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"Apocalypse": Book 9 in the Fate of the Jedi series


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chapter 26:
 
Jag has to admire his opponents arranging for the story of the Imperial frigate attack on the mining moon to be held a few minutes before the Election Day debate.
 
The screen shows a campaign poster for Daala that looks so good Jag almost wants to vote for her.  The news report reveals that the moon was being used as Daala’s campaign headquarters and the bombardment was ordered by Head of State Fel on the advice of an unidentified agent.  The reporter questions why this happened and why the third candidate, Vitor Reige, was the one who sent the frigate there.
 
The Election Day commentators believe the election will hinge on how Fel responds in the debate which is, of course, required viewing for the electorate.  Tahiri wonders why he didn’t use his power to kill the story. 
 
Jag tells her he’s trying to teach the Empire to live a different way.  Imperial citizens are intelligent enough to know the truth when they hear it.  The election committee is being overseen by Commodore Selma Djor who wants to prevent hostilities from resuming by having the losers and the Moff Council swear a loyalty oath to the winner on live cam.  Those who refuse will be arrested and charged with treason.
 
Jag knows this is somewhat tyrannical, but Djor thinks it’s the best way to end Daala’s rebellion. 
 
He meets an uncomfortable Vitor Reige on the stage and tells him not to alter the battle plan.  When the cams roll, Jag is given the first statement.  He tells the electorate how he’d never expected to survive the last four years much less grow to love the job so much.
 
However, he’s not done as well in making government open and honest.  He has signed an endowment for the Imperial News Network to llow it to operate for centuries, granting it independent from any form of censorship.
 
To that end, he wants them to know that most of the report of what happened at Hagamoor III is true.  He did order the Consolidator to open fire on the moon.  He does clarify that Admiral Reige did not know about this and that the facility wasn’t just Daala’s campaign headquarters but was developing a youth serum made from drochs.
 
When Daala calls him on it, Jag has Moff Getelles confirm it.  He explains how Fel discovered the experiments weeks ago and ordered him to shut the project down in exchange for leniency.  Getelles hadn’t done it because he wanted the serum for himself and for the profit.  He struck a deal with Daala’s reps that called for him to help her win the election and, in return, she would allow him to develop and sell the serum when she took office.
 
Daala accuses him of trying to deflect attention from his own crimes to that of his victim, her.  She tells him that he has everything to gain by it.  Jag reveals that he removed himself from the ballots that the citizens will be using today.
 
He is endorsing Admiral Reige.  The admiral is stunned enough to tell Jag he can’t be serious.  Jag is thrilled, however.  He’d never wanted this job and only took it to help the hostilities end after the Second Galactic Civil War.
 
On the way off the stage, he shakes hands with Reige and tells him he will be a great Head of State.
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      •    Jag says he’s been Head of State for 4 years.  It’s actually been between 2-3 years.
 

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chapter 27:
 
When Ben wakes up, he finds himself on Ship, wearing stuncuffs.  Ship warns him not to make him use gas again.  Abeloth is in Pinnacle Platform with a small band of Sith.  She is using her powers to hold off blastboats attempting to retake the Temple.
 
Ben has tried to think about escaping, but every time he does, Ship knocks him out with gas.  The few Sith around look haggard and worn.  Ben is angered to see Vestara among them, wearing combat armor, with no shackles.
 
Though Ben finds it hard to believe she’s been a spy the whole time, he does know that she would never serve Abeloth willingly.  She either cannot see her for what she is or is playing along because she has no choice.
 
They take her to Ship where she is surprised to see Ben.  She is to guard him as he keeps thinking about escaping.  Abeloth suggests she tell him what happened in the tunnel.  Vestara tells him she ambushed the Falcon which resulted in the death of Bazel Warv.
 
The Solos escaped into the tunnels.  She sounds cold, but Ben sees the anguish in her eyes.  He plays along, accusing her of manipulating him.  Ben brings the anger at previous betrayals to mind so that Ship will feel it.
 
A groundquake starts.  Abeloth is standing on the Pinnacle Platform, her tentacles reaching down to the crowd.  Vestara explains that the people of Coruscant have been disappointing.    The quakes are just the beginning; it’s the volcano that will be the real punishment.
 
Ben knows that magma will kill millions here on Coruscant with Abeloth feeding off the fear and pain.  Vestara tells him Alliance troops are in here but the Sith will hunt them down.
 
When he insults Abeloth, Ves threatens his hand, but cuts his binds instead.  Ben tells her to go quickly and he’ll take care of Ship.  Ben grabs her blaster and she heads for the exit.  Her lightsaber stops fizzling and she cries out behind him.
 
Ben is too busy working to fast to keep from being knocked out by the gas again.  He shoots a hole in the floor, but the weapon is pulled from his hand.  Vestara comes flying back inside.  A Keshiri Lord enters and calls Ben a fool.  If Vestara will betray them, she’ll betray him, too.
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chapter 28:
 
Jaina only knows that she has cannot help her cousin in the battle between him and the Khai girl.  The Balance itself hangs on the combat.  That’s when she wakes up from a bactabath.
 
She finds herself in the infirmary of the Galactic Justice Center.  Gavin Darklighter has commandeered it for a field hospital.  Space marines are everywhere.
 
Though she is pulled out early, a Duros medic wants to make sure she’s stable.   Jaina has a meeting in Senator Wuul’s office in the Senate Building.  She’s told that Corran has already been in the tank and Luke pulled himself out early.  The burn on his chest is healing very slowly.
 
The room shake, but the Duros can’t tell her what it is.  Jaina’s comlink has several unanswered messages from Tahiri.  Jaina comms her and gets Jag’s voice instead.  His message indicates they are headed into the system.
 
On her way to the Senate Building, she gets back to Jag, telling him she just got out of bacta.  Tahiri gets on the line and lets her know that she and Boba Fett killed Abeloth.
 
Jaina tells her that it was Abeloth who almost killed them while they were in the Temple.  Remembering that Luke killed her twice on Pyrdyr, they realize they have been assuming she only moves from a dying body to a living one.  Obviously, she can be in more than one place at one time.
 
Tahiri quickly explains the events leading to the battle at Hagamoor III in which Abeloth tried to take over her body. Apparently, Force users last longer.  The body she was using was destroyed by a detonator and an Imperial frigate destroyed the entire lab.
 
When Jaina finds out the time that the body died, she knows it correlates with their battle with Abeloth right before reaching the generators four days ago.  She’s getting an idea how to handle this being.
 
Jag returns to the line and tells her he withdrew from the election and Vitor Reige has won.  Once Reige realizes how mind-numbing it is, he will probably try to drag him back.  For now, though he loves Jaina and they’re going to be together soon.
 
Jaina loves him, too, even if he cannot keep a job.
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chapter 29:
 
Senator Wuul’s office has a view of the Galactic Justice Center swaying.  Most of the Jedi Council is here with Luke.  She spies Lowie and Tekli, wants to ask them where Raynar is, and then Valin and Jysella.  Ben is nowhere in sight.
 
Mirax Horn is telling them how about 300 Sith escaped the Temple and some are attacking civilian targets.  The BAMR is blaming the violence on Jedi spice smugglers.  For the most part, the citizens of Coruscant are trying to stay out of the way.
 
They’ve lost 15 Jedi to take out 22 Sith.  The Security forces have heavy casualties.  The remaining Sith have launched thousands of attacks that have brought down some skytowers.  Luke doesn’t like the look of the Galactic Justice Center and recommends they evacuate it.
 
Mirax also mentions they’ve seen reports of a mysterious tattooed observer that only watches.  Yaqeel noticed a dark aura about him and tried to take him into custody.  The man disarmed her and told her it was Abeloth first.
 
Luke remembers he saw this man at the spaceport when they first arrived.
 
Admiral Darklighter reports they control everything above level 370 at the Temple and below the Pinnacle.  They have not captured the computer core yet.  Dorvan does not look well and his voice is high-pitched as he reminds them that she is living in the computer core.
 
Darklighter assures him they’ve heard him, but Abeloth has been spotted at the Pinnacle.  Jaina is pretty sure that she’s in both places.  She explains how Tahiri was fighting her on the moon while they were fighting her in the Temple. 
 
If they kill one body, the other is weakened.  Luke knows this is what happened with Dyon Stadd.  When a body is killed, she flees in the other body to recuperate.  It’s happened every time.
 
She will have to leave Coruscant soon.  The problem is that she now has three bodies.  One died at Hagamoor III, one escaped the Temple ducts and is on the Pinnacle Platform and the third is in the computer core. 
 
Dorvan explains how he saw Abeloth take Pagorski’s body.  Rokara Kem’s body wasn’t holding up well.  Abeloth told Pagroski that she was just going to erase memories.  They locked gazes, the air started to shimmer and Pagorski looked terrified.  Abeloth’s fingers grew and her arms turned into tentacles.  He describes Abeloth’s real features precisely.
 
The tentacles went down Pagroski’s throat and other orifices.  Her face turned pale and then she got stronger.  He knew Pagorski was still inside, but Abeloth was there, too, feeding on the fear.
 
He felt that Abeloth wanted him to kill her.  He used a hold-out blaster he stole and shot her in the head a couple of times.  He went flying into the wall.  It wasn’t until later that he found she was in the computer core.  This must have been a trap for Ben because he was the one they took.
 
Valin and Jysella confirm that Abeloth left them alone once she had Ben.  Jaina couples Dorvan’s description of Kem’s deteriorating body with Tahiri’s description of Pagorski’s.  She mentions that Tahiri felt that she survived because Abeloth wanted to take her body.  A Force-user would last longer. 
 
She may have chosen Ben because of his bloodline.  Luke thinks it’s more to do with Shelter.  Kyp doesn’t think so. Ben is the child of two powerful Force users
 
Tekli goes over what they learned from the Killiks.  See-Threepio recorded everything they saw.  She explains that Thuruht went over the panels depicting Abeloth’s history with her, Raynar and Lowbacca.
 
The history involves a family of Force entities the Killiks call the Ones.  They consist of a Father, Son and Daughter.  The Daughter seems to be an embodiment of the nature of the Light Side; the Son is the Dark Side.  The Father is the Keeper of the Balance.  
 
Luke sees at once that a Mother is missing.  Tekli clarifies that Abeloth was the servant who became the Mother.  At first, she brought harmony to the family, but she aged over time when the others didn’t.  She became disruptive, possibly resenting her own mortality.
 
The reliefs showing her drinking from the Font of Power and swimming in the Pool of Knowledge indicate her attempts to change that.  She paid a terrible price for it.  The Killiks call her the Bringer of Chaos, associating her with strife and violence.  They believe she is part of a cycle of change. When war grows too powerful, Abeloth comes to remove the old order and replace it with a new one.
 
Abeloth was imprisoned but escaped many times.  The Son and the Daughter agreed on the need to stop her.  Thuruht believes that they will emerge from hiding soon.  The hive is building up its numbers to be able to serve when the time comes.
 
It seems the Son and Daughter are more interested in the galaxy than the Father.  Luke thinks that’s in the past.  The Hive will be waiting a long time for them to come.  He tells them how, while on Dagobah, Yoda told him about a mission that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker took during the Clone Wars.
 
They were drawn to a place called the Mortis monolith and transported to a world that looks like some of places depicted in the pictorial reliefs.  Luke had thought Yoda was just making up a story about destiny to teach him a lesson, but he’s not so sure now.
 
The Father was dying and the Son wanted to take his place.  The Father wanted Anakin to take the role of the Balance Keeper, but Anakin refused.  The three of them fought, all of them died and their world with them.
 
They discuss how this could be a parable or another example of muddled Killik history, but Saba thinks that this explains why war has been coming so often.  The Force has no balance.
 
Jaina thinks that Abeloth wants to recreate the Family on her own terms.  She wants to rebuild what she’s lost.  She will take the Father’s place, though she might have wanted Luke to take it.  They may be why she tried to keep him and Ben from leaving Sinkhole.
 
When he kept killing her bodies, she decided to make the family on her own.  Ben may represent the Light Side, with Vestara the Dark Side.  Abeloth started off a mortal but drank from the Font of Power and swam in the Pool of Knowledge.  If Ben and Vestara do the same, they’ll be like her.  A family of Chaos.
 
Bwua’tu thinks it’s a good idea to strike the Temple with Baradium missles.  Darklighter won’t consider it while he has space marines inside. Bwua’tu reminds him that withdrawing them will tip their hand to Abeloth.
 
Luke objects because the Solos are inside the Temple, too.  They have Allana with them.  Jaina knows he will not sacrifice a child anyway, much less the one he saw sitting on the Throne of Balance.  Dorvan thinks that Abeloth would see it coming and leave first.  She can look into the future.
 
They turn at a boom to see the Galactic Justice Center collapse.  Jaina feels a familiar presence outside.  Ship appears. Jaina turns to Luke who is already running out the door.  Ship has Ben and is leaving for the Maw.
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     •     The story Luke tells appeared as an episode of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.
     •    Of course, we never heard Yoda tell him that story, but, if Luke dismissed it as a teaching tool, I guess that explains why he never mentioned it.
 

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chapter 30:
 

Tahiri and Jag ferry Saba and Sgt. Major Gef Olazon through a turbolaser strike against their ship.  Jag wants assurances he will live to see Jaina.
 
Saba gives him no promises.  Olazon tells him that Jaina took off about an hour ago with Master Skywalker but left a message for him.  Saba tells him that Abeloth took Ben and Vestara.  Jaina is with Luke trying to stop her.
 
He wasn’t told this when he and Tahiri were recruited to land at the Temple to get the Solos and their little daughter.  Jag has spent enough time with the family to have been able to secretly guess the real identity of the child but hasn’t said anything.
 
They land the Parting Gift at the utility hatch.  Jag tells Tahiri to go be a Jedi.  Then he flies the ship to the Temple wall and hovers. He spots Hapan Commandos, Barabels, Jedi, Han, Leia and Allana.
 
He eases the boarding ramp down only to find his ship mobbed by about twenty small lizards.  Allana tells them Jag is a friend.  Tesar joins her there.  Han appears, surprised to see Jag, and tells him to take off.  Tahiri and Saba have joined the fight against the Sith.
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chapter 31:
 
Saba pursues the Sith on a fine hunt.  Tahiri has her lightsaber.  The remaining Hapans are left alone by the Barabel hatchlings who’ve been working on the Sith.  Olazon’s demolition team has set up trip wires and other booby traps.
 
They also have to disable the surveillance systems because Abeloth controls the computer. 
 
Having had nothing to drink for days, Ben is really tempted by the waters of the Font of Power.  Abeloth is urging them to claim their destiny.  Ben will become the Prince of Light; Vestara the Daughter of the Night.  They will become the Ones, living forever and remaking the galaxy.
 
Of course, Ben and Ves had told her they’d rather die first.  So they are now standing back-to back in the fog around the Font of Power, dehydrating. 
 
Ben urges Vestara to resist.  She isn’t sure they should.  It’s better than dying.  He reminds her what happened when Taalon fell into the Pool of Knowledge.  Abeloth tells Vestara that she’s letting Ben hold her back from the power she craves.
 
Vestara won’t budge but points out to Ben that their options are limited.  Abeloth grabs her, Ben attacks to find Abeloth gone.  He realizes that the Force is corrupted here.  No matter what they use, it will be of darkness.
 
They cannot use the Force at all.  Vestara thinks they’ll have to until his father arrives.  He thinks they should make a run for it.  At least one of them will make it.  Once they are beyond the fountain’s edge, they can use the Force again.
 
Vestara thinks they were brought here together for a reason.  If they both drink, they will be stronger than Abeloth.
 
It’s been three days since Luke and Jaina were dropped at the Maw.  They’ve heard nothing from the Temple since getting a message from Corran telling him that the Solos have been rescued, Barv has been killed in an ambush led by Vestara and that the Falcon is crippled.
 
It’s a short message, but enough to make him upset.  He had trusted Vestara and it had cost Bazel Warv’s life. Flying a small infiltrator called Rude Awakening, they approach the area where Sinkhole Station used to be.
 
Jaina tells him he should concentrate because she has a feeling they are going to get jumped by Ship.  Luke wonders if they’re doing the right thing by going after Ben and Vestara.  To retrieve them, they will have to kill Abeloth.
 
Luke agrees, but he also reveals that he found a report in the Archives by Obi-Wan confirming Yoda’s story.  After Anakin refused the offer, the Son killed the Daughter and the Father tricked the Son by sacrificing himself with the same Force-imbued dagger.  Anakin killed the Son.
 
Jaina understands that, since his father’s refusal caused the deaths of the Ones, he is wondering if Ben is supposed to become the new Keeper of the Balance.  Luke actually thinks Ben may be destined to become the embodiment of the Light Side.  Since he and Vestara have grown closer, it would seem the Will of the Force is to have her become the embodiment of the Dark Side. 
 
Even the Masters think so.
 
All of them had the same dream Jaina had, of Ben and Vestara fighting in the courtyard of the Font of Power.
 
Jaina reminds him that trying to interpret the Will of the Force is too similar to what Jacen tried to do.  She knows he wants to rescue Ben and fears that his emotions are clouding his judgment.  He thinks the Force is in play with Ben, but it’s in play for Luke, too.  He should do what he knows is right. 
 
Mortals can’t always know the results but can act according to their true natures.  The Jedi and the Sith take the place of the Son and the Daughter.  They both keep the Balance until the next time Abeloth is freed.
 
Ship is near.  Luke tells her to try to get past him.  Luke is going to strap into a medbay bunk. He doesn’t know how long it’s going to take, but he will have to make sure he’s lying down when he leaves his body.
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chapter 32:
 

The Rude Awakening and Ship fire on each other as Luke rises out of his body.  He travels to the Lake of Apparitions where Abeloth is nowhere to be found.  She’s off trying to create her diving family.
 
Luke steps into the water and wades forward, seeing the faces of old friends, such as Ganner, Tresina and Numa Rar.  He’d lost many friends over the years but wants to see only one person now.
 
Mara tells him they have to stop meeting like this.  He needs her help drawing Abeloth out.  Mara reminds him that he can’t kill her because she’s one of the Old Ones.  Luke tells her that Abeloth has Ben.
 
Jacen Solo asked how he let that happen.  Luke answers that they were trying to stop the problem that he caused.  Thuruht told him that Abeloth was freed when Jacen tried to change the future.
 
Mara explains that Jacen is right.  Neither of them can help him.  A voice behind Luke says that he can.  Luke turns to see a dark-shrouded figure with glowing eyes.  He recognizes the figure from his dreams that he thought was Jacen.
 
The man’s face is weathered and chiseled, with tattoos.  Jacen warns him that it’s the dark man he saw on the Throne of Balance.  The man tells Luke that the Jedi and Sith together will have to stop Abeloth.
 
That is why he is here.  Emerging from the Mists of Forgetfulness is Abeloth.  She launches her attack quickly.  Luke is blown back.
 
Saba feels a blast of anguish in the Force.  She has five survivors, including Tahiri, with her.  Olazon is leading his Void Jumpers.  His demolition man sets the charge and Saba leads the group forward.
 
Ben insists that they are not drinking.  Vestara thinks they were meant to change.  They could be the Protectors which is why the Force brought them together.  They can stop her.  Ben doesn’t think they can do that by drinking from the Fountain. 
 
Ves thinks he’s a fool.  Abeloth grabs him, entwining her tentacles around him.  Force lightning pulls her back.  Vestara pours it into her.  Ben can’t see any evidence she has drunk from the font, but she has something reflected on her face.
 
Ben wraps his arm around her legs, throws her over his shoulders and runs away from the Font.
 
Abeloth waits for the counterattack, but it never comes.  Luke and the tattooed stranger had fought for a long time.  Luke found, though, that he grew weaker as the stranger grew stronger.
 
He believed that the stranger was draining his energy.  He finally realizes that the man is suffering just as much as he is.  Luke grabs onto her and holds her, telling the stranger to keep pulling.
 
Saba and her team keep going after shadow-ghouls in the tunnels.
 
In her avatar of the Keshiri, Abeloth tells them to drink together or die together.  Ben opens himself to the Force, shielding him from the Font of Power’s darkness. 
 
He becomes the Force and hits the Keshiri with a blast powerful enough to knock a frigate out of orbit.  Abeloth only pauses before moving forward.  Ben staggers back.  Vestara asks if that was the power of the Light side.  He tells her she didn’t do any better.  They need to work together.
 
When Abeloth knocks him into a pillar, Vestara races toward the Font of Power.
 
The stranger has buried his hand in Abeloth’s chest as Luke holds on.  She disappears and then reappears in the Mists of Forgetfulness.  Luke yells to stop her. 
 
She appears in front of the man and drives her tentacles into him. Luke attacks to get a tentacle inside him.  She pulls both out, dragging their Force essences with them. 
 
Jaina has heard many death screams and that’s exactly what she hears from the medbay.  She is too busy fighting Ship to check on her uncle.
 
She launches two missles and then accelerates after them.
 
Saba knows Master Skywalker has to have robbed Abeloth of a lot of strength, but he has to have been weakened, too.  Their fight with the shadow-ghouls has gotten easier.  Something neither Tahiri nor Saba likes.
 
They toss a pulse bomb toward Abeloth and Saba attacks. Tentacles wrap around her face, pushing into her facial openings.  Saba seals the membranes that protect her eyes and nostrils, her lightsaber cutting off tentacles.
 
With the loss of both arms, Abeloth still comes after her.  Saba jams her fists into Abeloth’s mouth, knocking a hole in her fangs.  Then Saba sinks her fangs into Abeloth’s body before crushing her vertebrae and pulling her head off.
 
When Ben wakes up, he hears Vestara calling him.  She begs him to help.  He sees her fighting with Abeloth in a large blue ball.  He uses the Force to pull Ves’s shikkar and drive the tip up through the center of Abeloth’s back.
 
He snaps off the handle, Vestara hits her with Force lightning and Ben drags her living body into the light of the blue sun.  Abeloth stops struggling.  Vestara is about to fry the body with Force lightning, but Ben tells her they’re done.
 
In space, Ship turns and runs.
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chapter 33:
 

Something will not let Luke sink into the Lake of Apparitions, much as he wants to.  He sees Abeloth’s figure vanish.  He lays there for a minute or a year.  It’s time to let another Jedi carry on the torch.
 
Mara tells him it’s not time yet.  Luke tells her that Abeloth took a lot out of him.  She points to the tattooed Sith and tells Luke that she took a lot out of him, too, but he’s still carrying on.
 
Jacen reminds her that their injuries are different and, besides, Sith are stronger.  Luke asks Jacen who he is.  Jacen tells him that he’s already told him it was the dark man who sat on the Throne of Balance.  And Luke is letting him win.
 
Luke knows he can’t win.  The damage Jacen caused to the Force will prevent the Sith from ever ruling the galaxy now.  The stranger tells him not to be too sure of himself.
 
Luke knows enough to know that Jacen’s changing the future caused the man to come back to help him fight Abeloth.  The man asks if he can be sure the change will last.  Maybe Darth Caedus only delayed the future.
 
Jacen wants to know what Abeloth has to do with this.  She wasn’t in his vision.  Luke ponders whether or not to tell him, so Jacen accuses him of lying.  Luke asks why Jacen never came to him about any of the visions.
 
He had thought he might be the one on the dark throne and Jacen was trying to replace him.  If it was the Sith, that’s even worse because it meant that Jacen didn’t have to confront this alone. 
 
Jacen tells him that it wasn’t the dark man, but who he saw standing with him. It was Allana.
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chapter 34:
 
Jaina comes down the ramp of the Rude Awakening as Vestara drags Ben toward the ship.  Jaina wants Ben aboard only right now.  Ben assures her that any darkness is just a residual of Vestara being too close to the Font when she used the Force.
 
Jaina explains this is more about his father who has been injured.  When they are aboard, she tells him to go back to the medbay, assuring him she would never leave Vestara Khai on this planet.
 
He is still groggy from his injuries as he goes aft.  Suddenly, his vision narrows and he sees stars and nebulae spiraling.  There are two eyes peeking out.  Then he sees Allana sitting cross-legged in front of a white throne with her pet nexu while Jedi fight a battle at the foot.
 
Ben does not see his father. 
 
The meddroid tells him Luke has an unexplained coma, infection and chest trauma.  He has lost a rib and a lobe of the right lung.  Ben tries to talk to his father about how he saved him and Vestara.  Luke’s hand grabs onto his tightly.
 
Jaina comes back and they determine it’s Vestara’s name that is causing it.  Ben doesn’t want to hear that she can’t be trusted.  The Sith turned her and him over to Abeloth.  Jaina can’t explain why that was but she does need him to know some things about the ambush.
 
Abeloth was probably flow-walking in order to see the future.  It was she who told the Sith where they would be.
 
Luke continues to react at Vestara’s name as Jaina goes on to tell Ben that her parents saw Ves leading the attack which was on the [i[Falcon[/i] itself while they and Allana were disembarking.  Bazel Warv was killed.
 
She’s a Sith and she always has been.  That doesn’t mean she doesn’t love Ben.  That’s not a deception she could have pulled off.  But that’s what Sith do.  The attack was directed at Allana.  The Sith know who she is.
 
Vestara knows what’s happening. It’s very likely Jaina knows what happened on Coruscant and is telling Ben.  Ves can flee into the jungle and spend her life marooned here, surrender and hope to escape, or try to steal the ship.  
 
Ship appears, to take her commands.  As much as is possible for her, Abeloth is dead.  But they are free for now to return to their own kind.  The Lost Tribe aren’t the only Sith in the galaxy.  They have need of her.
 
She is valuable for the time she has spent with the Skywalkers. If she can stall the Jedi for a couple of minutes, he will be there to pick her up.
 
Ben and Jaina come down the ramp.  Vestara tries to kill time, but they’re not easily delayed.  She wants to know what Ben has up his sleeve.  It’s a sedative.   Jaina won’t take chances with Luke seriously injured.
 
Ben assures her it’s just until they get out of the Maw.  She should trust him.  Vestara sadly asks why he had to say that and hits him with Force lightning.  Jaina catches the bolt with her lightsaber.
 
Ship sends a projectile down and picks up Vestara.  He hopes she has no injuries.  She confirms nothing physical.  He knows she suffers because of the boy.  She will be fine though.  Love is pain and pain make Sith strong.
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chapter 35:
 

When Luke wakes up, Coruscant shows in the viewport.  He can feel Ben, Jaina, Corran and Saba, too. 
 
Much of Coruscant is burning or in ruins.  The Sith had spread across the planet.  Ben catches up him and they sit to talk about what has happened.  Ben gives the damage report and apologizes for trusting a spy.
 
Luke tells him he’s gotten experience now.  She may have learned a lot about them, but they’ve learned a lot about the Sith.  He thinks Ben will have more than one chance to bring Vestara in.
 
Luke does ask him to keep the med droids out while he speaks with a few people.  He also wants Saba to send a team to bring Raynar Thul back. 
 
As Luke waits for the other Jedi, he thinks about the state of the galaxy.  No one can know if Thuruht’s history is correct, but Luke does believe the Jedi account of what happened on Mortis.  His father’s refusal to become the new Keeper of Balance set off a chain of events that caused the death of the Ones and knocked the Force out of balance.
 
There has been a shift toward chaos ever since.  The Jedi will have to dedicate themselves completely to the light.  The Masters come in with Wynn Dorvan.
 
Dorvan explains that Coruscant is bad, but under control.  Clouds of ash are spreading through the undercity.  Residents there could be dying by the billions.
 
Barraktk’l explains that the Jedi Arelis and Saar have been helping slave build free societies in the Outer Rim.  They were attacked by a tentacle three days ago.  It dissolved.
 
There haven’t been any reports since but it could have been Abeloth.  The Jedi Order will have to be ready when she returns.  Luke thinks they need to find the Mortis monolith. 
 
He’s sorry that the Jedi couldn’t have prevented her from coming to Coruscant. Dorvan knows that even if the Senate doesn’t.   They’ve voted the Order off of Coruscant.  Javis Tyrr is on a pirated Holofeed, blaming the destruction on the Jedi due to an out-of-control spice war.
 
Luke thinks they should consider leaving.  The fight between the Jedi and the Sith will last for centuries. Coruscant will be a battleground so long as they remain here.
 
At least, the Sith will have to worry about their flank if the Jedi are gone.  The GA isn’t defenseless, after all.  Dorvan could propose a resolution that any attempt to infiltrate the GA will be considered an act of war.
 
He wants them to know that people are just frightened after dealing with the Sith.
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chapter 36:
 
The Falcon’s cockpit is replaced with a customized replica, courtesy of Lando. The ship is on the flight deck of the Super Star Destroyer Megador.  An honor guard waits for the Solos who will be moving on from this part of the galaxy.  Several StealthX’s head off to search for the Mortis Monolith and the dagger which had killed the Ones.  But Luke believes that Abeloth is still lingering in the Force and that could be a problem someday.

Allana joins him.  He asks if she is comfortable with everyone knowing who she really is.  She admits that she doesn’t have a choice.  It’s better to reveal the secret now rather than have the Sith be the only ones who know.  

When See-Threepio announces that she’s ready, Han engages the repulsorlifts and flies out of the hangar, Admiral Bwua’tu wishing them safe journeys.

Jaina expected to be doubtful today with things looking so grim, but she really feels she’s making the right choice. 

When the ship lands at the Dragon Queen II, the Solos, their daughter dressed in white, disembark.  C-3PO announces each arrival at court.  Jaina sees her friends and family waiting for her as she heads down the aisle, her father in tow, to marry the man she loves.

She had stared into the all-powerful darkness for too long alone.  Lighting a candle now, she knows it will never take her.
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End of Book 9
 

  • This is the end of the Fate of the Jedi series.  While the early device of traveling to visit different Force users to follow Jacen's path was interesting, the whole point of the journey was that Luke determine what caused Jacen to fall which is something Luke should have already known.  
  • When this was written, however, the idea of government overreach into the lives of people was directed at another target.  Since the time of publication, as I have been posting this during this particular season of life, the concept of government overreach during a health emergency has been on my mind.  What were the rights of the Jedi when it came to investigating the cause of the illness, detaining and isolating those that were infected and seeking a solution?  What were the responsibilities of Daala's government when it came to protecting the public?  And how did Daala's personal animosity toward this specific...dare I say, religion?...influence her decisions?

 

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