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"Abyss": Book 3 in the Fate of the Jedi series


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chapter 26:
 
Four red lightsaber tips cut through the hatch while Luke is cutting an escape hole through the viewport.  The problem is that Luke is cutting much more slowly than the intruders.
 
Ben has no idea who they are, but they had to have heard Rhondi pounding on the hatch and still pushed a saber through it at the height of her head.  That isn’t really something the Mind Walkers would do.  Luke decides they need to take one alive.  The intruders are part of this somehow and they need to find out who they are and who sent them.
 
Ben muffles his presence in the Force and hides, while the intruders burst through the hatch setting off the door charge. They apparently learned their lesson when they tripped the one inside Rolund’s cell.  No screams this time.  The sound of running feet come passed his hiding place, but he sees one pair of boots staying behind.  He gets his father’s signal and emerges from the hiding place.  Eight of them are heading toward the hole Luke had cut.  One stays behind to try to ambush Luke, but Ben leaps across the room, ready to take her down with his lightsaber.  She spins away and kicks at him while calling her parang back to her hand.  Ben uses the Force to nudge the hand closer and the blade severs her hand off.
 
Luke tells Ben to go out and cover him.  Ben tosses the gas canister he’s been holding, the blaster fire keeps going until the enemy realizes that the gas will ignite soon.  The shots stop coming, but Luke is only able to take three of them down before the others get away.
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chapter 27:
 
Vestara is to hide at the junction chamber that connects the stations’s sphere to the cylindrical wing.  She is supposed to arm the grenades and toss them into the chamber if the Skywalkers come into this area.  With luck, there will be enough to present to Lord Vol when they return to Kesh.
 
She also has another assignment.  Lady Rhea has broken the hold Abeloth had on the crew in the same way Vestara did.  They are going to kill the Skywalkers and not capture them which had been their originally-intended purpose. 
 
Even Xal endorses this plan, which makes everyone suspicious, particularly since, when Ship took them to Crusader, the vessel would only let Xal and Ahri board her for supplies.
 
Vestara and one of her companions has been tasked with watching Xal and Ahri.  If the team tries to deviate from their station, try to contact Ship or even look like they are going to disobey Lady Rhea, they are to be killed. 
 
Ahri contacts her and tells her he doesn’t understand why Abeloth wants the Skywalkers alive.  Vestara doesn’t know, but clearly she was willing to lose all of the Sith just to get two Jedi.  She hopes it doesn’t mean Abeloth thinks the Jedi are stronger.
 
The Skywalkers come racing down the corridor in their vac suits.  Not very tactically sound.  Ves and her companion toss their special grenades out only to have them fly right back into their hiding place.  Then Ahri tosses his grenades up.  Ves is saddened.  Lady Rhea had expected that Xal would try to kill Ves’s team with his grenades and had given him and Ahri useless ones. 
 
It was expected that Ahri would betray her since they are on opposite sides, but Vestara doesn’t understand the stupidity.  Anyone can see that Abeloth just isn’t going to take Xal back to Kesh in Ship with the Skywalkers in tow.  Ahri should have tried to cut a deal with Rhea.

She tosses her glass dagger into Xal’s chest and cuts Ahri down the spine with her lightsaber when he is distracted from grabbing one of the Skywalkers.  A hand with a black glove reaches out and grabs her wrist while her grenades are pulled from her.  She finds herself facing Luke Skywalker.
 
Vestara uses the Force to bring her parang up and cut Luke’s face.  He then punches her out through her faceplate.
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chapter 28:
 
Ben pulls the girl along while Luke concentrates on driving energy back into himself.  They pass the door to the detention center and feel a sense of danger.  Someone pushes through the membranous hatch.
 
Luke fires blaster shots at the incoming intruders.  Ben tries to help him, but the girl uses the Force to push a cart into them.  Ben wants to dump her since she’s nothing but trouble.  Luke doesn’t want to let her go since the newcomers seem intent on killing each other as they do him.  However, she can serve his purpose by rejoining her friends.
 
Ben tells his father that he thinks the newcomers are Sith.  He can sense Ship here.  Luke wants him to prep Jade Shadow quickly.  Luke cannot disagree with him when the intruders come forward.  He kills two of them and faces the two women, one of which was his former prisoner.
 
The girl and the older woman use their lightsabers, a glass dagger to gouge the armor of his combat vac suit.  Then something causes another larger gash that actually wounds him and causes blood to float up.
 
His suit losing pressure, he realizes he will have to end this.  The Sith use the Force like a third limb.  He blocks a parang and then engages their lightsabers
 
The exit panel has opened, Ben comms him that the Jade Shadow is opening fire on Ship.  Blue strobing light fills in and the Sith turn toward the light to see what’s going on.  They realize their mistake too late.  Luke takes the advantage to kill the older woman. 
 
The girl salutes him with her own saber and jumps away.  Luke turns to the hangar exit and tells Ben to hurry up.
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Epilogue:
 
Jaina sits with Jag  watching Perre Needmo reporting on the flight of the Millennium Falcon with no one in the GA taking responsibility for the clear detonation seen by thousands of civilian operators.
 
Jaina assures Jag that her parents got away with no casualties on their side.  Jag’s valet droid comes in, telling him that the staff has learned that Javis Tyrr Presents will feature a segment on him and Jaina.
 
The scene starts to show Jag and Jaina inside the crumpled limo.  Realizing that Tyrr was downloading data the whole time the spy droid was inside, Jag has the video turned off.  Jaina apologizes for the whole situation, but Jag assures her that she was not the one who was spying on him.   He won’t let anything come between them.
 
In the Shadow’s Medbay, Luke looks more dead than alive, but his wounds will heal.  Ben’s more concerned about the weeks his father spent beyond the shadow and what that has done to his outlook.
 
Ben’s time there still weighs on him.  Though he is glad to have spoken with Anakin and his mother, he is saddened to see how accepting Jacen was of his actions, as if they were part of a greater goal that was absolutely necessary.
 
Still, Jacen had scared them back into their senses before they stayed too long.  Luke knows Ben needs guidance right now.  He offers to explain why they’re still sitting out here with no food or medicine.  Ben knows the answer already:  Luke put a blood trail on the girl.  They are going to follow her when she leaves the station.
 
What Ben would really like to know what Jacen saw when he looked on the Throne of Balance.  Luke confirms that he himself saw Allana.  What Jacen saw is a mystery.  Luke isn’t sure that Jacen was truthful when he said it wasn’t Luke.  He knows part of the mystery, though.  But Luke is profoundly grateful that the answer doesn’t have anything to do with Ben and never will.
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          •    The blood trail was something that we learned about in LotF when Jaina was tracked through Jacen’s blood spatter. 
 
End of Book 3

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