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Invincible

Novels > Post Original Trilogy Novels > Legacy of the Force

Invincible

Author:
Troy Denning

Publisher:
Del Rey

Release date:
May 13, 2008

Series:
Legacy of the Force

Star Wars Saga Timeline:
41 ABY

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PLOT

No war can last forever. Now, in the long and punishing battle between the defiant champions of the New Jedi Order and the juggernaut that is the Galactic Alliance, the endgame is finally at hand. With so much lost–and nothing less than the course of the future still at stake–there can be no turning back. No matter the consequences.

The rebel cause is losing ground under the twin blows of Admiral Gilad Pellaeon’s assassination and the death of Mara Jade Skywalker. At the same time, having gained the support of the Imperial Remnant and its ruthlessly efficient forces, the Galactic Alliance, with the extraordinary power and dark brilliance of newly ascendant Sith Lord Darth Caedus at its helm, may be unstoppable. Tormented and torn between the call of duty and the thirst for vengeance, Luke has searched the Force and beheld an unspeakable vision of the galaxy enslaved under tyranny more monstrous than even Palpatine’s. Now it seems that the last, best hope lies in mobilizing the scattered Jedi for one decisive search-and-destroy mission. The objective: eliminate Darth Caedus.

It’s a plan that will be as difficult and dangerous to execute as it is daring. For Caedus is a scion of both the Skywalker and Solo bloodlines whose command of the Force surpasses even that of his grandfather Darth Vader. There is only one who is bound by destiny to stand against him in what will surely be a duel to the death, only one with an outside chance of bringing down the dark lord who was once Jacen Solo.

Failure is not an option. The furious final moments between power and peace are here, and whoever confronts Darth Caedus will decide the outcome–and the fate of those left standing.

SUMMARY

This book continues where Revelation left off. Jaina is having flashbacks of her brother Jacen (when he still was her brother, as opposed to now that he is Caedus). It starts with a flashback to the time when they were being held captive in the Shadow Academy, and Jacen comes to rescue her. Incidentally, the chapters in the book all start with classic Jacen Solo corny jokes.

We then are transported back to the present, where Jaina has accompanied Boba Fett on a mission to inspect things on the Verpine world of Nickel One, since the Mandalorians now have a deal with the Verpine in making their new starships. Part of that deal includes protecting the Verpine, and it isn’t long before the deal is put into effect. The Moffs have sent an Imperial fleet and a landing party to come and assume control of the installation. They are armed with a particular kind of airborne toxin (a nano-toxin) that can selectively kill the warrior caste, while not harming the Verpine of the labour or technician castes. Jaina and Fett help out with the fight, but Fett soon orders Jaina to escape, as her mission is to track down Jacen and kill him. Interestingly, not long after, Jacen arrives on Nickel One and forces his way into the installation where he basically tells the Moffs that he will be assuming control of Nickel One for their own protection.

Jaina heads to the transitory mists in the Hapes cluster, where the Jedi have made their new base. She goes before the Jedi council with a proposal – that Jacen needs to be defeated – killed if necessary – and that she should be the one to do it. She has a whole speech worked out, but is surprised when they agree with her. Although they seemingly debate it, it turns out they have been discussing this for some time, and have reached the same conclusion. There was some hope that Luke would go after Jacen, but he has fears that, if he does, he would be consumed by the Dark Side, as he has personal reasons for going after Jacen, and is tainted after murdering Lumiya. He has been looking into the future, and all of the paths lead to darkness for him if he goes after Jacen.

The first part of the hunt for Jacen involves Jaina, Leia, and Ben heading to Coruscant. Ben is supposed to meet up with his good friend, Captain Lon Shevu, to see what he can find out about Jacen. He feels in the Force that he is being watched, although can’t be sure that any threat is directed at him. He goes to the meeting place, but rather than openly talk to Shevu, they engage in a conversation as if they are total strangers just chatting, using code words to get their meaning to one another. Shevu passes on to Ben that Caedus is now on Nickel One and will be remaining there for the time being. Shortly after divulging this, though, they are ambushed by a GAG squad led by Tahiri. Shevu creates a diversion for Ben, allowing himself to be captured. Ben tries to escape in the opposite direction from Jaina and Leia, so that they won’t be caught (he is thinking like a GAG officer, not a Jedi). Despite a good fight, he is subdued and captured as well – but not before he transmits the info about Jacen on Nickel One. Jaina and Leia go after him at first, but then see that it is clearly another trap for them, and have to abandon Ben and head back to the Mists with their new information.

Before they arrive, they are given new coordinates to rendezvous with the Jedi and the Hapan fleet. The Solos are not excited about having to tell Luke that Ben was captured. To their surprise, he tells them he knew he was going to be captured – he had seen it in a vision before he even sent them. This angers Han and Leia, as they are concerned that Luke may be edging toward the dark side in trying to take out Jacen. However, it is clear from Luke that he is heartbroken at what he has had to do. He explains that he is trying to use the Force to alter Jacen’s perceptions of the future, and therefore not be able to see Jaina coming for him. He therefore is trying to follow the visions he is having quite closely, so as not to make Jacen suspicious, but alter them subtly. Their next mission is an attack on Nickel One, and Jaina is to be put in a drop suit and fired like a torpedo to make her way down planetside. Han, Leia, Luke, and Saba are going to be flying her in in a blastboat. Han is not happy about the plan, but in the end Jaina convinces him.

The plan is simple – the blastboats go after the imp star destroyer Harbinger while the Jedi StealthXs slip in to destroy the loading dock. During the confusion, Jaina is to drop onto the asteroid and sneak in to hunt down Jacen. Luke confuses everyone by saying the Wookiee Owools will not be flying on the mission, stating instead cryptically “Our escorts will be waiting there”. When they arrive, their “escorts” turn out to be the mandalorians, who have been in system trying to figure out how to help their allies. Fett and Luke have a somewhat odd conversation, and through it, and the following events, it is clear that both think they are using the other to get what they want. Luke isn’t happy about the idea, but knows it is the only way. The mandalorian fighters therefore fly escort, and Jaina slips in (barely undetected – she almost blows it by shooting down a ship going after her parents’ blastboat). In the asteroid, she takes down an imperial squad and sneaks in, only to meet up with a mandalorian squad that includes her friend, Mirta Gev. While they agree to work together, both clearly have their own agendas – She wants Jacen, the rest want to kill the Moffs. They work their way in and find where the Moffs are. Jaina has had no feeling of where Jacen could be. Despite her reluctance, the Mandos decide to go for the Moffs.

It is in the midst of the attack on the Moffs that Jacen chooses to appear and starts taking them down. Jaina watches in horror as Jacen uses the Force to lift Mirta up and crash her down on her head, breaking her neck. He proceeds to dismantle the other mandos, including one in whom, to Jaina’s astonishment, he shatters their beskar’gam by simply tapping it with his lightsaber pommel. Jaina figures out that he has used the Jedi skill of shatterpoint to do it, but is surprised as she thought the last person to master that was Mace Windu. Despite her surprise, she fires off three rounds with her sniper rifle (projectiles, not lasers, so they can’t be deflected) and hits Jacen in the shoulder with the second. Jacen is still able to easily dispatch the mandalorians, though, and then turns his attention to the assassin in the projection booth who has shot him, ordering the Moffs and stormtroopers back while he deals with it.

Up in space, the battle is raging fiercely. There are significant losses on all sides, including the mando. The blastboat with the Solos and Luke Skywalker is under siege, and when Han tries to get Luke to bring the shields back on line, they realize he is deep in meditation, seemingly dead.

The reason for Luke’s meditation is apparent down on the asteroid. When Caedus jumps up into the projection booth to face his foe, he is driven back, and the face he sees is that of Luke. Jaina, for her part, feels her force energies enhanced as she battles her brother. She has him on the ropes until, in a desperate act, he heaves one of the mandalorian bodies at her with the force, hitting her in the head and causing a significant gash. She is seemingly dead, with no movement, and so Jacen wonders if she is dead (although he thinks it is Luke, so he is extremely jubilant, feeling that he has finished off his former master and current nemesis who has been plaguing his dreams of late). He tosses a grenade to make sure, and he is not completely surprised, although disappointed, when it changes directions in mid air. Following the explosion, Jaina tosses the mandalorian off, but not before borrowing its Beskad. She goes at Jacen with it and her saber, and in short order cleaves off his left arm. Jacen’s arm sprays blood (as the beskad doesn’t cauterize as the saber would have), and some hits Jaina in the neck and chest, burning like acid. She comes to finish him off, and is just starting to slice through his leg when she is slammed with force lightning back into the wall. It is at this point that Jacen sees her as Jaina, and he is confused now, wondering where Luke has gotten to. She is somewhat confused when he asks where Luke is, but she doesn’t have time to dwell on it as some stormtroopers arrive and start firing. She decides to retreat to the safety of the projection booth, and is again surprised when Jacen orders them to redirect their fire to the corner at Skywalker. Due to her injuries, Jaina is reluctantly forced to retreat, and she is brought back to the fleet and they all escape back to the Jedi base.

Interspersed throughout the action are occasional chapters which offer some insight into Jacen’s thoughts. He sees himself as different from previous Sith – he sees them as having cut themselves off from everything they loved to avoid the possibility of betrayal, and also of seeing everything in a very self-absorbed way – their galaxy, their destiny, etc. He felt his mission was to serve, not to be served, and still thought that he was serving and not the reverse, with admittedly some mistakes along the way. He also knew that he still loved Allana, and would not give her up. In fact, he had a vision of her dressed as a queen, ruling in a council full of wise and intelligent people.

Back on Coruscant, Ben is being interrogated by Double-Ex, a specialized interrogation droid right out of someone’s worst nightmare. Ben is a pro, though, after spending time with GAG, and does not divulge the location of the Jedi base. Tahiri decides to interrogate him herself, and initially tries seduction. Ben is a bit turned on, but realizes what is going on and refuses to talk. This annoys Tahiri, and she tries something different – she takes Ben to the cell holding Shevu and threatens Shevu if Ben won’t talk. Ben refuses, and as the interrogation continues, Tahiri unleashes Force lightning on Shevu, and he suddenly flat lines. Tahiri is horrified and tries to get the MD droid to revive him, but it is to no avail. She blames Ben for the death, and when he still refuses to talk, she slaps him – and he uses the momentum to roll his hoverchair over and force hurls Tahiri into the two guards. He uses the force to depress the buttons on the remote that release his manacles, and as one of the guards is about to fire a stun bolt at him, he twists the barrel so it hits Tahiri, knocking her unconscious. He then disarms the two guards who promptly surrender. Ben then escapes along with the body of his fallen friend. He makes his way back to the Jedi base, meeting up with two relatives of Tenel Ka who are Hapan security operatives to escort him back. On the way, he discovers that he has been followed by Double-Ex, and manages to dispatch him – but not before leading Tahiri and the Anakin Solo to his rendezvous with Prince Isolder’s ship, who is supposed to be escorting him to the Transitory Mists. Isolder is captured by Tahiri, and Ben and the two females go on alone.

When Ben arrives back at the base, the Jedi have already decided on a plan. Jaina had noticed that the blood spatter is still on her. Her parents don’t believe it is blood, but Luke tells her it is a special Force technique used by the nightsisters, and that Jacen will now be able to track Jaina to the Jedi base (which Jacen seems to be able to use to generally track a target, such as to a specific planet, but not to a precise location). They decide to try to set a trap for Caedus. Jaina uses her time to recover and also to spar to show that she is ready to fight. She also finds out that Luke, as well, has mastered the Force technique of Shatterpoint, and Luke teaches it to her.

Soon thereafter, Caedus arrives in system. Jaina and Zekk are out a ways from the Jedi base, and try to lure the group (without making it look obvious) down a corridor in the mists towards an ambush by the Hapan fleet. As they flee down the corridor, Zekk and Jaina are bombarded, and Jaina’s ship is badly damaged, and Zekk is seemingly killed. However, the battle then really starts, and as StealthXs and Bes’uliiks are pounding the Anakin Solo, Jaina manages to make a run and get herself on board.

As the battle rages on, Jacen is supremely confident that they will win the day. The Anakin Solo has taken a beating, and there are multiple breaches, but his visions, especially of a royal Allana, convince him that he is nearing victory. The Moffs are less confident, and are worried about losing their fleet that they have brought along. Tahiri tells Jacen they are getting antsy, and recommends that they flow walk back to tell someone about the ambush, thus averting the many casualties. Jacen explains to her that flow walking cannot really change the past, only ones perception of it. Tahiri is extremely angry that Jacen had tricked her about the flow walking and kissing Anakin, and lets him know. She is still calling him names when they reach the Moffs, who are surprised, but still offer their plan to Lord Caedus. To help tip the odds in their favour, they suggest producing a nanotoxin targeted at Tenel Ka, using Isolder’s genes. They figure that many of the officers in the Hapan fleet are going to be related, and should therefore be targeted. They propose flying it toward Tenel Ka’s ship in a crippled missile boat, looking like allies in distress. Jacen openly seems intrigued, but inwardly is horrified. He knows the nanotoxin will also affect Allana, and that she likely is on the ship with Tenel Ka. He therefore vetoes the plan, saying that they are going to win anyway. Just in case, he then goes to see Isolder to try to get him to escape. Isolder senses that it must be a trap (which it isn’t – Jacen wants to let him leave so they can’t get his DNA and therefore attack Allana), and therefore refuses. Jacen tries (at least half-heartedly) to convince him, and when he can’t, he uses the break his neck and kill him. He then takes the body down to be incinerated.

Jaina meanwhile has been making progress. She captures a female GAG officer and trades clothes, and pretends to be taking a prisoner to a cell. The GAG officer let’s slip that there is a Mandalorian female in the prison cell, and Jaina figures out that it is Mirta, who has miraculously survived. Jaina feels guilty for having abandoned her, and is not sure what Boba Fett will think (she has already told him that she died). Jaina goes to rescue her, but finds that Mirta can’t walk. She leaves Mirta with a gun for protection, then heads off after Jacen.

Jaina finally tracks Jacen down near the incinerator. Before she does, Jacen finds out from the obstinate droid who oversees the place that several tissue samples have already been taken. He realizes instantly that the Moffs have betrayed him, and already have the tissue for the nanotoxin. He calls the launch deck to tell them not to let any imperials leave, but finds out a missile boat has just left. He tries to leave immediately to chase them, but encounters Jaina. He tries to tell her Allana is in danger and he needs to get to her, but she doesn’t believe him. They have a long battle, with both suffering severe injuries. In the end, Jaina lands a clean blow across his chest, slicing through his heart. She senses, just before he does, that his thoughts reach out in warning to his daughter, Allana. Jaina is severely injured, but is rescued by Zekk, who she tasks also with getting Mirta Gev.

Back on the planet’s surface, Ben and his two female escorts find out that there has been a coup attempt. There has been word about the attack on the queen (and word gets out that Allana has been killed in the ordeal), and so the typical Hapan opportunists try to take advantage. Ben and the two females (Taryn and Trista) will have none of it, and subdue the mutiny on the surface. They then find out that one of the senior officers has allowed an Imperial raiding party to get in, so they go after them. The party is trying to destroy the Jedi complex, and it is lead by Tahiri. Ben, Taryn, and Trista, along with some other Hapans, manage to thwart them. In the end, Ben finally convinces Tahiri to leave the way of the Sith and come back to the Jedi.

A number of things wrap up at the end of the book. A galaxy wide truce is declared, and Admiral Daala is named Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance. The Moffs are nearly killed (and would have been if Han had his way), but are offered a deal – they are allowed to go back to their Empire and will not face death or prison if they agree to let Jag Fel be their leader, taking the place of Pellaeon. Jag is more surprised than the Moffs, and although reluctant, feels a sense of duty and agrees to it. And finally, in the closing paragraphs, Jaina is finally let in on a little secret that very few people know – and it walks through the door in the form of her little niece, Allana. She has survived, and will live as an orphan with the Solos to protect her identity.

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