Star Wars Crosscurrent

Star Wars Crosscurrent

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by Paul S. Kemp

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An ancient Sith ship hurtles into the future carrying a lethal cargo that could forever destroy Luke Skywalker’s hopes for peace.
The Civil War is almost over when Jedi Knight Jaden Korr experiences a Force vision so intense he must act. Enlisting two salvage jocks and their ship, Jaden sets out into space. Someone—or something—appears


An ancient Sith ship hurtles into the future carrying a lethal cargo that could forever destroy Luke Skywalker’s hopes for peace.
The Civil War is almost over when Jedi Knight Jaden Korr experiences a Force vision so intense he must act. Enlisting two salvage jocks and their ship, Jaden sets out into space. Someone—or something—appears to be in distress.

But what Jaden and his crew find confounds them. A five-thousand-year-old dreadnaught—bringing with it a full force of Sith and one lone Jedi—has inadvertently catapulted eons from the past into the present. The ship’s weapons may not be cutting-edge, but its cargo, a special ore that makes those who use the dark side nearly invincible, is unsurpassed. The ancient Jedi on board is determined to destroy the Sith. But for Jaden, even more is at stake: for his vision has led him to uncover a potentially indestructible threat to everything the Jedi Order stands for.

Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!

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Random House Publishing Group
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Star Wars Series
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Chapter One

The Past: 5,000 years before the Battle of Yavin

The crust of Phaegon III’s largest moon burned, buckled, and crumbled under the onslaught. Sixty-four specially equipped cruisers—little more than planetary-bombardment weapons systems with a bit of starship wrapped around them—flew in a suborbital, longitudinal formation. The sleek silver cruisers, their underbellies aglow in reflected destruction, struck Saes as unexpectedly beautiful. How strange that they could unleash annihilation in such warm, glorious colors.

Plasma beams shrieked from the bow of each cruiser and slammed into the arboreal surface of the moon, shimmering green umbilicals that wrote words of ruin across the surface and saturated the world in fire and pain. Dust and a swirl of thick black smoke churned in the atmosphere as the cruisers methodically vaporized large swaths of the moon’s surface.

The bright light and black smoke of destruction filled Harbinger’s viewscreen, drowning out the orange light of the system’s star. Except for the occasional beep of a droid or a murmured word, the bridge crew sat in silence, their eyes fixed alternately on their instruments and the viewscreen. Background chatter on the many comm channels droned over the various speakers, a serene counterpoint to the chaos of the moon’s death. Saes’s keen olfactory sense caught a whiff of his human crew’s sweat, spiced with the tang of adrenaline.

Watching the cruisers work, watching the moon die, Saes was reminded of the daelfruits he’d enjoyed in his youth. He had spent many afternoons under the sun of his homeworld, peeling away the daelfruit’s coarse, brown rind to get at the core of sweet, pale flesh.

Now he was peeling not a fruit but an entire moon.

The flesh under the rind of the moon’s crust—the Lignan they were mining—would ensure a Sith victory in the battle for Kirrek and improve Saes’s place in the Sith hierarchy. He would not challenge Shar Dakhon immediately, of course. He was still too new to the Sith Order for that. But he would not wait overlong.

Evil roots in unbridled ambition, Relin had told him once.

Saes smiled. What a fool his onetime Master had been. Naga Sadow rewarded ambition.

“Status?” he queried his science droid, 8K6.

The fires in the viewscreen danced on the anthropomorphic droid’s reflective silver surface as it turned from its instrument console to address him.

“Thirty-seven percent of the moon’s crust is destroyed.”

Wirelessly connected to the console’s readout, the droid did not need to glance back for an update on the information as the cruisers continued their work.

“Thirty-eight percent. Thirty-nine.”

Saes nodded, turned his attention back to the viewscreen. The droid fell silent.

Despite Harbinger’s distance from the surface, the Force carried back to Saes the terror of the pre-sentient primates that populated the moon’s surface. Saes imagined the small creatures fleeing through the trees, screeching, relentlessly pursued by, and inevitably consumed in, fire. They numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Their fear caressed his mind, as faint, fleeting, and pleasing as morning fog.

His fellow Sith on Harbinger and Omen would be feeling the same thing as the genocide progressed to its inexorable conclusion. Perhaps even the Massassi aboard each ship would, in their dim way, perceive the ripples in the Force.

Long ago, when Saes had been a Jedi, before he had come to understand the dark side, such wholesale destruction of life might have struck him as wrong. He knew better now. There was no absolute right and wrong. There was only power. And those who wielded it defined right and wrong for themselves. That realization was the freedom offered by the dark side and the reason the Jedi would fall, first at Kirrek, then at Coruscant, then all over the galaxy.

“Temperature in the wake?” he asked.

The science droid consulted the sensor data on its compscreen. “Within the tolerance of the harvester droids.”

Saes watched the cruisers slide through the atmosphere and light the moon on fire. He turned in his command chair to face his second in command, Los Dor. Dor’s mottled, deep red skin looked nearly black in the dim light of the bridge. His yellow eyes mirrored the moon’s fires. He never seemed to look up into Saes’s eyes, instead focusing his gaze on the twin horns that jutted from the sides of Saes’s jaw.

Saes knew Dor was as much a spy for Naga Sadow as he was an ostensible aide to himself. Among other things, Dor was there to ensure that Saes returned the Lignan—all of the Lignan—to Sadow’s forces at Primus Goluud.

The tentacles on Dor’s face quivered, and the cartilaginous ridges over his eyes rose in a question.

“Give the order to launch the harvester droids, Colonel,” Saes said to him. “Harbinger’s and Omen’s.”

“Yes, Captain,” Dor responded. He turned to his console and transmitted the order to both ships.

The honorific Captain still struck Saes’s hearing oddly. He was accustomed to leading hunting parties as a First, not ships as a Captain.

In moments hundreds of cylindrical pods streaked out of Harbinger’s launching bay, and hundreds more flew from her sister ship, Omen, all of them streaking across the viewscreen. They hit the atmosphere and spat lines of fire as they descended. The sight reminded Saes of a pyrotechnic display.

“Harvester droids away,” 8K6 intoned.

“Stay with the droids and magnify,” Saes said.

“Copy,” answered Dor, and nodded at the young human helmsman who controlled the viewscreen.

The harvester droids’ trajectories placed them tens of kilometers behind the destruction wrought by the mining cruisers. Most of them were lost to sight in the smoke, but the helmsman kept the viewscreen’s perspective on a dozen or so that descended through a clear spot in the sky.

“Attrition among the droids upon entry is negligible,” said 8K6. “Point zero three percent.”

The helmsman further magnified the viewscreen again, then again.

Five kilos above the surface, the droids arrested their descent with thrusters, unfolded into their insectoid forms, and gently dropped to the charred, superheated surface. Anti-grav servos and platform pads on their six legs allowed them to walk on the smoking ruin without harm.

“Give me a view from one of the droids.”

“Copy, sir,” said Dor.

The helm worked his console, and half the viewscreen changed to a perspective of a droid’s-eye view of the moon. A murmur ran through the bridge crew, an exhalation of awe. Even 8K6 looked up from the instrumentation.

The voice of Captain Korsin, commander of Harbinger’s sister ship, Omen, broke through the comm chatter and boomed over the bridge speakers.

“That is a sight.”

“It is,” Saes answered.

Smoke rose in wisps from the exposed subcrust. The heat of the plasma beams had turned the charred surface as hard and brittle as glass. Thick cracks and chasms lined the subcrust, veins through which only smoke and ash flowed. Waves of heat rose from the surface, distorting visibility and giving the moon an otherworldly, dream-like feel.

Hundreds of harvester droids dotted the surface, metal flies clinging to the moon’s seared corpse. Walking in their awkward, insectoid manner, they arranged themselves into orderly rows, their high-pitched droidspeak mere chatter in the background.

“Sensors activating,” intoned 8K6.

As one, long metal proboscises extended from each of the droids’ faces. They ambled along in the wake of the destruction, waving their proboscises over the surface like dowsing rods, fishing the subsurface for the telltale molecular signature of Lignan.

Thinking of the Lignan, Saes licked his lips, tasted a faint flavor of phosphorous. He had handled a small Lignan crystal years before and still remembered the charge he had felt while holding it. His connection with that crystal had been the first sign of his affinity for the dark side.

The unusual molecular structure of Lignan attuned it to the dark side and enhanced a Sith’s power when using the Force. The Sith had not been able to locate any significant deposits of the crystals in recent decades—until now, until just before the battle for Kirrek. And it was Saes who had done it.

A few standard months ago, Naga Sadow had charged Saes with locating some deposits of the rare crystal for use in the war. It was a test, Saes knew. And Los Dor, his ostensible aide, was grading him. The Force had given Saes his answer, had brought him eventually, and at the last possible moment before the conflict began, to Phaegon III. The Force had used him as a tool to ensure Sith victory.

The realization warmed him. His scaled skin creaked as he adjusted his weight in his chair.

He would harvest enough Lignan from Phaegon III’s moon to equip almost every Sith Lord and Massassi warrior preparing for the assault on Kirrek. If he’d had more time, he could have mined the moon in a more methodical, less destructive fashion. But he did not have time, and Sadow would not tolerate delay.

So Saes had created his own right and wrong, and the primates and other life-forms on Phaegon III’s moon had died for it.

He tapped his forefinger on his lightsaber hilt—its curved form reminiscent of a claw—impatient to see the results of the droids’ sensor scans. He leaned forward in his chair when an excited beep announced the first discovery of a Lignan signature. Another joined it. Another. He shared a look with Dor and could not tell from the fix of Dor’s mouth, partially masked as it was by a beard of tentacles, if his colonel was pleased or displeased.

“There it is, Saes,” said Korsin from Omen. “We’ve done it.”

From the Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Paul S. Kemp is the author of nine Forgotten Realms fantasy novels and many short stories. When he’s not writing, he practices corporate law in Michigan, which has inspired him to write some really believable villains. He digs cigars, single malt scotch, and ales, and tries to hum the theme song to Shaft at least once per day. Paul Kemp lives and works in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, with his wife, twin sons, and a couple of cats.

From the Paperback edition.

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Star Wars: Crosscurrent 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This new stand alone Star Wars novel fills the gap between the Second Galactic Civil War (Legacy of the Force series) and the new Fate of the Jedi series. It stars Jaden Korr, ambiguously defined hero of the video game Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. This book finally gives some of the details about Jaden Korr and what distinguishes him as a Jedi. It also manages to tie in the story of Jaden Korr's continuing inner struggle with the emerging storyline of the Sith tribe prominently featured in the Lost Tribe of the Sith ebooks and the Fate of the Jedi. However, this book deals with the sister-ship of the Omen, vehicle of the Sith tribe, so this story won't be a spoiler for any who haven't read Fate of the Jedi yet. Definitely a must read for anyone who played Jedi Academy as well as anyone interested in the ongoing Sith tribe storyline.
Skitch41 More than 1 year ago
This was a great SW novel. Mr. Kemp has made a huge first impression on me in writing this novel. Not only is the story interesting and highly engaging (I couldn't put down the book within the last 100 pages), but he did it without using a single character from any of the movies and you end up genuinely caring for everyone of these new characters by the end of the novel. Thus far, only Karen Traviss had dared to do something like that. I hope this will create a new wave of stories that are bound only by George Lucas's universe and not his characters as well. Don't get me wrong, I love those characters, but they have been overused a little too much. I do have one criticism of this novel though: the whole premise of this story is that Jedi of the Old Republic and Luke Skywalker's new order meet. While Mr. Kemp gives an excellent and reasonable explanation for how this could happen, the two characters' story lines never really affect each other. He could have written two separate novels and nothing would have been different. I wish that those two characters' fates had been more intertwined. All in all, a fine addition to the SW novel library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crosscurrent is a thrilling adventure with a new cast of interesting characters. I have not played Jedi Academy, so this is my first real encounter with Jaden's character. Kemp really did a good job at taking an underdeveloped character and giving him some depth. I also liked Khedryn and Marr; they have elements of Han and Chewie while having many unique qualities as well. Relin is an interesting character as well. Even though he was pretty much steeped in the dark side for the second half of the book I still sympathised with him. I thought Saes was okay as the typical deluded sith; although his character was stereotypical, he still filled in the necessary role of Relin's opposite. As for the lignan, I thought it was believable, it was after all mentioned in Precipice, as was Saes. This was another thing that Kemp pulled off well; he took the beginning of Precipice and expanded on it, giving it detail. The only real major problem with this novel was Kell Douro. While he was an interesting character, I feel he was completely out of place here. His storyline had almost no effect on the rest of the story, except that the clones stole his ship. He could have fit somewhere else, but not in this novel. Although he did let us see Darth Wyyrlok and learn that some people in the galaxy are aware of Krayt, he mostly just bogged down the novel. Overall this is a well crafted adventure story and some cool new characters and situations, although the pacing was almost too fast for my liking. Either that or I just couldn't put it down because it was so enjoyable. Paul Kemp really did well at making this seem like a Star Wars novel and he made some very appropriate references that didn't seem contrived. A special nod to Darth Wyyrlok's cameo as a way to show how the One Sith deal with their isolation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel starts off a story that intertwines with many other stories in the EU of Star Wars. If you are just starting out reading SW or a die hard fan who's read many novels, this book is for you
M_S75 More than 1 year ago
The characters make the novel enjoyable. The dialogue is off and clunky (especially how the characters seem to wander back and forth from the habit of using contractions in a manner that doesn't seem natural). What seems like the A-plot at the beginning (involving Jaden) kind of takes a backseat to the (IMO) much-less-interesting B-plot of the ancient Sith ship and leaves the A-plot for the last several chapters of the book. Despite what seems very two-dimensional, I did come to really enjoy the relationship that develops between the three main characters and was surprised to find myself looking forward to reading the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Star Wars,but this was not the best book.This is not recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a terrible Star Wars book but not a particularly great one either. It doesn't help that it doesn't feature any established characters.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of good action and an interesting plot twist or two. It was a bit predictable and many of the characters seemed like ports from the main star wars cast. The whole lines of fate thing was a bit odd... i didnt care for that aspect of th story but other than those few things i did have quite some fun with this read and it reads fast. Any fan should try it out.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book would like to buy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome! Has all the classic Star Wars essence, from space battles, jedi vs. Sith duels, even mystery that leaves you guessing! It ends on a cliffhanger that you'll immediately want to buy the sequel Riptide! I loved this book immensely and I'm sure you will too!
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Dave Maynard More than 1 year ago
I like
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