escorting the Solo family on this day.  Allana looks around at all the animals, while Jaina and Leia catch up on family business.
 
Leia can sense Luke most of the time, Cilghal is keeping in touch, Jaina and Jag are doing well, save Javis Tyrr’s attempts to disrupt their dates.  Radd points out that he’s here now.
 
Jaina suggest they try to lose him inside the hall.  Leia spots a small Kybuck which originated on Kashyyyk and can be easily ridden.  She thinks she can arrange for Allana to see it before they leave, then she and Han can come back the next day and buy it.
 
Han tries to lead her into the small animal hall, but Allana wants to see the dangerous ones.  That hall has been garishly decorated with red lights and an atmosphere that’s’ supposed to evoke dread.
 
However, there are some unpleasant-looking creatures in here.  Allana falls in love with nexu cubs.  Radd explains they’re young enough to be trained as guard animals, rather than attack ones.  It requires an experienced trainer, though. 
 
Jaina can’t believe that those things can be kept as pets.  Radd goes on to talk about the process when both he and Leia get that familiar tingle. They look around.  Natua is nowhere in sight.  The hall lights go out.
 
Natua can’t believe how fast it dawned on her.  Seff, Valin, Jysella were right..  While the Solos chatted, she understood that they were all imposters.  She doesn’t know how deep this goes.  She has to stop them.
 
Natua tells a uniformed officer that she’s a Jedi and has to get to the control room immediately.
 
As Leia and Radd ignite their lightsabers, it’s discovered that the exit doors are locked.  Leia yells that there’s just a glitch and no one is in danger.  She, Jaina and Radd head to exits.  The ceilings start to retract, though, and food starts dropping from them to feed the carnivores. 
 
It’s not feeding time, though, and food is dropping all over the place. Leia yells to Han to protect Allana, then leaps up on a banister.  Radd is cutting a hole in the door, but it will take time.  The Force fields are deactivated and the walkways are retracting now.
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chapter 18:
 
In the control room, Natua is careful not to kill anyone, but she had knocked the guards out.  She runs out to find a way to cause a distraction that will allow her to escape.
 
The crowd inside is starting to stampede.  Leia is hoping Jaina is making better progress with her door than Radd is.  She herself has to jump into a boarwolf pen to save a small child who’s fallen in. 
 
Han hauls out out of the pen, Allana wrapped in his other arm.  She has to deal with the nexu now.  An Ithorian with his leg caught in its jaws is pulled out after Leia kills it.  Radd gets through the door and ducks back as patrons begin pouring out.
 
Now, Natua is here, calling Leia an imposter.  She tells Han to take Allana and go.  Radd and Jaina need to stay here and help get all these people to safety.  Han insists he will be back as soon as he gets Allana somewhere safe.
 
Han finds Jaina, tells her that Natua Wan is having a breakdown.  They find that Natua has opened the outside corrals and animals are herding out of their pens. 
 
Inside, Leia urges Natua to come down and get help.  Natua will have none of it and becomes almost impossible to sense in the Force.
 
Jaina tries to help, but there is just too much chaos.  Through the Force, she encourages animals to calm down and move slowly.  Then she runs into Javis Tyrr who wants an interview right now.  When he reveals that Natua was in here a minute ago, Jaina comms her mother and tells her where to look.  She thanks Tyrr by telling him she won’t punch him in the nose.
 
Natua doesn’t think Jaina is real any more than her mother.  Leia and Radd arrive and, unable to fight three Jedi, Natua is quickly subdued.  They all agree that this is getting harder and harder to watch.
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chapter 19:

In the serenity of this place, Ben and Luke learn from Tadar’Ro who seems to like them and they are growing to like him, too.  Before them, he’d only met Jacen and Jorj Car’das.  Jacen was the first Jedi to come to him.  He notes that Jacen didn’t find learning about the Aing-Tii a delight; it was just a task he had to accomplish, to master before he went on to something else.  

This was early in Jacen’s journey, but Ben recognizes he was already set on his dark path even then.  They’d learned from Car’das’s journals that the Aing-Tii don’t believe in the light or dark side of the Force.  They believe the Force has all colors of a spectrum.  They consider it sacred.  Tadar’Ro admits they don’t use it much for that reason.  They power their ships to search for things that might have belonged to Those Who Dwell Beyond the Veil.  He hopes Luke and Ben will help him in finding some of those objects.

Jacen was strong in the Force which is why they agreed to teach him.  They assumed he’d been sent to them as Car’das had been.  He picked up their philosophy of perception of the Force that need not require Force sensitivity.  Tadar’Ro shows how he is able to move a rock.  Jacen learned quickly, so he assumes Luke and Ben will, as well.  When they are ready, he will teach them flow-walking.

It involves surrendering their emotions to the Force.  He will show them how to do this/

For a secretive people, they open up exceedingly when they get to know strangers.  Car’das describes how they spoke constantly to him about how they power their ships.  Ben admits he rather likes the concept of the Force as a rainbow.

When he was Jacen’s student, he’d begun to think of the Force as a tool, neither good nor evil.  It wasn’t the weapon he used, but what he did with it that counted.  Then he landed on Ziost and feel the malevolence seep through the very essence of the planet.  He understood that this was evil.  

Luke admits he had a similar experience with the cave on Dagobah.  Ben thinks that Jacen wanted the Force to be gray so he could justify taking whatever action he wanted to take in order to accomplish his goal.  There is nothing wrong with wanting the galaxy to be a safe place; Jacen just wanted it so much that it clouded everything he did.  Luke agrees that Jacen followed an Ends Justify the Means philosophy.  

The Force cannot be a rainbow to a Jedi.  It must be one or the other.  It’s a nice thought to contemplate, but the risks to a Jedi and, consequently, to the galaxy are too great.  

So Luke and Ben go on journeys to find artifacts for the Aing-Tii.  It’s easier with their ships that move with the Force.   Ben hopes they can learn to use the Jade Shadow in this way only to be told by Tadar’Ro that it wouldn’t work.  The ships aren’t organic in the way that the Jedi think of the word, but they are Force sensitive after a fashion.  

Though the Aing-Tii treat the Jedi with kindness and gratitude, Luke and Ben begin to sense a resentment from some of them.  Tadar’Ro explains it’s not personal.  There’s a schism developing among those who want to believe the Force guides us and those believe the Prophet was a voice for Those Who Dwell Beyond the Veil.  Each side gains more believers each day while those who remain neutral are dwindling.  

He hopes the Jedi can help heal the rift.  When they are ready, he will show them the Embrace.  This has negative connotations to them because of the Yuuzhan Vong, but he assures them this is nothing painful.  It’s their term for the site that contains the relics.    First, they must learn some things about the Aing-Tii that Jacen and Jor Car’das learned.  

Ben knows his father isn’t happy about the flow-walking.  Such a concept to beings who view the Force with neutrality isn’t so bad, but it means something else to humans.  But he allows Tadar’Ro to teach Ben while he himself returns to the ship.

Ben tries to remain noncommittal when he joins his father later.  He knows Luke disapproves of this teaching and they have a mild argument when Luke tries to explain why.  He admits Ben is right in that he thinks it’s dangerous. The flow-walking gives the illusion of control over the past and the future.  He might be able to change small things that happen, but he won’t be able to prevent his mother’s death or Jacen from slipping to the dark side. It’s the wanting that is so hazardous.  He would’ve wanted the same thing when he was Ben’s age.

Ben is still angry.  Luke vows to be there when he’s ready to talk.
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chapter 20:

On Coruscant, Daala, Dorvan and Desha are horrified to watch Javis Tyrr’s reporting of Natua Wan’s insane rampage at the Exhibition.  Once again, Tyrr sensationalizes the story and adds secret footage from inside the Temple showing the renegade Seff Hellin being held in a private apartment.  Tyrr rages at the Jedi for doing this in violation of the law and for Chief of State Daala for, knowingly or unknowingly, allowing them to do it.  A furious Daala wants a security team prepped and an open comm to Kenth Hamner at once. 

The Jedi Council holds an emergency meeting, some via hologram.  Corran thinks the Jedi had to have a Jedi to study when the others are being withheld from them.  Kyle is fine with that, but wishes they’d all been involved.  Cilghal admits she knew once Hellin was recovered and incarcerated again.  It was easier to withhold the information from Hamner, knowing he had to juggle his duties to the Order with his responsibility to Chief of State Daala.  

Hamner knows Jaina was likely to do something like this based on what they both understood to be the meaning behind his words to her.  Nevertheless, there is a security force en route that will probably demand that Hellin and Natua Wan, assuming she’s been captured, over to them.

Leia contacts Hamner in the midst of this.  She’s on her way with Jaina and Natua Wan.  She has an idea that might make this incident easier to swallow.

Dorvan knows Daala is angry and cautions her not to let Javis Tyrr’s reporting get to her.  She is at the Temple with Dorvan, the security force and a great many reporters she has called in for the occasion.  She had always wanted to control the Jedi, but she’d really tried to be fair with them.  This latest humiliation happening behind her back leaves her feeling betrayed.

Kenth Hamner appears at the top steps of the Temple, along with several other Jedi, including Leia and Jaina plus Han, greets Daala and the group heads inside.
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  •  After Leia contacts Kenth, he tells her they will meet with her group in the Room of a Thousand Fountains.  The original Jedi Temple had such a room, premiering in the Jedi Apprentice books.
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chapter 21:

Hamner assures Daala that he knew nothing about this.  Leia explains that she and some of the others did.  She believes that it’s in the best interests of everyone to have the Jedi suffering from this disease to be conscious so they can be examined by other Jedi.

Daala interrupts to point out that this is exactly what she discussed with Master Skywalker.  The Jedi think they should be able to make decisions for everyone else.  In the meantime, several Jedi have caused mayhem, destruction, injuries and even deaths while battling this disease.  

Jaina assures her she can trust the Jedi to police themselves.  She was the one who went behind Hamner’s back to conceal Hellin.  She refuses to name her accomplices, though.  Daala demands that Hellin and Wan be handed over to the GA.

Han points out that the Jedi have two and the GA has two.  He knows how difficult it is to be surrounded by Force users, but he has learned that the instinct can be trusted.  Daala reminds him that it’s because he trusts the individual people; she doesn’t and has no reason to now more than ever.

Leia explains that they have thoughts on that.  Hamner reveals that he is confident that only Jaina, Cilghal and one other Jedi were involved in this.  Jaina will be reprimanded and the three Jedi will be confined to the Temple for two weeks.  Daala still wants Hellin and Wan turned over to her.  Leia rejects this.  She points out that the Jedi have ways of helping that the GA experts do not.  When Daala threatens to have them arrested, Han suggests that she will start reminding people of the Empire if she does.  She’s already chased off Luke.  If she arrests Kenth Hamner, who was her choice to run things in Luke’s place, she will be guilty of arbitrarily getting rid of opponents in the same way that Jacen did.

Daala backs down on the condition that the GA be able to observe the sick Jedi at any time and that all research be turned over to them for review.  She wants the name of the other Jedi involved in the cover-up and demands that all of the Jedi involved be interviewed in front of the Temple by Javis Tyrr where they will apologize for undermining the law.  If the Jedi don’t agree, she has no problem with going full Empire and seizing the captive Jedi, bad optics or not.

After the meeting, Jaina objects to having to be interviewed by Tyrr.  Hamner raises his voice in response, telling her that, whatever understanding she thought she had with him, she certainly knew she would be expected to take responsibility for her actions should they come to light.  Leia reminds her that the important thing is that the Jedi retain custody of Seff and Natua which was the whole point in the first place.  They can swallow their pride in exchange for an accomplished mission.  Han agrees that they’ve won this round.

Hamner laments that anyone is talking about whose side is winning when they have young Jedi suffering serious delusions.  Leia suggests that be his message during the interview.  

In the meantime, Dorvan has taken the liberty of putting together some remarks for Daala that he feels could give the GA back the advantage in this struggle.

In the Remnant, Moff Lecersen remarks to Vansyn how Javis Tyrr has managed to expose the Jedi cover-up and get interviews with some high-ranking members of the Order.  He’s got his own show now.  He could prove to be useful to them.

After the interview, Jaina is stuck in the Temple helping out with chores before heading back to her quarters, exhausted.  Jagged Fel is there, having put together a nice meal.  He saw the news, but he knows Tyrr isn’t telling everything.

She explains the rest.  She didn’t expose him, Mirax, Tahiri or Winter.  It was probably for the best that Tekli had to be named.  Jag reminds her that she made the best decision. Everyone who matters knows this, including, probably, Daala, though she won’t agree.  The important thing is that the Jedi have Hellin and Wan for study.

But that’s not why he’s here.  He thinks a joint venture between the Remnant and the Jedi will be beneficial.  When Jaina starts to fret about the Moffs, he explains that he’s got that handled.  

He wants her to marry him.  

She wonders if that will work.  Jag thinks it will.  For now, they’ll just keep doing what they’ve been doing.  The Moffs think he’s distracted by love; however, he’s got an idea who is causing all of the problems.  Eventually, the Jedi will find out what is causing their colleagues’ illness and solve it.  Daala will be less of a threat then and Luke will probably be back sooner rather than later.   He loves Jaina for who she is and doesn’t want to stand in her way.

She answers him.
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chapter 22:

Luke regrets that the distance between he and Ben has been renewed over this flow-walking issue.  It doesn’t surprise him that dreams of being attacked invade his sleep until he realizes he’s not dreaming.  An Aing-Tii has gotten into his room and quickly tries to deflect Luke’s blow using a metal stick.  He disappears almost as soon as he arrived.  Ben emerges, wondering who that was and why they were attacked.

Luke can’t get a specific sense of who that being was.  Being Force-users, it’s not surprising they would be able to get past locks even though they rarely use the Force.  Since it’s almost dawn, Ben decides to stay up and get some more practice.  They both know what he’s practicing.

Tadar’Ro is disturbed to learn that they were attacked with a stun stick.  Someone must have wanted to incapacitate them, maybe to frighten, maybe to kidnap or kill them.  He had hoped for more time, but it is apparent that taking them to the Embrace needs to happen soon.

It is a grueling two-day journey that’s done in silence as Tadar’Ro will not speak and Luke and Ben are still at odds.  When they read the passageway, the Aing-Tii tells them to be with the relics and examine them; try to find the answers that will heal the rift among his people.

The cavern is full of glowing rocks of all colors – a rainbow – with artifacts on the floor stacked three or four high.  Ben wonders at how the Aing-Tii to treat these items so haphazardly if they are so important.  Luke reminds him that the Aing-Tii cannot touch the relics themselves, so they’ve not been catalogued at all.  He and Ben will have to -touch them, examine them and see what insights can be gleaned from them.  This could take some time, but that’s what Luke has plenty of.
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chapter 23:

After several hours, Luke and Ben haven’t accomplished much.  Some of the relics are bits of technology; some look like they could be important; some don’t.  If they could analyze these at the Temple, there’s so much they could learn about other cultures.  Luke tries to be open-minded about the beliefs of others, but it’s hard to look past the notion that keeping all of this stuff sitting in a cave somewhere is wasteful.

There are powerful items here; none of them jump out as if to tell them what do have the Aing-Tii do.  Luke suggests they keep searching.  Such a relic may be yet encountered.  

It is many hours later when he spots a small metal pyramid that looks new.  He touches it and gasps.

On Kesh, Vestara had never dreamed that she would enter any ship other than the Omen.  Upon boarding Ship, however, she finds it’s eager to teach her.  It follows her commands easily and soon teaches all of the Sith and the apprentices how to fly it.  It tells them all about the Omen.  It fights in space for them, bringing down harmless vessels.  Once the crews are killed, the Sith scavenge the wrecked ships to repair the Omen and make it spaceworthy.

The two ships together assault other vessels, commandeer them and allow the Sith to leave the planet.  One such ship is renamed Eternal Crusader.  Lady Rhea is put in command with Vestara among her crew.

One day, they feel a surge in the Force.  Lady Rhea identifies it as the presence of a Jedi.  A Master of the light side of the Force.  Ship tells them the name is Skywalker.

Ben jolts his father out of his reverie.  Luke explains the device is called a Codex.  It’s not dark side technology, but it seemed to augment his powers to make him feel stronger.  It also seemed to test his ability to withstand temptation.  He also sensed a disturbance in the Force.  Something is wrong and it’s coming from the Maw.
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