Star Wars The New Jedi Order #10: Dark Journey

Star Wars The New Jedi Order #10: Dark Journey

by Elaine Cunningham

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The New Jedi Order continues as Jaina Solo struggles with anger and despair after the Jedi Knights’ harrowing adventure behind enemy lines.

Though the Jedi strike force completed its deadly mission into Yuuzhan Vong territory, the price of success was tragedy: not everyone made it out alive. In a daring getaway, hotshot pilot Jaina Solo stole an enemy ship, taking along her fellow survivors—and leaving behind a huge piece of her heart.

With the enemy in hot pursuit, Jaina is forced to seek haven in the unprotected, unfriendly Hapes Cluster, where the Jedi are held responsible for a past tragedy—and where the royal family has grim plans for their famous Jedi guest. Even more sinister are the intentions of the Yuuzhan Vong, desperate to capture Jaina for a hideous sacrifice.

Grief-stricken and obsessed with revenge, Jaina is blind to these threats—and to the overpowering evil dangerously close to consuming her. In the coming conflagration, Jaina will be fighting not for victory or vengeance, but for her very being.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345428691
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/29/2002
Series: Star Wars: The New Jedi Order Series , #10
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 106,266
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

A former music and history teacher, Elaine Cunningham has written more than a dozen fantasy novels and many short stories. She is best known for the Songs & Swords books, particularly Elfshadow, a mystery in a fantasy setting. She lives with her family in a coastal New England town.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Two

Anakin is dead. Jacen is gone.

These thoughts resounded through Jaina Solo's benumbed senses, echoing through an inner silence as profound as that of the watchful stars.

These thoughts drowned out the sounds of battle, and the frantic, running commentary of the seven young Jedi who struggled to fly the stolen Yuuzhan Vong ship. Like her companions, Jaina was battered and filthy from days of captivity, and from a battle that had lasted too long and cost too much.

Only eight Jedi had fought their way out of the world-ship and onto this smaller ship, bringing with them the body of their young leader. The survivors had taken the
Yuuzhan Vong frigate analog quickly, with astonishing ease. Jaina had a dim recollection of searing anger and killing light, of her friend Zekk pushing her away from the pilot's seat and into the Yuuzhan Vong equivalent of a gunner's chair. She perched there now on the edge of the too-large seat, firing missiles of molten rock at the coralskippers pursuing the Jedi and their stolen ship.

Jaina watched with a strange sense of detachment as the alien ship released plasma at her command, as the death of coralskippers and their Yuuzhan Vong pilots was painted in brief, brilliant splashes against the dark canvas of space. All of this was a fever dream, nothing more, and Jaina was merely a character caught in her own nightmare.

Jacen is gone.

It didn't seem possible. It wasn't possible. Jacen was alive. He had to be. How could she be alive if Jacen was not? Her twin brother had been a part of her, and she of him, since before their birth. What they were could not be separated from what they were to each other.

Her thoughts tumbled like an X-wing in an out-of-control spiral. Jaina's pilot instincts kicked in, and she eased herself out of the spin.

Reaching out through the Force, she strained beyond the boundaries of her power and training as she sought her brother. Where Jacen had been was only blackness,
as unfathomable as space. She went deep within, frantically seeking the place within her that had always been
Jacen's. That, too, was veiled.

Jacen was gone. Jaina did not feel bereft, but sundered.
A burst of plasma flared toward the stolen ship. Jaina responded with one of her own. It streamed toward the incoming plasma bolt like a vengeful comet. The two missiles met in a tidal wave.

Zekk threw himself to one side, straining the umbilicals on the pilot's gloves in his attempt to pull the ship aside from the killing spray.

Fortunately for the Jedi, their Yuuzhan Vong pursuers were also forced to turn aside. This bought them a moment of relative peace--no immediate danger, no obvious target.

Jaina twisted in her seat until she could see the world-ship where Anakin had fallen, where Jacen had been abandoned. It seemed odd, and somehow wrong, that such a terrible place could be reduced to a small lump of black coral.

"We'll be back, Jacen," she promised. "You hold on,
and we'll come for you."

I'll come for you, she added silently. She would go after Jacen alone, if it came down to that, as Anakin had gone to Yavin 4 to rescue Tahiri.

Now Anakin was dead, and a battered and heart-broken
Tahiri watched over his body. The small blond girl blazed in the Force like a nova--Jaina couldn't help but feel her anguish. The severed bond was different from that shared by twins, but perhaps no less intense.

The realization hit her like a thud bug. Anakin and
Tahiri. How strange--and yet it felt right and perfect.

Tears filled Jaina's eyes, refracting an incoming streak of molten gold into lethal rainbows. In the pilot's seat,
Zekk muttered a curse and wrenched the frigate's nose up and hard to port. The alien ship rose in a sharp, gut-
wrenching arc. Plasma scorched along the frigate's underside,
sheering off the irregular coral nodules with a shrill, ululating screech.

Jaina jerked her left hand from its living glove and fisted away her tears through the cognition hood that covered her face. Meanwhile the fingers of her right hand slid and circled as she deftly brought her target into focus. She jammed her left hand back into the glove and squeezed it into a fist, releasing a burst of plasma at the attacking coralskipper--an instant before it launched a second plasma.

Jaina's missile struck the Yuuzhan Vong ship in that minuscule interval between shielding and attack. Shards of black coral exploded from its hull, and the snout heated to an ominous red as molten rock washed over it. Cracks fissured through the Yuuzhan Vong pilot's viewport.

Again Jaina fired, and again, timing the attacks with skill honed through two long years and too many missions.
The coralskipper's projected gravity well swallowed the first missile; the second proved to be too much for the severely compromised hull. The ship broke apart,
spilling its life out into the emptiness of space.

"I know that feeling," Jaina muttered.

A small, strong hand settled on her shoulder. She felt
Tenel Ka's solid presence through the Force--there, but profoundly different. A moment passed before Jaina realized why: her friend's emotions, usually as straight-forward and unambiguous as a drawn blaster, had been carefully shielded.

"We are doing the right thing for Jacen," Tenel Ka said stoutly. "Because they have only one twin, they will harm neither. We suspected as much, but now we have proof.
They are not trying to destroy this ship."

"Couldn't prove it by me," Zekk muttered as he jinked sharply to avoid another plasma blast.

"Fact," the warrior woman said bluntly. "Zekk, for two years you've flown cargo ships--a true contribution,
but poor training for this escape."

"Yeah? Here's another fact: I haven't gotten us killed yet."

"And here are several more," Tenel Ka retorted.
"Jaina was in Rogue Squadron. She had access to New
Republic intelligence on enemy ships. She has survived more dogfights than anyone here. If we are to survive,
you must let her fly."

Zekk started to protest, but another barrage cut him off. He zigzagged wildly to avoid incoming fire and then put the ship into a tumbling evasive dive. The force threw Tenel Ka into the seat behind the pilot. She muttered something in her native language as she struggled into the restraining loops.

Jaina braced her feet against the irregular coral floor and steeled herself for the punishing buildup of g-force.
She expected her cognition hood to bulge out like the jowls of a Dagobian swamp lizard, but it remained comfortably in place. She filed the data away for future use.
In any New Republic ship, this maneuver would have been punishing; apparently, the internal gravity of a Yuuzhan
Vong ship was far more complex and adaptable.

Even so, for several moments speech was impossible.
Jaina quickly ran through the list of survivors as she considered Tenel Ka's words. Nine Jedi remained, just one more than half of their original strike force. Tahiri was only fifteen, and no pilot. She had been terribly wounded in body and spirit, and Tekli, the Chadra-Fan healer, was busy attending her. The reptilian Tesar, the sole survivor of the Barabel hatchmates, was working the shielding station in the stern. Lowbacca was needed everywhere,
and since their escape he'd been dashing about patching the living ship's wounds. When his efforts fell short, he'd alternately cajoled and threatened the ship in Wookiee terms so vivid that Em Teedee, the lost translator droid,
would have been hard-pressed to come up with genteel euphemisms.

That left Tenel Ka, Alema Rar, and Ganner Rhysode.
Jaina quickly dismissed Tenel Ka. Yuuzhan Yong ships were not designed with one-armed pilots in mind. Forget
Alema. The Twi'lek female was emotionally fragile--
Jaina could feel her teetering on the edge of mindless,
vengeful frenzy. Put Alema in the pilot's seat, and she'd likely plot a suicidal plunge directly at the worldship's dovin basal. Ganner was a powerful Jedi, an impressive-
looking man whose role in this mission had been to serve as decoy for the real leader--Anakin. Ganner had his points, but he wasn't enough of a pilot to get them out of this.

Tenel Ka was right, Jaina concluded. Anakin had died saving the Jedi from the deadly voxyn. He'd left his last mission in Jacen's hands, not hers, but she was the one left to see it through. The Jedi--at least the Jedi on this ship--were now her responsibility.

A small voice nudged into Jaina's consciousness,
barely audible over the screaming dive and the thrum and groan of the abused ship. In some dim corner of her mind huddled a small figure, weeping in anguish and indecision. Jaina slammed the door and silenced her broken heart.

"I need Ganner to take over for me," she said as soon as she could speak.

A look of concern crossed Tenel Ka's face, but she shrugged off her restraints and rose. In moments she re-
turned with the older Jedi.

"Someone has to take my place at gunner," Jaina explained.
She stood up without removing either the gloves or hood. "No time for a learning curve--better work with me until you get the feel of it. The seat's big enough for both of us."

After a brief hesitation, Ganner slipped into the chair.
Jaina quickly settled into his lap.

He chuckled and linked his hands around her waist.
"This could get to be a habit."

"Hold that thought," Jaina told him as she sighted down an incoming skip. "It'll keep your hands busy."

A surge of annoyance came from Zekk, but Jaina understood Ganner's flirtation for what it was. Ganner was big, jet-black-haired, and so absurdly handsome that he reminded Jaina of the old holovids of Prince Isolder.
The scar across one cheek only served to heighten the overall effect. When Ganner turned on the charm, his pheromone count probably rivaled a Falleen's, but Jaina knew a shield when she saw one. Not long ago, Jacen had disguised his thoughtful nature with labored jokes. Perhaps it was best to leave Ganner's defenses safely intact.

"Put your hands in the gloves and rest your fingers on mine," she directed.

As Ganner wriggled his hands into the flexible gloves,
Jaina reached out for him through the Force. She lacked
Jacen's empathy, but could convey images to Ganner using her own force talent.

As she aimed and fired, she formed mental pictures of what she saw--the battle as viewed through the greatly expanded vision granted by the cognition hood, the blurry concentric circles that made up the targeting device.
Through the Force she felt the grim intensity of
Ganner's concentration, sensed a mind and will as focused as a laser. Soon his fingers began moving with hers in a precise duet. When she thought him ready, she slid her hands free, then tugged off the hood as she eased out of his lap. She pulled the hood down over Ganner's head.

The Jedi jolted as he made direct connection with the ship. He quickly collected himself and sent plasma hurtling to meet an incoming ball. The two missiles col-
lided,sending molten rock splashing into space like festival fireworks.

Ganner's crow of triumph was swallowed by the ship's groan and shudder. Several bits of molten stone had splashed the frigate despite its shielding singularity and
Zekk's attempts at evasion.

"Tenel Ka is right," Jaina said. "Let me have her, Zekk."

The pilot shook his hooded head and put the ship into a rising turn. "Forget it. You're in no condition for this."

She planted her fists on her hips. "Yeah? Everyone here could use a few days in a bacta tank, you included."

"That's not what I meant. No one could be expected to fly after losing . . . after what happened down there,"
he concluded lamely.

Silence hung between them, heavy with loss and pain and raw, too-vivid memories.

Then Jaina caught a glimpse of the memory that most disturbed Zekk--an image of a small, disheveled young woman in tattered jumpsuit, hurling lightning at a Yuuzhan
Vong warrior. A moment passed before Jaina recognized the furious, vengeful, bloodstained face as her own.

Suddenly she knew the truth of her old friend's concern.
Zekk, who had trained at the Shadow Academy and experienced the dark side firsthand, was as wary of it as Jacen had been. In taking the pilot's chair, Zekk hadn't been considering her loss, her state of mind. He simply didn't trust her.

Jaina braced herself for the pain of this new betrayal,
but none came. Perhaps losing Jacen had pushed her to some place beyond pain.

She brought to mind an image of the molten lightning that had come so instinctively to her call. She imbued it with so much power that the air nearly hummed with energy,
and the metallic scent of a thunderstorm seemed to lurk on the edge of sensory perception. She projected this image to her old friend as forcefully as she could.

"Get out of the seat, Zekk," she said in cool, controlled tones. "I don't want to fry the controls."

He hesitated for only a moment, then he ripped off the hood and rose. His green eyes met hers, filled with such a turmoil of sorrow and concern that Jaina slammed shut the Force connection between them. She knew that expression--she'd seen it in her mother's eyes many times during the terrible months that followed Chewbacca's death, when her father had been lost in grief and guilt.

No time for this now.

Jaina slid into the pilot's seat and let herself join with the ship. Her fingers moved deftly over the organic console,
confirming the sensory impulses that flowed to her through the hood. Yes, this was the hyperdrive analog.
Here was the forward shield. The navigation center remained a mystery to her, but during their captivity Low-bacca had tinkered a bit with one of the worldship's neural centers. The young Wookiee had a history of taking on impossible challenges, and this task lay right along his plotted coordinates.

Suddenly the shriek of warning sensors seared through
Jaina's mind. A chorus of wordless voices came at her from all over the ship.

The details of their situation engulfed her in a single swift flood. Several plasma bolts streamed toward them,
converging on the underside of the ship--so far, the favored target. Coralskippers had moved into position aft and above, and others were closing in from below and on either side. Another ship came straight on, still at a distance but closing fast.

No matter what she did, they could not evade the disabling barrage.

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Star Wars The New Jedi Order #10 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Mojobass More than 1 year ago
Elaine Cunningham, a Forgotten Realms juggernaut, took the opportunity to write this book with the suggestion of R.A. Salvatore. Wow! This book's suspense brought me back to one of my favorite Star Wars books, Cloak of Deception{a political thriller}. Dark Journey is a war suspense thriller that leaves you guessing, and unless you read spoilers, considering the futures of some key characters. Tenel Ka is also very much in the fore-front of this book. Fact. It does seem that the NJO scored a victory over the alien invaders with a Trickster on their side. Awesome read. Very fun!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read all the books up to this one in the NJO and Dark Journey is the most in depth and philosophical novel written to date! It goes in to the life of an extrodinary jedi knight and shows how easy it can be to be swayed over to the dark side in the most troubling times! It is a must read for any Star Wars fan and especially those who love a novel full of romance, deception, and action. You shouldn't be hestitant to pick up this book, you will NOT be upset! I warn you, you won't be able to put this novel down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Prior to it's release I had heard much hype surrounding Dark Journey. And that hype made it sound as if great things were to happen. As if a dark sider to the New Jedi Order was about to be unleashed. A darker side certainly was unleashed, the side that said "here's the first major dissapointment of the series". That's right, Dark Journey is the first major dissapointment. We are lead to believe that Jaina's fall to the dark side and her redemption will be of great importance. Yet they were only secondary to the real story. Hapan court intrigue. With all that was going on, Ta'a Chume's plans should have been a minor distraction from the plot, not the plot itself. Other low points in this story include: 1. The fact that both Kyp Durron, and Jag Fel, both of whom were rumored to have been major players, were barely there. 2. The book itself made it clear early on that Tenel Ka was to have a major role, especially considering the court intrigue, yet she had even less "screen time" than both Kyp and Jag and was of little importance at all. 3. The Yuzzhan Vong, who in all previous books clearly had an idea of what they were doing, are suddenly bumbling idiots who seem lucky enough to find their way to the Hapes Cluster despite knowing exactly where it is. 4. The Vong were supposed to pose a serious threat to the Hapes Cluster, but yet again their suddenly to stupid to be of any actual danger to anyone. The only high point in the story is Anakin Solo's funeral. We see a shroud covered body burned at the funeral, and we must believe it's Anakin's. Yet without a description to confirm this, such as "The light from the fire on his cheek's made it look as if Anakin was still alive", we have no idea if it's actually Anakin or someone his size. We know his body was brought to Hapes and that Leia saw it. But time elapsed between the arrival and the funeral. Time in which a body was tightly wrapped in an all concealing funeral shroud. Once again we are left with the chance for Anakin's return.
jonwwil on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As of this writing, there are six Star Wars films, covering approximately 36 years of galactic history, all hinging more or less on Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and his journey into and out of the Dark Side of the Force. His struggle between the desire to do good and the responsibility of wielding such an awesome power forms the basis of an epic tale. And yet, in the Expanded Universe, it seems as though Jedi characters slip in and out of the Dark Side as easily as they would a glove (likely the glove covering their mechanical hand, ha ha).This novel concerns itself primarily with Jaina Solo's seeming thirst for vengeance in the wake of her recent personal losses. The only problem is that it doesn't really seem like she's out for vengeance; she loses herself in figuring out how to use a particular aspect of Yuuzhan Vong biotechnology against the invaders. Sure, she tosses out some Force lightning, takes notorious outlaw Jedi Kyp Durron as her master, and then challenges him to a couple of fights for no apparent reason, but she doesn't use the Force to hurl the Yuuzhan Vong fleet into the nearest sun or even charge off into an ill-considered rescue mission.The problem with this novel isn't just Jaina's half-assed journey to the Dark Side; Jaina, it seems, is also dumb. Despite her losses, she turns away from her family and friends. Is that a likely response to what she's gone through? Perhaps...if her own father hadn't already gone through the exact same thing in a not-so-subtle manner. Given the turmoil that caused in their family, you'd think she might have learned something from it. She also remains oblivious to the machinations of Ta'a Chume, despite an assertion at the outset that she looked forward to dealing with someone so cunning, and she sort of stumbles into discovering whatever feelings she's developing for Jag Fel. She just seems totally clueless about herself and pretty much anything going on around her that isn't related to manipulating Yuuzhan Vong psychology and technology - a completely alien culture, mind you.Now, all that aside, I actually did like the plot. I think the concept of Jaina using the Yuuzhan Vong religion and technology against them is pretty cool. And the stuff dealing with the intrigue of the Hapan royal house was good, too. I just think, in general, the characters could have been handled better.
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And this who? Get the facts right peeps. Signed a true star wars fan
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those ridiculously sad books that are sooo depressing, but amazing! I think Cunningham did an extravagant job ecpressing all the characters' grief, espeially Leia's and Jaina's. The whole story is a compelling tale of tragedy and heartbreak, Anakin's mother and almost-girlfriend and sister alike.
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TheReturnOfDeathTroopers More than 1 year ago
i love all the books in the new jedi order book series but this book series keeps getting better and better they worked seriously hard to release this 19 book series i love star wars i also love the legacy of the force and the fate of the jedi book series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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