Read Part I
INTERIOR - SOLO QUARTERS, CORUSCANTLeia has her first Trippy Vision of Doom while she sleeps, and awakens to the sound of alarms. Coruscant was under attack.LEIA:
Damn, not again
. Watch the kids, I'm going to go hover over the command center.
INTERIOR - COMMAND CENTER, IMPERIAL PALACE, CORUSCANTGHENT:
I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON!LEIA:
We're under attack.GHENT:
OMG COOL. Can they do that?LEIA:
Well, take a look at the readouts. You tell me. How did you get in here, anyway?GHENT:
I made a code a while back. They took the servers down - I was almost at level 60 - so I had nothing better to do.LEIA:
Well, stay out of the way, Pippin, and don't touch...didn't have anything better to do?GHENT:
Well, I probably could have put together a private PvP server myself, but with no one to play with, it would have been boring--LEIA:
Never mind that. Come with me.She takes them to the room where Intelligence is picking apart the Imperial encryption and setting up one of their own.LEIA:
This is Ghent. He's a hacker--GHENT:
l33t3r th4n j00LEIA:
--and you might be able to use him.COLONEL:
You any good?GHENT:
I tackled ILKO when I was twelve. That was hard, it took me two months.COLONEL:
...COME WORK FOR US PLZ.LEIA:
Good, now he's out of the way, and doing some good. General Rieekan, what's going on?RIEEKAN:
Admiral Drayson's in charge. Ackbar's elsewhere.LEIA:
Well, I'll find something better. Garm? Garm, where are you?BEL IBLIS:
I am a Peregrine.LEIA:
What?Begin Flashback ModeHAN: The Peregrine is the name of an old scare legend. He was doomed to wander forever and never find his true home again.
LANDO: Um...okay. Thanks for sharing...?End Flashback ModeLEIA:
Oh, I guess that makes sense although I have no idea how I remembered that, since I wasn't there
but we really need you.BEL IBLIS:
Not until Mon Mothma asks. And it's not a petty vendetta, not anymore. I'll wait until Thrawn sends those Star Destroyers before going into Exposition mo--STAR DESTROYERS:
*appear and start kicking the shit - THE SHIT - out of Coruscant's defenses
Okay. Mon Mothma has complete power not because of corruption, but because she can't trust many people to keep innocent lives safe. So until she can trust me
to take command, I won't. Otherwise it will be bad for everyone.MON MOTHMA:
But I do trust you; I was just too stubborn to see it.
*jump on this
So can I smash Thrawn?MON MOTHMA:
INTERIOR - BRIDGE, STAR DESTROYER CHIMAERATHRAWN:
It's about damn time they put Bel Iblis in charge. Captain, proceed with the launching.
INTERIOR - COMMAND CENTER, IMPERIAL PALACE, CORUSCANTBEL IBLIS:
What are they doing?LEIA:
Maybe they're launching a whole squadron together?BEL IBLIS:
TIE fighters can launch on their own, you know. Besides, nothing's left the hangar. Unless...SOMEONE:
SOMETHING HIT A SHIP. WE DON'T KNOW WHAT.BEL IBLIS:
Damn. Cloaking shield. Ion cannons only, I want to see what it is.
INTERIOR - BRIDGE, STAR DESTROYER CHIMAERATHRAWN:
Let's let him get a good look at it.The ion cannons from the
Harrier knock out the cloaking shield, revealing the asteroid. Thirty seconds later, Thrawn destroys it.PELLAEON:
We've managed 287 tractor-beam firings, and all 22 asteroids are out. 21 now.THRAWN:
Excellent. Coruscant has been neutralized as a threat. Let's pack up and go.
INTERIOR - COMMAND CENTER, IMPERIAL PALACE, CORUSCANTBEL IBLIS:
There could be up to 287 asteroids up there--DRAYSON:
We took one out, remember?BEL IBLIS:
There could be up to 286 asteroids up there, and we don't know how many were faked. We can't open the shields to let anyone in or out, leaving us trapped. Can this day get any worse?BREMEN:
Jade's escaped.BEL IBLIS:
It just got worse.MON MOTHMA:
Search the planet.LEIA:
Don't bother, it was our idea.THE ENTIRE ROOM:
It seemed like a good idea at the time?MON MOTHMA:
We found the clones. Han and Luke took her to go destroy the facility.MON MOTHMA:
Fine. I'm disappointed, but when we find out the coordinates, we'll send a force to help them.GHENT:
Is it over?LEIA:
Yes. Did you have fun?GHENT:
I guess. They didn't let me do much. But I cracked Delta Source's encryption code.LEIA:
...Delta Source. As in the leak we can't find?GHENT:
Yeah. This is the code it's been using.LEIA:
...TELL NO ONE OF THIS. AT ALL. EVER. GOT IT?GHENT:
INTERIOR - HIDDEN BASEKARRDE:
So my smuggler's coalition has faded. I've got a new idea, though, to bring in money.GILLESPEE:
Are you going to get your slicer to secretly put us on a regular New Republic payroll at military salaries?KARRDE:
...I thought I
was supposed to be the omniscient one.GILLESPEE:
Wait, that's actually the plan? I was just being a dick!KARRDE:
I can do it, and they won't object...too much.
LATERKarrde figures out how Myrkr's ecosystem works. Vornskyrs hunt by using the Force, and ysalamiri push the Force back to keep from being eaten. An interesting revelation, except it really isn't interesting at all, but it does provide the basis of understanding on the clone system and other events on Wayland at the end of the book, so it's important to the plot.
Or at least Zahn wants us to believe that it is.
INTERIOR - HANGAR, STAR DESTROYER CHIMAERATHRAWN:
Captain Mazzic! How good of you to drop in!MAZZIC:
See, it's funny, because you're here because you were captured.MAZZIC:
Talk or I shoot you.MAZZIC:
If you're going to kill me for attacking Bilbringi, kill me and be done with it.THRAWN:
I'm not going to kill you. Your attack was perfectly justified - or, it would have been, if I had actually ordered the attack on Trogan. Which I didn't; in fact, I had specifically ordered my troops to leave you alone. The commander decided to make a little money on the side, and was hired to attack by someone else.MAZZIC:
Well, I'm going to allude to Karrde, but I won't actually say his name because I want you to think that he actually was
the one to do it.MAZZIC:
Well, okay. See you later, then.THRAWN:
Ferrier, I need your Defel to plant this evidence on Karrde's ship.FERRIER:
Okay. Then what?THRAWN:
Then you do whatever the hell you want until I need you again, twink.
INTERIOR - MILLENNIUM FALCON
, ON APPROACH TO WAYLANDMARA:
This is it, boys. Please put your tray-tables and seatbacks to their full and upright positions.HAN:
Oh, I like
her. I think someone followed us in, but I'm not sure.LUKE:
I'm sure that we'll find out at a dramatically appropriate time.HAN:
You and Mara work well together.LUKE:
She's a good person to have at your side.
SEE? EARLY ON. SUCK IT, HAMBLY!)HAN:
Except when she wants to slide a knife into it. We should leave her behind.LUKE:
We can't. She needs to see this through.HAN:
The clone thing, or killing you?LUKE:
Probably both. It's important to her; especially since the book is already more than halfway over.
EXTERIOR - WAYLAND JUNGLEHAN:
Let's get the repulsor-bikes.GARRALS:
Let's not get the repulsor-bikes. I feel like walking, don't you?
A SERIES OF ANIMAL ATTACKS LATERLUKE:
So you're helping us because Thrawn's got a death mark on Karrde?MARA:
I'm doing this because I know about the last time a shitload of clones tried to take over the galaxy. You're
How...did the Emperor die?LUKE:
*tells her what really happened, despite her assertations to the contrary
*What? I'm recapping, not telling the story again and again. Come on.
INTERIOR - GRAND CORRIDOR, IMPERIAL PALACE, CORUSCANTLEIA:
Damn it, it doesn't make sense! Either Delta Source has to be 15 people, or it's not a person!CH'HALA TREES:
COME ON. DO WE HAVE TO SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU?DRAYSON:
I'm going to talk about acquiring a crystal gravfield traps so that we can track down all the asteroids.BEL IBLIS:
we need more time in finding Delta Source.LEIA:
Why did you say it like that?BEL IBLIS:
...I'm not quite sure.MAINTANENCE DROID:
*clucks softly; these clucks are shown as patterns on the ch'hala trees
...wait a minute. I FOUND DELTA SOURCE.CH'HALA TREES:
We've got some trees to dig up, people.CH'HALA TREES:
...didn't think this through! Didn't think this through! D:
Mazzic's coming, fast and armed.TORVE:
There's someone aboard the ship that we don't know.KARRDE:
Why does this never work out? Come now, I made snacks!MAZZIC:
Hi. Let's talk on your ship, instead.KARRDE:
Why are you protesting? DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE?KARRDE:
Not at all. Let's go.FERRIER:
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
INTERIOR - WILD KARRDEMAZZIC:
You hired that Imperial squad, Karrde, and I'm going to find the records on your ship to prove it.KARRDE:
Ah, so that's what your Defel was doing, Ferrier.FERRIER:
Uh, no, he's on my ship right now.KARRDE:
Why isn't he outside with the bodyguards?FERRIER:
Shut it, we're here for the data card.GILLESPEE:
Wait, what about your Defel? On Trogan, he seemed to know exactly when the Imperial squad was going to come.FERRIER:
What, you think I
...how did you know his name?KARRDE:
Oh, fuck. All right, nobody move or I'll blow us all up! Karrde, fly us to my ship.Karrde flies the
Wild Karrde to Ferrier's Gunship, and Ferrier takes off. Mazzic's ships are sent after him.MAZZIC:
I owe you an apology.KARRDE:
Pfsh, water under the bridge. Just remember that this is how Thrawn operates. And what we're worth to him. But as long as we're all still here, we can go over the proposal I prepared in the first place. After all, it's a shame to let such a good PowerPoint file go to waste...
EXTERIOR - WAYLAND JUNGLEArtoo gets tangled by vines, Threepio complains, and the crew realize that someone's been following them and killing predators for them to keep them safe. Luke decides to teach Mara Jedi skills, and Mara decides to be not-too-hostile to him...yet.
INTERIOR - BRIEFING ROOM, STAR CRUISER HOME ONEACKBAR:
Good, our starfighter pilots are here. They're usually late beyond belief. General Madine?MADINE:
Thank you. We need a crystal gravfield trap to use to find the asteroids above Coruscant. There's one at Tangrene and one at Bilbringi. Both are under Imperial control. We'll pretend to strike at Tangrene while we actually hit Bilbringi. Hopefully we'll take Thrawn off-guard.WEDGE:
Um, why don't we just make another?MADINE:
INTERIOR - SOLO QUARTERSLEIA:
Luke and Mara...they fit together somehow.
INTERIOR - BRIDGE, STAR DESTROYER CHIMAERAPELLAEON:
The Rebels seem to be preparing to assault Tangrene for a crystal gravfield trap.THRAWN:
Something's wrong about that, and I'm going to look at my art until I find out what.
INTERIOR - RANDOM TAPCAFEKARRDE:
Okay. The New Republic looks like it's going to assault Tangrene, so we should hit Bilbringi. The New Republic will pay a great deal for a crystal gravfield trap.MAZZIC:
You don't think that this is a feint, so that the New Republic will hit Bilbringi, and that Thrawn will expect it, and the New Republic will then have to depend on our sudden arrival to turn the tide of the battle?KARRDE:
Pfsh, of course not.MAZZIC:
Count me in.
INTERIOR - COUNCIL CHAMBERS, IMPERIAL PALACE, CORUSCANTDRAYSON:
Ukio was a sham, orchestrated by the mad Jedi. We won't be fooled by it again. Meanwhile, we need to prepare to assault Bilbringi.WINTER:
We know where Wayland is.MON MOTHMA:
Han and Luke will have to wait.FEY'LYA:
...um, what? What about their lives? Shouldn't we help them? We need to get our people into that facility to take care of any loose Camaasi Documents that might be lying around.LEIA:
Sorry, what was that last?FEY'LYA:
Nothing that can't wait another ten years, I suppose.
INTERIOR - THRAWN'S ART MUSEUM, STAR DESTROYER CHIMAERATHRAWN:
My art tells me that they will be striking at Bilbringi, instead of Tangrene.PELLAEON:
Sir, for the good of the Empire's economy? Never go into the stock market business. You'll bankrupt everyone.
EXTERIOR - WAYLAND JUNGLELUKE:
You know, even though you want to kill me, and that I already know that you are a deadly and dangerous person, I'm going to give you my only weapon for lightsaber practice.MARA:
Okay, forget what I said about you turning out to be an okay kinda guy. You're just incredibly stupid.VOICE OF THE EMPEROR:
YOU WILL KILL--MARA:
I know. Shut up, will you?Not too long after that, they're walking again, and their shadowy pursuers finally decide to reveal themselves.NOGHRI:
OMG I totally didn't see you!NOGHRI:
That's the idea, boytoy of the Lady Vader.HAN:
Hey, listen, buddy...LUKE:
Why did you show yourselves now?NOGHRI:
The natives wanted to speak to you.The Myneyrshi and the Psadans come to meet them. Mara arrives with Threepio.MARA:
Sithspawn, get down! Imperial agents!LUKE:
No, they're not!NOGHRI:
We could have killed you if we wanted. Don't make us regret that choice.The Myneyrshi and the Psadans start babbling away, while Threepio tries to catch up.THREEPIO:
Um, "You invaders with the mustard"--no, that's not it, "--with the masters
are evil and we hate you and you're just here to take our land and enslave us. Just like everyone else."NOGHRI:
No, we come to release you from the Empire!THREEPIO:
"The Empire is just one of a long list of oppressors. How are you any different from them?"CHEWBACCA:
*shoots a vine snake
You! Lightning bow? He have? ZOMG?HAN:
He's our friend, not our slave.THREEPIO:
"Very well, you may pass, bitches." Oh, my, I'm glad that worked out well.
INTERIOR - IMPERIAL SHUTTLE, ON APPROACH TO MOUNT TANTISS, WAYLANDThe most creepy-yet-homoerotic scene that Zahn has ever written. Ever. And yet I never see any C'baoth/Covell slashfics. I'm not sure if I should be disappointed by this, or incredibly relieved.
Any allegations that shortening this is an indication of my laziness and my intentions of getting this done early are completely untrue, and those who claim that it is will be punished with a honey-coated ferreting. The omnilesbianist court has no mercy.Oh, and C'baoth does some more creepy "descending into madness" evil things, too.
EXTERIOR - WAYLAND JUNGLEMARA:
Okay, I still don't trust you.NOGHRI:
Feeling's mutual, bitch.MARA:
So who is this "Son of Vader" you keep expecting to show up?NOGHRI:
...he is already here. Heir to his powers. You serve him, as do we.MARA:
Serve him? Wait, Skywalker
? Uh-uh. If anything, he's
He is. Breakfast in bed. OTP!!!)This revelation is too much for her to take, and she realizes that everything she was raised to believe by the Emperor was wrong. She goes spinning out of control.VOICE OF THE EMPEROR:
YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!MARA:
SHUT UP.VOICE OF C'BAOTH:
Oh, but you are a different matter. You will be kneeling before me in my new Master Pimp room. Oh, yeah, Palpatine knew how to roll in style, and I'm going to take one of his bitches and make her my own. HAHAHAHAHA---VOICE OF THE THREE TONES LADY:
I'm sorry, your Force Connection has been dropped. Please try again later. For an operator, press 0.LUKE:
Are you okay?MARA:
I...yes. C'baoth is here. We need to take him out.
INTERIOR - BRIDGE, STAR DESTROYER CHIMAERASELID:
Poor Covell is dead. Poor General Covell is dead.PELLAEON:
Is he looking oh-so-peaceful and serene?THRAWN:
Why would you say something like that?PELLAEON:
I'm sorry, sir.SELID:
He gave some strange orders, and then died. Medics say that his brain just simply shut down.THRAWN:
...connect me with C'baoth. He should be in the Throne Room.C'BAOTH:
RESTORE THE FORCE TO ME.THRAWN:
Hmm, let me think about th--NO.C'BAOTH:
THE EMPIRE IS MINE TO COMMAND. BLAH BLAH BLAH I'M A PSYCHOTIC OLD MAN.THRAWN:
Colonel Selid, Master C'baoth is under arrest. Do not let him leave the throne room, and do not let the troops that General Covell ordered around to re-enter the mountain. Now if you excuse me, I have to be at Bilbringi.For the second time, Zahn also sets up information for later novels of his already; this time, mentioning to Pellaeon his plan for creating a clone that will be grown fast to childhood, and then let to grow naturally for the last ten years. Possibly on a hidden, secure planet in the Unknown Regions.
People who have not yet read
Spectre of the Past and
Vision of the Future should take note of this. People who
have read them will undoubtedly get that really awesome spine-shiver that is accompanied with an "OMG that's so awesome" feeling. You know the one I'm talking about. Yes you do.
INTERIOR - MUMBRI STROVE CANTINAWEDGE:
La la la, we're being conspicuous and saying that we're going to Tangrene.AVES:
Hey, we just wanted to know when you were planning your operation. You know. For scientific purposes.WEDGE:
Can't tell you now, but if you haven't heard from me in twenty-eight hours
, don't come looking.AVES:
INTERIOR - COMMAND CENTER, CORUSCANTBEL IBLIS:
Incoming call from Karrde. He's parked in the system.LEIA:
Put him through.KARRDE:
Hey, what's up? Can I talk to Mara?LEIA:
Um, I'm afraid you can't.KARRDE:
Fine, let me in and I'll talk to her in person.LEIA:
How many did you get rid of so far?LEIA:
Let me in. The asteroids are all gone.BEL IBLIS:
Sensor records for the win!BEL IBLIS:
Okay, come on in.
MEANWHILE, IN LEIA'S HEADLIGHTBULB:
BACK IN REALITYLEIA:
...zomg, I know how Thrawn is making clones so fast, and why he needs ysalamiri. It's the Force!BEL IBLIS:
...dude, you're right. That also means that there's a shitload of ysalamiri at Wayland...LEIA:
Luke will be defenseless. I need to do something.
LATER, AT THE LANDING SITEKARRDE:
What do you mean, not here
She took Luke and Han to the cloning facility.KARRDE:
Damn. Well, I'd better get going.LEIA:
And abandon Mara?KARRDE:
Mara doesn't mean that much.LEIA:
You are such a liar.KARRDE:
It's part of the job.MOBVEKHAR:
*disappears, and returns with Fey'lya who had apparently been eavesdropping
*Ladies and Gentlemen, let it be known that while Zahn himself says nothing about Mobvekhar beating him up, the graphic-novelization trade paperback shows him as bloody and bruised. In that version, Mobvekhar gives him a black eye. If you ask me, I think that's pretty fucking awesome, so tonight, the part of Fey'lya will be played by Noghri-Abuse!Fey'lya. Thank you for your cooperation.NOGHRI-ABUSE!FEY'LYA:
Hey, I was just in the neighborhood, and I, er...MOBVEKHAR:
He fell down some stairs.NOGHRI-ABUSE!FEY'LYA:
I...fell down some stairs.LEIA:
What are you doing here?NOGHRI-ABUSE!FEY'LYA:
Captain Karrde, you need to take Leia to Wayland to ensure the safety of the Bothan people.Once again, setting the scene for Thrawn Crisis 2: Electric Boogaloo.KARRDE:
Give me money, and I will.NOGHRI-ABUSE!FEY'LYA:
LATER, OUTBOUND FROM CORUSCANTLEIA:
Does the money really matter?KARRDE:
Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you
, Councilor. I expect to be well paid. I'm in this for the money.LEIA:
Sure, as if I haven't heard that
EXTERIOR - WAYLAND JUNGLELUKE:
The mountain, it's dark
It looks fairly well-lit to me.LUKE:
No, I mean it's dark
. Like Myrkr.HAN:
As in no Force? Like ysalamiri?LUKE:
Screw this, then, we're going home.LUKE:
We have to go. It needs to be finished now.MARA:
Hey, we can go in the ventilation system. That should be good.HAN:
This day just keeps getting better and better. D:
IN SPACE - ON APPROACH TO BILBRINGIAVES:
All right, we've got confirmation on the others.GILLESPEE:
Shame that Karrde couldn't come himself.AVES:
He had something better to do. Cloning with Princess Leia, or something like that. I just hope Solo never finds out.GILLESPEE:
Let's head in.
ALSO ON APPROACH TO BILBRINGIWEDGE:
All right, Rogues, we've got confirmation from the rest of the fleet. Let's head in.
We have confirmation from Intelligence. They still appear to be moving towards Tangrene.PELLAEON:
Shouldn't we, y'know, leave some forces there just in case?THRAWN:
We'll need everyone we can get, Captain. Let's head in to Bilbringi.
MEANWHILE, AT TANGRENESPACE CRICKETS:
EXTERIOR - MOUNT TANTISS, WAYLANDHAN:
Like Endor with a screen door. Real redneck Imperial architecture.NOGHRI:
Myneyrshi wish to speak to you.HAN:
We'll come to them.MARA:
This is bad. This is very bad. Skywalker, I won't go over to C'baoth's side. You kill me if they take me.LUKE:
I'll be there with you, and we'll face it together.MARA:
What if I kill you first?LUKE:
You kill me, and I won't be able to kill you in return.MARA:
...damn, I miss the days when that wasn't a disappointment.HAN:
Hey, guys, we've got ourselves a diversion at the front gates. Let's take down this fucker.
INTERIOR - WILD KARRDE
, ON APPROACH TO MOUNT TANTISS, WAYLANDGHENT:
Transmission coming in over our fake Imperial transponder. They're directing us to a secondary base; they say there's some sort of native insurrection going on.MOBVEKHAR:
I can signal the Noghri escort of the Son of Vader using the landing lights.KARRDE:
There they are. I'm going in; you don't have to follow me.KARRDE:
Crew, the Councilor and I are going in. Stay here and wait for my signal for extraction. Councilor, meet my pet vornskrs. They use the Force to hunt, and they'll help us find Mara.LEIA:
Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they ripped his throat out.LEIA:
INTERIOR - MOUNT TANTISS, WAYLANDSTORMTROOPERS:
Stop, in the name of love!HAN:
But you broke my heart, and I need revenge!STORMTROOPERS:
Artoo is looking for the schematics; the cloning chambers are just over there. We may have to blast.HAN:
Finally. I've been wanting to blow things up for three books now. Where's Mara?LANDO:
She and Luke are in the main cloning chamber.
MAIN CLONING CHAMBERMARA:
It has to go. We have to destroy it.HAN:
...yes, that's why we're here. We've got explosives.MARA:
No, there will be an easier way. The Emperor would have put in a self-destruct; we'll head up to the throne room and take care of it.HAN:
Make sure you let us know before you blow it up, kthx.
Okay, Luke and Mara went up to the throne room.THREEPIO:
Oh, dear, that's where C'baoth is. And
they're jamming us.LANDO:
But how can they be jamming us if they don't know we're...here...EVERYONE:
*makes a shocked and dismayed face
*CUMULATIVE SHOCKED AND DISMAYED FACE:
*looks like this
IN SPACE - BILBRINGI SHIPYARDSMAZZIC:
Someone sold us out; the Star Destroyers are forming up for attack.AVES:
They're forming up in the wrong direction.GILLESPEE:
I thought the New Republic was hitting Tangrene!AVES:
So did we. Must have been trying to fool Thrawn.
INTERIOR - THRONE ROOM, WAYLANDMARA:
Pretty. What do we blow up first?MYN DONOS:
Hey, that's my line!LUKE:
Let's check out the throne.THE THRONE:
*does the cool dramatic movie slow-rotating thing to reveal the evil mastermind sitting inside it
Welcome to my chamber, said the Jedi to the flies!MARA:
...so lame. So very lame.C'BAOTH:
You have come, to serve me! I know it! Thrawn is a fool!LUKE:
Quiet, clone man.MARA:
What happened to peace, love, and understanding?LUKE:
Mara, I love you, but he's fucking nuts.
*hate Barbara Hambly so much
Nuts? Is it insanity for me to want to break the minds of all of Thrawn's clones and rebuild them in my image?MARA:
...yeah, pretty much.C'BAOTH:
If narcissism be wrong, I don't want to be right! But you will not leave.MARA:
A remote activator has to have something to activate, dumbass.C'BAOTH:
And so it does. He triggers the remote, killing every single ysalamiri in the mountain, and thus restoring the Force to all three of them. C'baoth attacks, and Luke holds him off until C'baoth's surprise arrives - a clone of Luke himself, controlled by C'baoth. Luke and the clone lock lightsabers and proceed to have a very sweaty action sequence.
*explode of happy
I feel a great disturbance in the Force. As if the voices of a million fangirls suddenly cried out in ecstasy and were suddenly silenced.
INSIDE THE CLONING CHAMBERLando and Chewbacca witness the deaths of the ysalamiri, though they do not recognize it as such. Chewbacca suggests hooking up the power cables in such a way to trigger a feedback loop and thus an explosion; one that would be powerful enough to destroy the entire mountain.
AT BILBRINGIThe New Republic fleet is pulled out of hyperspace early by Interdictor cruisers. The Battle of Bilbringi - something that really deserves to be made into a mission in the
Rogue Squadron 4 video game, but does LucasArts ever listen to me, no they don't - begins.
INTERIOR - SOMEWHERE IN MOUNT TANTISSHAN:
Watch, Mara Jade, at the fate that you will one day face if you do not kneel before me.MARA:
Insanity? Oh, wait, you're talking about Luke. You and clones.C'BAOTH:
What, you're not enjoying the show I'm putting on for you? Well, maybe Leia will. Hello, Leia! You will kneel before me as my Jedi bitch!HAN:
I KEEL YOU!C'BAOTH:
*goes berserk, sending a wave of Force energy through everyone, before using his dark Lightning on the newcomers
Let them go, and I'll stay.
Han? What's going on?KARRDE:
The Force is back, and C'baoth took out Solo and Organa Solo. He's got Skywalker fighting a clone of himself. It's pretty fucked up.LANDO:
Damn. Artoo, Threepio, get the Noghri out of here. We need to blow the entire mountain.
Nuh-uh-uh! You didn't say the magic word!MARA:
*takes advantage of this to summon Leia's lightsaber to her
*VOICE OF THE EMPEROR:
YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!MARA:
Gorramn right I will.Charging into the fray, she ignites the lightsaber and kills Luke.
Bwuh?)She kills the clone of Luke.
...YAY!)VOICE OF THE EMPEROR:
*fades away forever
I did it. I fulfilled the Emperor's Last Command. The book can wrap itself up now; I've achieved the title.
IN SPACE - BATTLE OF BILBRINGITHRAWN:
The Rebels will think they were betrayed. Let's have Ackbar's cruiser return to Coruscant, so that the blame will fall neatly over his shoulders once more.PELLAEON:
You, sir, are a genius.WEDGE:
We need to get them to pull their ships back and defend those Golan stations.AVES:
Hey, Antilles, we were in the neighborhood. Anything we can do to help in exchange for an escort?WEDGE:
Aves, next time you see Karrde, you should tell him to rename yourselves to the Deus Ex Machina
Corporation. You're just what we needed. Hit those Golans on the way out.AVES:
Rock on, fighter-man.
THRONE ROOM - WAYLANDLUKE:
Yup. You too?LUKE:
Definitely. Let's get out of here.MARA:
I need to stay and finish this.C'BAOTH:
I KEEL YOU!The roof starts to crumble into tiny gravel, swarming and swirling around the Jedi. C'baoth continues to be insane, and Luke and Mara are taking the brunt of his attack. Mara starts sweeping her lightsaber through the floor underneath her, while Luke's lightsaber is knocked/Force-pulled from his hands.
Okay, your suicidal feedback bomb idea is working. Let's get the hell out of here!HAN:
We're trapped up here. Save yourselves.KARRDE:
My ship is waiting for you to take you to safety. Get out.LANDO:
Not if I can help it. Chewie, Artoo, to the Wild Karrde
. I have a plan.THREEPIO:
Oh, dear. Nothing good can ever come of that sentence.
THRONE ROOMHaving cleared away the rocks trapping her in place, Mara starts charging C'baoth. He focuses her attack on her, reducing her vision. Leia guides her through the Force, and Luke sends his lightsaber over to free Sturm and Drang. The vornskrs attack C'baoth, distracting him enough for Mara to charge in. She kneels before him and thrusts her lightsaber upwards, killing C'baoth. He explodes in a storm of Dark Side energy, and Luke pulls her back towards him. Karrde signals his ship to blast through the throne room walls and pick them up.
INTERIOR - THRAWN'S COMMAND CENTER, STAR DESTROYER CHIMAERAPELLAEON:
They're winning. They're actually winning.THRAWN:
Calm yourself, they haven't won yet. Read me that report from Wayland.PELLAEON:
Um, it says that the mountain is under attack. Rebel sabateurs, and...Noghri?RUKH:
That, Captain? Was a work of art.PELLAEON:
COME BACK I LOVE YOU OKAYTHRAWN:
All ships, retreat.
EPILOGUE, ON TOP OF A BUILDING ON CORUSCANTLuke and Mara stand alone, talking and bonding, in a scene that has lots of romantic possibilities. Yet people like Hambly could never see that. But that's beside the point. The scene is sweet, and snarky, and sets the tone for a relationship between the two of them that is
not based on death and hatred, but of friendship and shared experiences and sexual tension. Because we all love sexual tension.
Luke gives Mara his father's lightsaber, giving her the message that she should leave her fractured past behind her and focus on her life. Her life with Karrde, her life with the smugglers, and her life as a friend of Luke's.
Finally, in the last words of the book, comes the quote that sends warm fuzzies down the backs of everyone reading, as well as sends really warm awesome chills down the backs of people reading the same quote at the end of the
Hand of Thrawn duology.MARA:
Hang on, I'll come with you.