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"Vortex": Book 6 in the Fate of the Jedi series


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chapter 26:
 
High above Saba, Hamner has the advantage, but he is not prepared to force a confrontation with several Masters.  They tell him he lost their confidence when he didn’t take him into theirs.  He reminds them that Master Skywalker put him in charge.
 
They point out that it was with the agreement of Daala who surely felt that Hamner would be easy for her to control.  They all know he’s been under stress.  The Council is intended to alleviate the burden of one Master doing it all on his own.
 
Hamner refuses to let them lead the whole Order into treason.  Saba tells them that she’ll deal with him.  He races off, trying to disable the mag-level generators to delay the launch.  This could severely throw their timetable off while Daala is distracted by  antics of the Errant Venture in orbit and the departure of the Pellaeon.  If they fail to launch, Luke and Ben will be left to fight Abeloth and the Sith alone.
 
Saba goes after him, trying to avoid harming him.  She throws herself down the catwalk, falling for a couple of his feints.  When she catches up with him, she can tell that he is willing to kill to prevent the launch.
 
He brings down his blade, she knocks him out with an elbow, but not for long.  He pushes at her chest, sending her down the catwalk.  He tries to go for a quick kill when the one-minute launch warning sounds.
 
She tries to keep him busy for that long.  He Force pushes her.  She uses her tail to sweep his ankles, knocking him down.  She spring up at the same time he does, driving each other back with their lightsabers. She attacks hard.  He head butts her, she kicks his groin so hard he’s lifted off his feet and then she smells burning flesh.  His lightsaber is pressed into her abdomen to the hilt.
 
He pulls it out, trying to sabotage the relay box.  She gives him a Force push strong enough to fly into a safety rail, his lightsaber cutting through it and sending him tumbling over.  She catches him before he hits the floor.  Through the Force, she assures him she will not let him drop and they are still friends.
 
He looks at her with sadness and forgiveness.  He sends his lightsaber through the Force to the relay box.  She tugs at it, but ultimately has to let go of him to stop the saber.  He goes smashing to the deck far below.   The lightsaber is in her hand and the launch starts.
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chapter 27:
 
Luke can feel the Balance tipping toward darkness as the ship comes in above the Fallanassi’s island.  Something has happened on Coruscant. It’s coming through the Force in waves of guilt and grief. 
 
He’s hid the Jade Shadow.  Ben is watching a holovid, covered in sores and looking unkempt.  Neither he nor Vestara are infected, but it’s easier to control Vestara by letting her think that they are.
 
Luke tells him to prepare to lift.  Ben warns him they cannot break quarantine.  Luke assures him they’ll be fine.  Vestara comes in and Luke notes the arrival of the Sith.  Doubtless, she is the reason they arrived here so quickly.
 
Luke goes to the cargo hold and secures a combat vest with two blaster rifles.  After making sure that they’ve not been sabotaged, he moves forward.  Whatever has happened on Coruscant is still rippling through the Force.  He wants to reach out to the Masters, but doesn’t want the Sith to feel it.
 
He races off the ship and crawls into a hiding place in an outcropping.  The shuttle lands, but there is no sign of the Sith descending.  He pulls out a thermal detonator and waits.  Two Sith appear, Taalon and Gavar Khai.
 
He aims his blaster rifle at Taalon, then notices the eyes are wrong.  They are dark, tiny and bright.  He hesitates, not knowing if this is an illusion.  Luke remembers that Taalon has been in the Pool of Knowledge.  That is why the Balance is shifting.
 
Taalon calls him through the Force, knowing Luke is lying in ambush.  Luke fires but Taalon knocks them away easily and quickly. He crooks his finger, bringing Luke sliding out.  Luke grabs his lightsaber and rights himself.  Taalon drops him to the ground.
 
For now, he assures Luke that he cannot win.  There is no need to kill him yet, though.  If Luke does what he asks, his son will leave Pydyr alive.  Luke tells them both Ben and Vestara are infected with the plague.  If Ben recovers, he might consider the offer.
 
Khai demands to know if Luke has been caring for both young people.
 
Taalon doesn’t have time for this.  He wants to see Abeloth now.  Luke understands now.  He activates his lightsaber and says he will have to disappoint them.  Several Sith come down to battle.  Taalon holds them off.
 
The High Lord tells Luke that he intends to kill Abeloth.  He’s seen what she can do and doesn’t want her loose in the galaxy.  Luke explains that there’s something happening to Taalon that only Abeloth can confirm.  Taalon admits there are things that trouble him.
 
His face withers into a bag with long mouth and two bright stars shining out of his eyes.  He wants help finding Abeloth.  After she tells him what’s happening to him, he will kill her.
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chapter 28:
 
As the Jade Shadow lifts up, Luke watches Taalon slumped in the co-pilot’s seat.  He’s still wearing his hazard suit like the rest of the warriors who are now in the back with Ben and Vestara. 
 
He tries to convince Taalon and Khai that they are already infected because the plague spreads through the Force.  He uses a healing meditation to keep the infection at bay himself.  Neither want to believe him, but he’s planted seeds of doubt so that’s enough.
 
Soon, however, the two Sith start to panic when they see several ship’s coming.  He suspects they are succumbing to a Fallanassi illusion so plays along with them.  In actuality, only Ship is out there.  The Sith do not want to admit that the fleet of spheres they see aren’t really theirs.
 
Taalon claims that ship rescued them from Abeloth’s planet and that he controls it.  Luke isn’t so sure about that.  Still, it’s rather entertaining for him to fly among what they believe is a squadron of Ships when there is really only one.  Ben and Vestara start to panic for the same reason.
 
Taalon wants to return to shore and prepare for reinforcements.  Luke lands the ship abruptly in an area that looks like Abeloth’s planet now.  At least to the Sith.  Outside, the Force is full of anguish and fear. Abeloth is feeding on it and turning it into power.
 
A group of elders come out, accusing Luke of betraying them.  Luke plays along when he realizes they have a plan for dealing with the Sith.  They pretend to be able to cure the plague, but Lord Taalon’s time in the Pool of Knowledge has given him insight.  He realizes the plague is just a trick.
 
He wants to see Abeloth.  Akanah appears and tells him he will see her soon enough.
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chapter 29:
 
This time, Han is impersonating an exterminator to get into the Detention Center.   Zekk, Taryn, Jaina and Leia, Natua Wan, Seff Hellin, Yaqeeel Saav’etu and Kunor Bannare all here.
 
They’ve disguised a heavily-armored transport as a supply van which comes along and dispatches R2 and Threepio. Inside the detention center, they walk down the corridor, passed angry prisoners who cheer when they shoot the holocams. 
 
Yaqeel reports they’ve got pursuers with concussion missles where she is.  Leia urges her to limit casualties.  The sound of explosions doesn’t help.  Taryn tells her that the speeders have taken out a bridge and a news sled.  Of course, they all know it doesn’t matter that the Jedi hadn’t done the actual killing.
 
Han thinks they should break off.  Turi takes the van elsewhere, to confuse the pursuers and then come back to pick them up.  Otherwise, there is a fake news van nearby with Doran Tainer and Bandy Geffer nearby to do the job.
 
Artoo downloads a schematic of the center and opens the bunker.  They confirm the Horns are nearby, but then the guards arrive.  After a quick fight, they get through the vault via Artoo extended catwalk bridges.  He also convinces the center’s computer that there is a prison riot going on. 
 
A GAS troopsled appears.  Heading into the vault, they find the carbonite pods are connected to power supplies and monitoring stations by cables.  They will have to get more transport.  Natua reminds him they are only here to get the Horns, not everyone frozen here.  Han thinks they should take them all.  Natua has no idea what it’s like to be frozen in carbonite.
 
There are thousands here, though. Just finding Valin and Jysella will take time they don’t really have.  They split up while Han has Artoo record all of this for the Council.  They end up using See-Threepio’s full-spectrum receiver to track the transmitters put on the slabs.
 
The van is running into trouble  Turi and Taryn are letting GAS track them to lead them away.  Han thinks they should all escape by foot into the undercity.  Doran and Bandy are waiting there.
 
Han and Leia stay behind to pull the slabs, only to be trapped by a durasteel panel of a hard alloy.  Leia reaches out in the Froce to Jaina while Han checks the schematic.  He points to a peak that sticks through the roof.  He has a thermal detonator so they can get up on the roof where GAS won’t expect to see them.
 
They head up the catwalk, Han throws the detonator and rushes out of the hole. When the smoke clears, he checks to see if Leia and the Horns are behind him.  They are nowhere in sight.  The destroyed catwalk is left. Han yells for Leia, panicking that he lost her in the blast.
 
It turns out she’s already out with both carbonite blocks.  The supply van is there waiting. 
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chapter 30:
 
Tahiri’s courtroom is nearly empty now.  Most of the reporters left when the Errant Venture started blasting orbital mirrors.  The rest when the StealthXs launched.  By the time the Venture jumped into hyperspace, most bystanders left.  Now Daala is threatening martial law so the only ones left inside are those involved with the trial.
 
Sardonne Sardon really wishes the media were here to see them tear apart the prosecution’s witness.  Bwua’tu is pacing in front of Pagorski, questioning her as to all compartments on the ship being under surveillance. 
 
She confirms this and, thus, the trap is laid.  Not under Sardon’s normally meticulous questioning which would be detected by the prosecution a mile away, but by the rambling Bwua’tu.  They make a good team.
 
After confirming that Pagorski hadn’t personally seen Tahiri aboard the Bloodfin, but had been told she was by a friend of hers on the security team that turned out to have been a lover,  the lieutenant reveals her friend had been killed in the mutiny after the admiral’s murder.
 
Of course, Bwua’tu already knew this and surprises Pagorski by revealing the name of the security officer.  Dekkon objects over this questioning of a witness’s personal life.  Bwua’tu explains he’s casting doubt on her credibility.  He believes she is lying about the claim that she heard Jacen Solo order Tahiri not to kill Admiral Pellaeon because she holds a grudge against Tahiri over the death of her lover.
 
He produces a box with a military-grade datachip inside, shows it to the jury who sees that it has the crest of the Imperial Navy stamped on it.  Sardon had secured this.  After listening to Tahiri’s version of events, she played on the Imperial obsession with the security to expose the lie. 
 
She had requested any documentation of Tahiri’s visit aboard the Bloodfin through formal channels and had been assured she would hear back within two months.  After Bwua’tu supplies the comm codes for Head of State Fel’s assistant, Ashik, the original datachips were sent within two weeks by special courier.
 
After having Pagorski identify the chip, he has her describe the properties:  it self-destructs when tampered with, can withstand damage from heat, cold, water and electromagnetic pulse and can be accessed only with a top-secret passcode known only by the user of each particular ship and their direct supervisor. 
 
This happens to be a chip from the Bloodfin.  Bwau’tu provides affidavits from Ashik and other high-ranking officers attesting to the nature of the chip, its history of possession and that it has not been altered.
 
Dekkon is unhappy, particularly since he’s been requesting this material for months.  The chip shows Caedus and Tahiri walking down a corridor.  Caedus starts to tell Tahiri what to do if Pellaeon interferes with his plan in any way when the audio and video becomes staticy. 
 
Bwau’tu explains that the surveillance equipment suffered a glitch at that moment, but Pagorski’s friend heard the entire conversation.  Fortunately, the defense has managed to have the conversation digitally reconstructed.  It isn’t true, but Pagorski doesn’t know that.
 
He reads off the statements in which Caedus makes it clear that he is asking Tahiri to get rid of Pellaeon as a necessary sacrifice.  Pagorski explains that whoever reconstructed the conversation made a mistake.  But even if they didn’t, it doesn’t change the conversation she herself overheard.
 
Bwua’tu remembers the conversation she claims to have heard in which Caedus specifically told Tahiri not to kill Pellaeon.  He would like to know what she did with that information.  He presses as to whether or not, having heard a conversation that discussed whether or not to kill her admiral, Pagorski went to Pellaeon, to ship security, to her superior officer or to anyone else with the news.
 
She admits she did all three.
 
Sardon is upset that Bwua’tu isn’t going after Dekkon, insinuating that he coached his witness.  Bwua’tu explains he doubts that Dekkon did.  Besides, it’s not necessary to smear the opposition.  It looks petty and will make this look like a grudge match to the jury.
 
They insist he at least try.  He heads up, asks a couple of simple factual questions of her and is then asked to approach the bench.  Sardon tells Tahiri that Eramuth is out of his league here.  He’s clearly trying to get himself excused from the case.
 
Tahiri isn’t sure that’s ie.  Sardon assures Tahiri that she’s been waiting for a big case like this her entire life.  With that, Tahiri decides to ask Judge Zudan to allow her to dismiss one of her defense councilors.  She surprises everyone by asking Sardon to leave.
 
Judge Zudan hopes she fired the right one.  After the viewing of a second datachip, they understand.  It shows Pagorski sitting at her station the entire time she claimed to have overheard the conversation between Caedus and Tahiri.  Nothing indicates that she is surprised or disturbed by anything, she does not get up or do anything to alert anyone that she believed the admiral might be in danger. 
 
Having heard enough, Dekkon announces that he would like to apologize to the court for presenting this witness.  Bwua’tu accepts.  Dekkon would also like Pagorski remanded over to custody for lying in a murder trial.
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chapter 31:
 
In a holoconversation with Chief Daala, Saba does not sit in the Grand Master’s chair.  She blames herself for not being able to win the fight without killing a worthy Master, a wise teacher and a good friend. 
 
Daala demands to speak with Hamner.  Saba tells her he’s unavailable and so is the rest of the Council.  Daala asks what they’re planning.  Saba maintains the Jedi have already executed their plans.  The question is now what Daala’s plans are.
 
Corran and Cilghal arrive.  They all agree that the situation has gone beyond threatening now.  As for the people Daala calls hostages, the sabacc tournament will be over in three days. 
 
Frustrated at her inability to speak with Hamner, she clicks off.  Though things are going well  now, they know that Daala will bite back.  But, the Errant Venture won’t be back for three days so that gives them some breathing room before she will be willing to try anything.
 
It might be a good idea to have Lando transmit live images of the tournament so the public can see that everyone is safe and having a good time.  None of them is going to leave anyway with so many credits at risk.
 
Saba starts to get up, but her pain overwhelms her.  She tells them the masters should assemble and elect a leader to guide them for the next few days.  She has killed another Jedi and must be judged.
 
Cilghal and Corran assure her that she is the best person to lead for now.  Cilghal is not a warrior and Corran is too filled with anger to not lead the whole Order to the Dark Side against Daala.  Saba has to see this through for everyone’s good.
 
She agrees, but only until Master Skywalker returns.  Then she will have to stand in judgment.
 
For now, they are going to have to remove Daala from office.
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chapter 32:
 
While Sith shuttles search in vain for the Fallanassi village they cannot see right under them, Taalon is growing weaker.  Luke fears that what appears to be Akanah is actually Abeloth.  This could be an illusion, a replication or a mind transfer.
 
Taalon doesn’t believe that Akanah doesn’t know why Abeloth came here. Akanah tells him that they don’t know who she is.  Frankly, she doesn’t care how he feels as he’s here uninvited.
 
Taalon gestures to Khai who holds a Fallanassi elder against his lightsaber.  She tells Akanah to say nothing, but Akanah doesn’t think it hurts to explain that Abeloth came here because she is a Fallannassi herself. 
 
Luke asks if this was always the case or did that happen more recently.  Akanah reminds him that it would tell him if she’s still here and she won’t answer that.  Taalon kills the elder. 
 
Akanah floats above and gives Khai a terrifying illusion.  Vestara has to use the Force to trip him, lest he embarrass them all by running out of the village entirely.  The rest of the Sith begin to suffer the same malady.  Only, Luke and Taalon, with the two teenagers, are spared.  The Sith cause a great deal of damage, even to themselves. 
 
Luke is able to see that the Sith are being plagued by green phantasms with distorted faces and tentacles lashing out.  They are terrified.  When one goes tumbling over a wall and falls to his death, Luke knows that no adept of the White Current would use her power to kill anyone like this.
 
The Fallanassi are under Abeloth’s influence.  Akanah tells Taalon she could end this or she could explain what’s happening to him.  Taalon follows her.  Luke is going to go after them, but wants Ben and Vestara on the ship.  Both of them explain they are safer with him than out here with the Sith.
 
They move into a gloomy hall full of smoke.  Abeloth and Taalon are at a pit.  Luke doesn’t reveal he knows that she has taken Akanah’s form.  He knows the Fallanassi don’t use the Current to kill.
 
She reminds him that he convinced Wialu to do that at the Battle of N’zoth.  Luke freezes, knowing only about a hundred people should know about that and Abeloth is not one of them.  He tells her he didn’t ask her to kill anyone this time.
 
Abeloth tells him it’s the Jedi’s fault because Jacen Solo changed the Current.  Now, the Throne of Balance will be claimed by a usurper.  Taalon asks if she refers to the Jedi queen.  Abeloth tells Luke that the Fallannassi must do whatever is necessary to restore the Current.
 
Taalon offers to give her whatever the Sith can offer if she tells him about this queen.  Luke claims it’s just another illusion.  He notes that it’s obvious Abeloth is trying to play them off each other.  Taalon knows that, but if she offers enough, it could be worth it.
 
Luke asks what Abeloth did with Akanah.  Taalon isn’t going to let Luke getting any closer to either of them and starts to cut him off.  Luke grabs him in the Force and tosses him toward the door.  Ben jumps into combat quickly against the weakened Taalon.
 
Luke attacks Abeloth when Vestara sends Force lightning out that pushes Ben and Taalon into opposite walls. Abeloth screams at Luke that she is Akanah.  Luke knows better now.  He presses his attack, sending Abeloth over the cleft in the floor, losing sight of her.
 
Ben is defending against Vestara’s attack, still groggy from hitting his head.  Luke sends her tumbling against Taalon who is limping across the floor.  Taalon leaps over Vestara, is grabbed by Luke with the Force, then feels something grab his ankles. 
 
He realizes Abeloth survived the fall and is pulled onto his back.  Abeloth is on top of him, her remaining limbs entwining his.  She squeezes his throat, snaps something in his leg and three ribs.  Luke jams his lightsaber hilt against her stomach and turns on the blade. It shoots out the other side, yet she still holds on.
 
He reaches through the Force to bring anything to help him.  A glob of molten heat hits her, causing a hundred voices to wailt from her mouth.  He pulls, trying to open space and they begin to rise.  She pulls in the opposite direction, dropping them to the floor.  Luke pulls himself into the Force, drawing on his love for his son, his dead wife and the Jedi Order.  The light side rushes in, bursting his cells and they start upward again.
 
Something in the ceiling cracks.  They drop to the floor, her tentacle still around his neck when a beam falls and hits her across the back.  She falls motionless on top of him. He tries to throw her off, in agony.  Akanah’s voice asks forgiveness.  She didn’t understand.
 
Her body raises up, baring fangs, when Luke drags his lightsaber across her body.  Her head drops.  Ben is still fighting with Taalon and Vestara.  It’s going badly.  Luke pushes the beam aside and nearly collapses due to his injuries.
 
He spins the beam into Taalon who slices it in half.  One flies past him, the other hits him in the shoulder blades.  He launches into a dive that Luke uses to push him into a wall. Luke calls on the Force to give him strength to go after him.
 
Ben is only trying to disarm Vestara.  Before Luke can yell at him to finish her off, Callista walks in.  Luke knows this is Abeloth, but so was the being in Akanah’s body.  He doesn’t know how he can kill her again.
 
Taalon prepares to kill Luke, but Abeloth wants what he offered her first.  She carries Luke to the edge of the pit and tosses him down.
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chapter 33:
 
When Luke awakens, he finds himself still her in grip.  Ben is caught in Force energy, writhing in pain.  Vestra looks frightened and sad.  Gavar Khai has been dragged in here, still moaning from his illusory nightmares.
 
Abeloth tells Taalon that he is weak because he’s not been feeding.  Taalon explains he cannot keep food down since he fell into the Pool.  His healers haven’t been able to find a solution.
 
She wonders why that is.  She will tell him if he makes Luke suffer.  Taalon uses the Force to draw the energy net tighter into Ben.  Ben gasps not to worry because he has a plan.
 
As Abeloth draws one of her tentacles into Taalon’s mouth, Luke realizes that Ben is reaching out to Vestara.  He can’t believe his son is relying on her after all the times she’s betrayed them. 
 
Luke reaches for the ceiling through the Force.  Abeloth squeezes tighter and he pulls harder.  The floor starts to vibrate when a lightsaber ignites.  Tiles and cross-supports collapse over him, Abeloth and everyone else.
 
He sees a red lightsaber cutting through Taalon several time.  Vestara flips up after making the kill.  Ben, free of the net with the death of Taalon, leaps to attack.  Luke is released.  Ben tries to pull Taalon’s lightsaber to him, but Abeloth grabs him.  Luke summons the weapon instead, inflicting a serious injury that bleeds Force energy. 
 
Luke finds his own saber is gone.  Ben’s was taken by Taalon.  This means that, between the two of them, they have Taalon’s.  The two flank the injured Abeloth when Luke hears another lightsaber ignite.
 
Preparing for another betrayal, Luke turns to see Vestara tossing her saber to him.  She yells at him to go and unleashes Force lightning from her hands at Abeloth.  The both attack at once, hitting a wall of energy  that dissipates quickly, revealing Abeloth stumbling from the hall.
 
Both of them have injuries.  Gavar Khai slowly regains consciousness, a possible sign that the Fallanassi are no longer under Abeloth’s control.  Luke thinks they should get to the Shadow quickly.  Vestara doesn’t think so.  They are in Sith custody now so they should hand over their weapons.
 
Luke reaches out to her father in the Force as he speaks, admonishing Ben for tricking the girl into killing Taalon only to be betrayed by her again.  Vestara yells that she wasn’t tricked.  Taalon was becoming a pet that would do the Sith no good.  Her father jumps up, yelling at her for killing the High Lord.
 
She yells that it’s just a dream and he should go back to sleep, then hits him with a Force blast.  Ben asks if she would rather stick around for the justice of the Sith, kill her own father or help them escape.
 
She gives them their lightsabers back.  And tells Ben he should have just knocked her over the head.  It’s also the last time she saves a Jedi.
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chapter 34:
 
The dazed Sith begin drifting back into the village as the three of them approach the Shadow.  Luke and Ben tell Vestara not to panic. They are coming back to their senses still and don’t know Taalon is dead.
 
Vestara tells him that the Sith will not allow any of them to board the ship without Taalon or her father.  They should hide and flee when the Sith are distracted by Taalon’s body. Luke tells her they don’t have that long.  Abeloth is fleeing the planet which is why the Fallanassi aren’t killing intruders anymore.
 
They have a good chance of tracking her if they leave now.  Vestara points out that none of them are in good shape and Abeloth keeps finding new bodies no matter how many times she’s killed.  Luke explains that keeping her weak protects the Shelter Jedi. 
 
They had assumed that the sanity returned because they’d killed her.  Obviously, she is still alive which leads them to question why the Shelter Jedi are still sane.  Keeping her weak and under attack seems to be the key.  If she regains her strength, she will reach out to the Jedi again.
 
Luke lost enough blood in the battle to use a Dathomiri blood trail on her.  If that doesn’t work, they’ll have to analyze hyperspace jumps. 
 
This will take time.  If Vestara wishes to stay with her tribe, she can.  Vestara knows that she will be a target for many years for killing someone so high above her station.  For now, she will survive longer if she stays with him.
 
If they’re going to go, they should go now.  Master Vhool demands to know what has happened to Taalon. Luke explains that Taalon and Khai are still in the hall.  After confirming that Vestara can pilot the Shadow, he orders the Jedi to remain outside under guard.
 
Vestara fires up the engines, drops the blaster cannon and Ben pretends she hit the wrong button.  Then the StealthXs arrive.  During the battle between them and the Sith ships above, Vhool races back to have them stop Vestara.
 
Ben gets a warning and pulls his father down.  Vestara uses the blaster cannons to fire on their guards as the two Jedi run up the ramp.  As the Shadow heads into the atmosphere, they spot the Errant Venture.
 
Lando comms them and tells them there’s a sabacc tournament going on.  Luke reveals that Abeloth is out there and they have to go after her now.  Lando tells him to stay in touch and they’ll catch up.
 
For now, the Horn kids have been retrieved and are on the way back to the Temple.  In other news, Kenth Hamner is dead.  He doesn’t want to go into it over the comm, though.  Finally, Wynn Dorvan is at the final table of the tournament and is set to win.
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chapter 35:
 
Leia finds Saba at the apex of the Temple.  She knows about Kenth Hamner.  She also knows that it wasn’t Saba’s fault.  Saba reminds her that it was her who allowed him to fall. Leia points out that Hamner didn’t give her a choice. 
 
If she hadn’t, Luke and Ben would be prisoners of the Sith and no one would be tracking Abeloth.  Saba thinks Kenth should have a funeral.  She doesn’t know how to arrange those, though.  Leia offers to help.
 
They both know Daala will respond to this.  They just don’t know how.  Leia wonders if Saba has considered evacuating the Temple.  Saba assures her that they will be quicker when Daala does respond.
 
She also wants Leia to get Jaina to see if she can persuade Head of State Fel to stay in orbit a while longer. 
 
Leia promises to ask and walks to Han.  She admits Saba isn’t handling the death of Hamner well.  It could be a Barabel thing.  Tesar and the others could be helping her, but they’re nowhere in sight and Saba will not broker questions about them.  They could be keeping an eye on Daala.
 
Speaking of which, they should be watching for Allana.  Han assures her that Allana is exploring with Barv.
 
Allana kicks a hatch and almost trips over Anji.  Another hatch has been welded closed.  She asks Barv to cut it open with his lightsaber.  When they get inside, a terrible odor reaches them.  They look inside and find a nest.
 
Tesar, Wilyem, Dordi and Zal are here.  They angrily ignite their lightsabers.  Allana asks if she’s done a good thing.  They tell her she has to stay down here for the next two months until their eggs hatch. 
 
Barv will not stand for this and tosses a Barabel out of the hatch.  Allana yells that they can work this out.  She knows they’re afraid someone will find out their secret so she offers to trade a secret to them. 
 
If they tell the secret, she’s in terrible danger.  That’s how they know she will never tell theirs.  They agree.  She explains how she’s not a war orphan named Amelia, but the daughter of Queen Mother Tenel Ka and Jacen Solo. 
 
A few minutes later, she, Barv and Anji are riding a lift up to the infirmary.  There, she greets her grandparents and stand with them, Barv and Yaqeel as Master Cilghal and Tekli release Valin and Jysella from carbonite.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

  •  Saba not taking the death of a decades-long member of the Jedi Order and the designated leader in Luke’s absence very well is a Barabel thing?  Really?  

 
End of Book 6

 

 

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