Star Wars The New Jedi Order #9: Star by Star

Star Wars The New Jedi Order #9: Star by Star

by Troy Denning


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345428486
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/30/2001
Series: Star Wars: The New Jedi Order Series , #9
Pages: 624
Product dimensions: 6.61(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.86(d)

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.

Read an Excerpt

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 thegalaxy, 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

"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

"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 arrogant, and it instantly caused Leia’s face to
go white. He set his creature on the table and peeled back his hood,
revealing a smashed Yuuzhan Vong face with one empty eye socket. "And at
Duro, we even worked together for a time."

"Cree’Ar?" Leia’s hand dropped instinctively to her lightsaber— the one
Luke had made for her years ago. Tsavong Lah had destroyed her other
lightsaber on Duro. "Nom Anor!"

"You have an excellent memory." The Yuuzhan Vong glared at Leia coldly.
"How is your son Jacen? And Mara, is she still in remis-sion? As you
know, I have a special interest in your sister-in-law’s condition."

Han felt the void button tickle his palm and realized he was dangerously
close to pressing it. "Keep talking, fella." During the fall of Duro,
Nom Anor had attempted to kill Mara and Jaina, tried to orchestrate the
deaths of Leia and Jacen, and before that he had infected Mara with a
deadly disease that had required more than two years to overcome.
"There’s nothing I’d enjoy more than vaccing you."

Nom Anor’s smile remained snide. "Before you hear what I came to say?
Besides, I do not think Leia Organa Solo the type to break a promise of
safe passage."

"My promise, not Han’s," Leia said. "And his self-control isn’t what it
used to be. How did you know I was here?"

"With the Vray evacuating, where else would you look for a convoy
escort?" Nom Anor gestured at the creature on the desk.

"If I may?"

"The Vray have been evacuating for weeks," Leia said, continuing to
press for an answer. Han doubted Nom Anor would tell them if there was a
spy inside Bilbringi, but what was left unsaid would prove just as
useful to General Muun. "We’ve only been here a few hours."

"We are, of course, watching Bilbringi—and that is really all I am going
to say on the matter." Without asking permission this time, Nom Anor
coaxed his creature awake with a brief stroke. "Tsavong Lah wishes you
to see this."

The creature melted into a flat disk, then began to glow with yellow
bioluminescence. The light coalesced into a long starship with a blocky
stern and the distinctive hammerhead bridge of one of the Corellian
Engineering Corporation’s large civilian cruisers. Judging by the lack
of efflux from the ion drives and the open doors of its docking bay
deck, the ship was standing dead in space.

"The starliner Nebula Chaser," Nom Anor said. "The image is current."

Han’s heart leapt into his throat. The Nebula Chaser was the ship Mara
and Jaina had gone to meet. The mission was supposed to be simple, a
quick rendezvous in a safe sector and then home— but something had
clearly gone wrong. He put on his best sabacc face and forced himself
not to look in his wife’s direction.

"Very impressive," Leia said. Though she had to be just as worried as
Han, her voice remained dry and mocking. "You’ve learned to transmit
holograms. I’ll look forward to your holo-dramas on the ’Net."

"The Yuuzhan Vong have made living light for centuries," Nom Anor
snapped. "I am showing you this ship because the war-master thought you
might wish to trade."

Here it comes, Han thought. He moved his hand away from the void button,
not trusting himself to resist if Nom Anor announced the Yuuzhan Vong
had his daughter.

"Tsavong Lah thought wrong," Leia said. Her voice was a little too cold,
the only hint of the ice ball that had to be filling in her stomach.
"I’d rather trade with a Hutt."

"The Hutts do not have what you want." Nom Anor stabbed a clawlike
finger into the hologram. "There are ten thousand refugees aboard, and
their peril is your doing."

"I doubt that. If this is what Tsavong Lah wished me to see, our
business is done."

Leia turned her back on Nom Anor and stepped away from the
transparisteel. It was all Han could do not to remind her that their
daughter’s life might be at stake, but he held his tongue, knowing she
was only trying to undermine their opponent’s confidence.

She made it as far as the door before Nom Anor called, "You can save
them." He rose to peer over the living light. "Just tell me where to
find the Jedi base."

Leia glanced at Han, clearly wondering whether Nom Anor meant they could
save the refugees or Jaina and Mara, then said, "There is no Jedi base."

Nom Anor sighed theatrically. "Princess Leia, you discredit me again in
the eyes of Tsavong Lah." He let his chin slump. "I advised him you
would never sacrifice so many to save so few, but he believes you are
willing to sacrifice more—much more—to protect the Jedi."

As Nom Anor spoke, a salvo of plasma balls streaked into the hologram
and erupted against the shieldless starliner, opening flash-melted holes
in the durasteel hull. Dark clouds of speck-sized flotsam and
atmospheric vapor began to jet into space, and another salvo of plasma
boiled into view. Many of the balls entered through the same holes as
the previous fusillade and tore through the ship’s interior bulkheads.
The clouds darkened as more flotsam poured into the cold vacuum, then
the image shifted, magnifying the breach area and revealing the specks
to be the tumbling, pressure-ruptured bodies of the ship’s passengers.

"Truly, the wisdom of Tsavong Lah is as boundless as the galaxy itself."
Nom Anor rolled his one good eye as though sharing a joke, then gestured
at the starliner. "They are dying because there were Jedi aboard. If the
Jedi do not want more to die, they will surrender within one of your
standard weeks."

"More?" Han knew it was exactly the question Nom Anor wanted him to ask,
but he could not restrain himself. He had to know what had become of
Jaina. "How many more?"

"Your scouts will confirm that our fleets have surrounded the world of
Talfaglio; for the next week, all refugee ships are being held in orbit.
If the Jedi surrender, the convoy will be allowed to leave. If the Jedi
do not, it will be destroyed." Nom Anor glanced down at Han’s hand,
which was hovering over the void button, then added, "As they will if I
fail to return."

"You expect the Jedi to surrender?" Han asked. He was too relieved by
Nom Anor’s failure to mention Jaina or Mara to feel any real outrage at
the deaths of ten thousand strangers. Maybe he should have felt guilty
about that, he didn’t know, but all that mat-tered at the moment was
that Jaina and Mara were safe. "Won’t happen, fella. I might as well get
things started."

Han locked gazes with Nom Anor and lowered his hand toward the void
button, grinning crookedly and taking his time to give Leia a chance to
stop him. The Yuuzhan Vong met his gaze with a sneer and did not look
away, even when Han’s palm touched the button. He paused there, waiting
for Leia to stop him, but she said nothing. Han glanced over and saw her
glaring at the emissary, her brown eyes burning with raw rage.

"What are you waiting for?" she demanded.


Leia nodded. "Do it."

The edge in her voice unsettled Han, and it occurred to him that Nom
Anor might have failed to mention Jaina or Mara for another reason—a
reason Leia had already thought of. It was entirely possible the pair
had been aboard when the Nebula Chaser was destroyed, and the Yuuzhan
Vong simply did not realize who they had killed.

Han pushed the void button, and a seal hissed open along the edge of the
ceiling panel. Nom Anor’s one eye grew wide.

"Are you mad?" He jumped to his feet. "You’ll kill millions!"

Leia reached over and depressed the void button again, stopping the
ceiling panel where it was. "Not us, you."

The air continued to hiss out of the chamber, causing the image of the
Nebula Chaser to flicker out of existence as the villip creature curled
in on itself. Nom Anor glanced at the ceiling, then back to Leia, his
gruesome face slack with surprise. She waited until he pressed his
fingers to his ears, then hit the void button again and closed the

When Nom Anor took his hands away from his ears, Leia said, "Go back to
your warmaster and tell him how you were treated. Tell him the Jedi
accept no responsibility for the lives he threatens, and that any
emissary issuing a similar threat will not be returned."

Nom Anor nodded, if not meekly, then at least not haughtily. "I will
tell him, but that will change nothing." He went to the door and waited
until it opened, then added, "The warmaster believes this will work, and
he has not been wrong yet."

Copyright 2001 by Troy Denning

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Star Wars The New Jedi Order #9 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is where it goes from a classic Star Wars tone, a "repel the invaders and free the galaxy," to the much darker tone that stayed with NJO until the end, "stay alive, take down as many as we can, and hope we survive to see victory." It's also a personal turniing point for the main characters. This book set the stage for the rest of the series.
T0efur More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this next book in the saga. There was one aspect that I didn't like about it. But I won't ruin it for you. You'll have to read it for yourself. The characters developed even more than I imagined and there are some shocking turn of events.. Troy Denning has kept me waiting on the edge to wait for what happens next with all the books he has written. When I needed to go to sleep I didn't want to put the book down, I just had to know what took place next. I recommend this series of books for anyone who is a Star Wars Fan.
jonwwil on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I'll be giving away a major plot point at some point in this review. Fair warning.I wasn't terribly crazy about this book. The action comes fast and furious, which can be a good thing, but I didn't feel like Denning did a good job at all of making it clear exactly what was happening most of the time. This resulted in me skimming through most of the action sequences to get to the resolution.And then there's the death of Anakin Solo. Now, I have no particular problem with killing off major characters. This whole series is one long war story, and obviously, in war, people die. I'm glad there's at least an attempt to reflect that. I just think it was a bizarre choice to kill off the closest thing the Star Wars universe has had to a dynamic character in a long time. And that aside, the manner of his death was ridiculous. OK, he was drawing on the Force to overcome the pain from his wounds so he could go down fighting and give the rest of his team a chance to survive. All that, cool. I'm down. But in doing so he's actually being consumed by the Force, to the point where his body is glowing? That's just dumb.On the other hand, I did like what Denning did with Jacen's character throughout this novel, actually giving him some subtlety for once. Jacen suppresses the whining that has been prevalent throughout the series and actually just does what needs to be done, for the most part. The way that affects him makes him kind of interesting rather than just irritating. I'm sure the irritating will be back soon, but it was nice to have a break from it.
orangemonkey on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I went with an audiobook for this one. It may have been abridged - there was a storyline involving the Solo children, but that was about it. If it wasn't abridged, that's a bold storytelling choice - leaving out the old, recognizable characters in favour of the 'next generation' of Jedi. Basically, the Solos and a bunch of other young Jedi go on a raid to attack the Yuhzong Vong on their own turf. Everything seems to go farly well, until they are attacked by dark Jedi and Anakin dies! Right after he became a (somewhat) interesting character, as well. Anakin's death, ironically, becomes thematically similar to Chewbacca's earlier in teh series - it's a reminder to the readers that no characters are 'safe', and that death can strike at any time. That's a very necessary atmosphere to have in war novels, I think, and it's something that the NJO novels have been kind of lacking up to this point. I must say, though, that I'm not really looking forward to the next few novels being nothing more than another Han pity party (even though I know that might seem somewhat callous to say)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rahl1293 More than 1 year ago
Brace yourself with this book. As book 9 in a 19 book series, you may think that things are getting monotonous. Well, not the case with this one. This book is for sure a turning point, a book where many characters die and some whose fate you are left not knowing. It has some deep moments for character development, and I cried more than once, even re reading the book I have cried. It's good, good star wars material. Denning writes well, so give him your attention and enjoy this solid read.
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By far the best Star Wars book there is.  Dark and haunting it leaves you in a state of morbid realization that some of your favorite characters aren't coming back.  While you would rather it not happened it turns out better for the mythos of Star Wars as a whole.  --Jstrachan7
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Star by Star is great but extremeley sad book SPOILER ALERT Anakin Solo's destiney is met as he heroically saves the Jedi Order through his own death; As much as I wish it was nit required Anakin's death was extrememly well written along with Jaina, Jacen, Han, Leia, baby Ben, and especially Luke's reaction ( Luke's reactioned showed that no matter what happened to him he is still only human and has emotions); Jacen's destiney faster and faster
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Mojobass More than 1 year ago
The NJO storyline starts very deep and dark in Vector Prime with the death of Chewbacca by Author R.A. Salvatore. This book makes that one seem like a childrens book when it comes to its dreariness. The death of a beloved character or 5. The fall of a planet that was never supposed to be penetrable at all. Many die... Very good book even if many of my favorite caharacters suffered and/or died in it.
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