Star By Star (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order)

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9780345428486: Star By Star (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order)

The New York Times bestselling Star Wars series The New Jedi Order enthralls readers with its epic drama and thrilling adventure. Now readers will pierce the very heart of darkness, as those fascinating figures in that galaxy far, far away--Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, as well as their children--spring to vivid life to battle their deadliest adversaries.

It is a solemn time for the New Republic, as the merciless Yuuzhan Vong continue their ruthless campaign of terror and destruction. The brutal enemy has unleashed a savage creature capable of finding--and killing--Jedi Knights. And now Leia Organa Solo faces a terrible ultimatum from the mighty alien foe determined to conquer the galaxy. If the location of the secret Jedi base is not revealed within one week, the Yuuzhan Vong will blast millions of refugee ships into oblivion.

As the battered but still unbroken Jedi scramble to deal with the newest onslaught, Leia's son Anakin lays out a daring plan. A Jedi strike force will allow itself to be "captured" by the Yuuzhan Vong and taken to their stronghold in the realm of darkness, where the Jedi will sabotage the evil empire's deadliest weapons. The leaders of the force are the three Solo siblings. The risks are tremendous. Can the Jedi fight a ruthless enemy without becoming ruthless themselves and falling victim to the dark side?

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About the Author:

Troy Denning is the author of the New York Times bestseller Waterdeep (under the pseudonym Richard Awlinson) and nineteen other novels, including Pages of Pain, Beyond the High Road, and, most recently, The Summoning. He lives in southern Wisconsin with his wife, Andria.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 2

A mere kilometer beyond the transparisteel wall, the antenna-strewn horizon plunged away into a
bottomless abyss of tumbling asteroids and drifting stars. Tiny blue halos winked into existence and
slowly swelled into the backlit rectangles of enormous cargo barges returning with loads of
durasteel from outlying fabrication plants. Crew transports laced the darkness with long tails of ions, racing from
task to task on more than a hundred orbiting dry docks, and
enormous welding droids traced ship skeletons in brilliant
spark storms.

On the way in, Han Solo had counted nearly five hundred war-ships under
construction in the old Bilbringi Shipyards. They were mostly escorts,
corvettes, and other small stuff that could be finished in a hurry, but
there were also two Imperial-class Star Destroyers. While these huge
ships probably would not be ready before the Yuuzhan Vong captured the
facility, the hulls were nearly closed and the drive units already
mounted. Clearly, young General Muun was a Sullustan with a plan, just
the sort of careful deskpilot who always impressed Coruscant Command—and
seldom failed to exhaust Han’s limited supply of patience.

Wishing he could use one of those Jedi calming techniques his son Jacen
was always talking about, Han forced an insincere smile and turned
toward the center of the room. Leia sat on a small couch with the
general, her face glowing with the same stunning brown-eyed intensity
that had caught Han’s eye so long ago. Though he would never understand
how she had kept that fervor burning so brightly through thirty years of
service to the galaxy, it had become a mooring for him, the one constant
that never seemed to change through so many decades of struggle, loss,
and death. Now, when occasionally her legs—healed from her near-fatal
ordeal on Duro but still sometimes weak—tired and stumbled, the pain of
almost losing her made his heart stop, and he swore he would never, ever
shut her out again.

". . . hundred thousand lives are at stake, General," she was saying.
"The Vray are a gentle species. Without an escort, the evacuation convoy
will be defenseless against the Yuuzhan Vong."

"And how many lives will the New Republic lose if Bilbringi falls before
the fleet is completed?" Muun asked. His heavy Sul-lustan jowls rippled
gently as he spoke, but his feelings remained otherwise hidden behind
his flat mask of a face. "Whole worlds will perish, and that will mean
millions."

"She’s only asking for twenty ships," Han said.

The general turned his black eyes on Han. "She is asking for five
cruisers and fifteen corvettes—a quarter of Bilbringi’s defense, and the
Yuuzhan Vong are already probing our outer security posts." "We’re
letting you keep the Dauntless." Han spoke in his most reasonable tone.
"And the other ships will be back in a week stan-dard. . . two, tops."

"I am sorry, no." Muun shook his head and started to rise.

A buzz sounded from the secure comm station on the general’s desk.
C-3PO, who had been standing behind the couch, raised his head and
inquired, "Would you like me to take that for you, General?"

Muun nodded. "Unless it’s urgent priority, I’ll reply in a few minutes."

"Thanks, Threepio," Han said. Any interruption would only reduce their
chances of getting the escort. He dropped into a seat opposite Muun.
"You seem to be forgetting who you’re talking to, General."

Leia’s brown eyes flashed in alarm. "Han—"

"It wasn’t so long ago she could have demanded the ships," Han
continued. "If anyone deserves—"

"I know what the Princess deserves." Muun reluctantly re-turned to his
seat. "I studied the history vids at the academy."

"History vids?" Han growled. "So they activated you when? About last
year?" He glanced through the transparisteel dome at the bustling dry
docks. "You must have had some test scores to get a command like this."

An indignant shudder ran through the Sullustan’s jowls, but before he
could reply, C-3PO spoke again.

"Excuse me for interrupting, but there is a Yuuzhan Vong emissary asking
to see Princess Leia."

"What?" Han and Leia asked together.

"Tell him no," Han said.

And Leia asked, "How did he find me?"

C-3PO spouted a millisecond of digital squeal into the comm station. The
reply came a moment later.

"The Yuuzhan Vong emissary refuses to reveal that information to the
picket officer, but he does swear in the name of Yun-Yammka to do you no
harm. He wishes to discuss the fate of some refugees."

"No," Han said.

to the Yuuzhan Vong, he was determined not to lose his wife. "Or maybe
you’ve forgotten Elan and the bo’tous attempt—or how close you came to
losing your legs last year on Duro?"

"I haven’t forgotten," Leia said evenly. She turned to their host. "But
I’m sure General Muun wants to hear how the Yuuzhan Vong knew I was
here—almost as much as I do."

The Sullustan nodded. "Indeed."

"You can’t let a Yuuzhan Vong into Bilbringi!" Han said, realizing that
Muun was his best hope of preventing Leia from taking such a risk. "The
ship counts alone—"

"Will be of use to our enemies only if they are accurate." The Sullustan
did not even look in Han’s direction. His jowls lifted into a sort of
stiff grin, and he said to Leia, "We have been waiting for just such an
opportunity."

"Then it is my pleasure to give it to you." Leia turned to C-3PO. "You
may relay to the Yuuzhan Vong that we will grant him safe passage."

"As long as he presents himself unarmed and unmasked," Han added glumly.
Leia’s Noghri bodyguards, waiting in the corridor outside Muun’s office,
would like this even less than he did, but they stood no chance at all
of changing her mind. "And if there’s any funny business—" "He has
already promised honorable conduct," C-3PO replied. "Though, if you ask
me, a Yuuzhan Vong’s promise is worth precisely as much as a Jawa’s."

General Muun stepped over to his desk and opened a comm channel to his
security chief. "Commence Operation Restbreak. This is not a drill."

Han and the two bodyguards spent the next two hours converting one of
the base’s old Imperial interrogation chambers into an interview room he
considered safe enough for his wife. The main safety feature was the
transparisteel panel through which the discussion would be held, but
there were also the biosensor arrays

Leia flashed him a scowl, then said to C-3PO, "Tell him I’ll send
instructions shortly."

"Have you gone spacesick?" Han knew he would never win this argument,
but he had to try. Having already lost his best friend to monitor the
Yuuzhan Vong’s body state, the negative air pressure to confine any
poisons he might release to the original room, and a "void button" that
would open the chamber to the near-vacuum outside.

General Muun’s preparations were just as thorough and twice as fast. He
had barely given the order before the orbiting dry docks began to fall
dark and still, making the shipyard look more and more abandoned. By the
time the picket ship appeared above the planetoid, only three
dilapidated dry docks remained in operation, skeleton crews scurrying
about their work as though rushing to put the final touches on half a
dozen inconsequential corvettes. The vast majority of the dry docks were
not even visible, and the few that could be seen contained only
half-built craft that appeared to have been abandoned in the haste of an
over-early evacuation. Whether or not the general deserved his command
at such a young age, Han had to admire his cleverness; based on what
could be seen from the surface, the Yuuzhan Vong would be in no hurry to
attack the Bilbringi Shipyards.

C-3PO announced the emissary’s arrival, then a dozen guards entered the
interrogation chamber with their charge. The Yuuzhan Vong had been
afforded few diplomatic courtesies; something that looked like an
artificial eye had been confiscated and now rested in a security
officer’s hand, and in place of his own clothes, he wore a thin fleet
watchcloak with the hood up. In his hands he carried a spongelike
creature that resembled the villips Yuuzhan Vong used to communicate
over long distances, though this one was larger and more gelatinous. The
shipyard science officers had screened the creature for every known form
of Yuuzhan Vong attack and con-firmed it to be an organic communication
device, but Leia’s Noghri bodyguards, Adarakh and Meewalh, insisted on
performing their own inspection, sniffing, prodding, and squeezing the
thing until Han thought it would burst. He put his hand over the void
button anyway; until someone could tell him how an overgrown proto- zoan
could send messages across the galaxy as efficiently as the HoloNet, he
wasn’t taking anyone’s word for anything.

Once everyone was satisfied, the escorts pushed the emissary into the
room’s single chair, then left and locked the door.

Leia stepped to the transparisteel. "I am Leia Organa Solo."

"Yes, we have met before, on the planet Rhommamool." The emissary’s
voice was throaty and arrog...

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Troy Denning
Verlag: Del Rey (2001)
ISBN 10: 034542848X ISBN 13: 9780345428486
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Buchbeschreibung Del Rey, 2001. Gebundene Ausgabe. Buchzustand: Gebraucht. Gebraucht - Gut - 624 pp. Artikel-Nr. INF3002880774

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