Star Wars: Revelation

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9780345477576: Star Wars: Revelation

During this savage civil war, all efforts to end Jacen Solo’s tyranny of the Galactic Alliance have failed. Now with Jacen approaching the height of his dark powers, no one–not even the Solos and the Skywalkers–knows if anything can stop the Sith Lord before his plan to save the galaxy ends up destroying it.

Jacen Solo’s shadow of influence has threatened many, especially those closest to him. Jaina Solo is determined to bring her brother in, but in order to track him down, she must first learn unfamiliar skills from a man she finds ruthless, repellent, and dangerous. Meanwhile, Ben Skywalker, still haunted by suspicions that Jacen killed his mother, Mara, decides he must know the truth, even if it costs him his life. And as Luke Skywalker contemplates once unthinkable strategies to dethrone his nephew, the hour of reckoning for those on both sides draws near. The galaxy becomes a battlefield where all must face their true nature and darkest secrets, and live–or die–with the consequences.

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About the Author:

Karen Traviss is the author of two previous Star Wars: Legacy of the Force novels, Bloodlines and Sacrifice, three Star Wars: Republic Commando novels, Hard Contact, Triple Zero, and True Colors, as well as City of Pearl, Crossing the Line, The World Before, Matriarch, and Ally. A former defense correspondent and TV and newspaper journalist, Traviss has also worked as a police press officer, an advertising copywriter, and a journalism lecturer. Since her graduation from the Clarion East class of 2000, her short stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, On Spec, and Star Wars Insider. She lives in Devizes, England.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter Three

Boba, how has your illness progressed? Has my data been of use to you? My offer still stands.
–Taun We, former human clone development supervisor on Kamino, now Head of Clone Adjustment at Arkanian Micro

Galactic City spaceport, Coruscant

It was a planet of a trillion people, and Ben knew Coruscant well enough now to vanish within it.

He shut himself down in the Force long before the flight from Bespin landed in Galactic City, more out of fear of implicating the people he intended to contact than worrying that Jacen would sense him and come after him. Knowing Jacen, he’d probably written Ben off as a weakling who couldn’t take it. Ben was consigned to the also-rans, minor disappointments Jacen would deal with when he came across them.

And Ben had his sources. They said Tahiri had pretty well taken his place at Jacen’s side.

At Galactic City Spaceport, the transport disgorged its long-haul passengers and Ben slipped through in the merging streams of bodies from all parts of the galaxy, a single fish in a multicolored shoal. With the easy obscurity of sun visor and a cap, he was just another young man out of millions in the Galactic City area. And maybe it was wishful thinking, but he thought he detected a faint growth of beard, more fluff than anything, but it was still . . . different. He didn’t look like Lieutenant Skywalker.

Ben logged his identichip at the transit security control gate–bogus, naturally, one of a dozen he carried–and was still expecting a sudden wail of alarms for a good ten paces as he headed for the open walkway. But nothing happened. All he had to do now was remember to disguise his walk to defeat the gait recognition system on security cams, and then he could wander around at will. A small pebble in each boot changed his stride enough to cheat the software without crippling him. In his bag–a reversible bag–there were various changes of clothing. He got as far as the first public refreshers by a branch of the Bank of Aargau and started adding to the deception.

That’s your problem, Jacen. You taught me all this. Or at least the GAG did.

In a cubicle, he changed his tunic, cap, and pants, turned the bag inside out to show its light brown side, and repacked. He changed shoes to ones with stack heels. Then he emerged a totally different person, walking differently and dressed differently. He’d keep doing that, and the security cams would have no pattern to track.

Lon Shevu’s girlfriend, Shula Palasj, worked for a haulage company. He’d start with her; no comlink calls, just in case. The GAG might be monitoring, the same way Ben had eavesdropped on Senators and politicians when he was in the Guard. He made his way to Shula’s workplace, doubling back occasionally just as Jori Lekauf had–

It hit him hard sometimes. Even when he was mired in grief over Mom, Lekauf would suddenly appear in his mind, and he’d feel it all over again. It wasn’t any less of a sense of loss than the one he felt for his mother, just different, and it could still make him stop breathing for a moment while he steadied himself. Lekauf had taught him about evading detection and tracking others, so this was another way of ensuring that his sacrifice to save Ben hadn’t been in vain; using that training to bring down Jacen was right.

Ben swung right into a walkway lined with clothing stores and tapcafs. What do I really mean by “bring him down”? He was sure now that he didn’t mean killing him. It wasn’t Ben’s job to be the judge. He was just getting a case together, and someone else would decide what to do with Jacen in the end.

What do you do with a deposed dictator? A Sith, too? And if Dad sorts him out and gets him back to the light side, how can I even be in the same room as him after what he’s done?

First things first; and first was proving a case against him, although Ben knew there were ordinary folk who’d say that Jacen was already guilty of enough, and that killing a Jedi didn’t actually take him into a new category of monstrosity. It was just a personal act of betrayal, and Ben knew he had to put that aside.

Most murders happen within families. Did I think we’d be any different?

Yes. I did. We’re Jedi.

Ben alternated between speeder bus–paying by cash credits, not traceable chips–and walking between docking stations. He was finding he didn’t need to affect a different walk now. The slightly higher heels had altered the angle of his spine, giving him twinges. An hour and a few changes of appearance later, he stood outside a branch depot of GalactiSend.

When he walked in, he couldn’t see a face he recognized. It was a busy place; beings of all kinds lined up waiting to dispatch parcels or held datapads in their hands, checking in consignments. He intercepted a droid in GalactiSend livery skimming through the reception area.

“Is Shula around?” he asked. “Shula Pakasj?”

“She no longer works here,” said the droid.

Well, that was sudden; it could only have happened recently, because the last time he’d spoken to Shevu, she’d still been here. “Thanks,” he said, and wandered out to amble along the walkway and rethink his strategy.

He’d have to go direct to Shevu’s apartment now. He hadn’t wanted to, just in case Shevu was under surveillance, but he still had the passcard, and if Shevu had changed the code . . . well, that wouldn’t slow Ben down much. He spent the next couple of hours taking a circuitous route to the apartment block. By the time he got to the last leg of the journey, he was tired and fed up with changing his clothing.

As in most apartment buildings in the capital, an array of crime prevention cams kept watch on the entrance. Ben visualized the sensors getting a sudden burst of intense light, using the Force to overload them for a moment to give him time to pass into the turbolift. All the monitoring system would see was a short period of dark shapes as the cam tried to compensate for the light levels its sensor told it were there. At the four hundredth floor, Ben slipped out into the corridor and stood outside Shevu’s door for a moment, trying to sense if anyone was inside.

It felt empty. Ben tried the passcard and it didn’t work. It took him a couple of seconds to Force-wipe the lock to its default setting and slip inside.

He’d stayed here before when Shevu had given him a bolt-hole so he wouldn’t have to go home and face Luke; there was a sense of familiarity about it that was at odds with the feeling that he was violating his friend’s privacy. But Shevu would understand. The clutter of personal possessions had gone–Shula’s collection of stuffed toy animals in unlikely colors, piles of holovids, the Heptalian embroidered throw that used to adorn a chair–and Ben wondered if the pair had just sold up and left, and he was now in a stranger’s home waiting for the new owner to walk in to find a Jedi burglar sitting on the sofa.

A quick check of the closets and kitchen cupboards showed that Shevu still lived there. Those were his uniforms, his bolo-ball gear, the boxes of pepper-flavored breadsticks he seemed to live on. But every trace of Shula was gone, even the holopics of the couple enjoying a vacation on Naboo.

Maybe they’d broken up. That would have been a surprise, but a job like the GAG put a strain on relationships, and under Jacen the GAG was getting harder for former CSF cops like Shevu to handle. Ben settled down facing the door, and resisted the temptation to comm his old captain to check which shift pattern he was on. That didn’t seem to count for much with the GAG lately, though. It was a round-the-chrono job.

Ben occupied his time by reading his datapad and speculating. Four hours later, Force senses on edge, he felt a familiar presence and rehearsed all the different ways he could start telling Shevu that Jacen was now out of control.

Do I mention Mom first, or do I work up to that?

He decided to play it by ear. Footsteps paused outside the doors. The silence went on longer than Ben would have expected for Shevu to find his passcard, and then the doors parted and Ben realized what a bad idea it was to surprise a trained cop.

The whir of a charging blaster made him leap up just as Shevu burst through the gap and fired. Ben deflected the bolt, sending a stack of holozine pads smoking to the floor. “Sir, sir, it’s me! It’s Ben!” He held out both arms well away from his body. “Hold fire!”

Shevu, panting and wide-eyed, was down on one knee by the cover of an armchair with his service blaster still leveled at Ben.

“Stang, Ben,” he snapped. His shoulders relaxed instantly and he shut his eyes for a moment. “Don’t do that. Call ahead, for goodness’ sake.”

“Sorry. Sorry about the damage, too.”

Shevu stepped back into the corridor and said something to a person Ben couldn’t see. The neighbors had stuck their heads out of their doorways to see what the noise was about, and Ben heard a few words like thought I had a burglar, but it’s a buddy before Shevu shut the doors behind him and stood looking down at Ben.

“It’s lucky you’re a Jedi.” Shevu seemed much more shaken than he would have been on a genuinely dangerous mission. “Or you’d have been a dead buddy.”

“I tried to find Shula first. I didn’t want to compromise you by comming you direct.”

Shevu picked up the scattered and melted holozines. Some had fused into a single lump. “You’re in trouble.”

“No . . . Jacen is.”

“Oh, that’s okay, then.” Shevu flashed his eyebrows. “We’re all in the poodoo. We’ve been told you’re not GAG personnel any longer. Jacen didn’t say why you’d left, but when he suggested that we tell him if we ever saw you, I reached my own conclusions. It’s kind of hard to ignore the mayhem going on with the Jedi Council.” Shevu checked himself as if he’d just made a terrible gaffe. “What kind of buddy am I? I’m sorry about your mother, Ben, I really am. That was thoughtless of me.”

Ben took a breath and dived straight in. The cue was there. “It was Jacen who killed her.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

It wasn’t the casual way Shevu said it that shocked Ben as much as the fact he said it at all. Shevu wasn’t appalled. He wasn’t even mildly surprised.

“You knew?”

“Come on, Ben, you know rules of evidence as well as I do. I’ve got nothing solid.” Shevu checked the window locks and rechecked the door, as if he was used to watching his back these days. Then he went into the kitchen, and the noise of clacking plates, running water, and snapping cupboard catches drifted into the living room with the sudden scent of fresh caf. “It’s got his fingerprints all over it, though–not that Jedi leave any, of course. He’d be the first suspect whose collar I’d feel, believe me.”

“My folks and the other Jedi think it was Alema Rar.”

“Who’s she?”

“A crazy Dark Jedi with a grudge against Aunt Leia. She liked using poison darts, and we know that was . . . the cause of death.” If Ben avoided personalizing the crime for just a few hours while he was working, he could hold it together. I’m not forgetting you, Mom, I just have to do this. “Alema’s dead now, so we can’t corroborate anything.”
Shevu snorted in mock amusement. “You have to learn not to mislay suspects, Ben. It’s a bummer when it comes to squaring the custody records.”

“She slugged it out with one of the Jedi sent after her. It was her or us, really. She kept trying to kill Aunt Leia.”

“That explains why you look so much older these days.” Shevu made that huh noise again. Ben knew he disapproved of boys of Ben’s age being sent into live-fire situations, but he didn’t understand that it was different for Jedi. “Okay, Jacen is the prime suspect. A couple of days ago, he killed a lieutenant on the Anakin Solo, just like that, in full view of the bridge crew. He snapped Lieutenant Tebut’s neck without even touching her, and threw Captain Nevil across the deck.” Shevu emerged from the kitchen with two steaming cups. “See what I mean about fingerprints?”

Ben should have been shocked. He tried hard, but all he had was a sinking feeling that the only beings who couldn’t see Jacen for what he was were Jedi, and his family at that. Jacen was leaving a trail of bodies.

“He even tortured me,” Ben said, realizing it sounded self-pitying as soon as it left his lips. At least he was still alive. “Dad fought with him and stopped me killing him.”

Shevu’s face was instant cold control, as if he was reining in an outburst. “He should have let you. Jacen Solo’s a nutter. A psychopath.”

“Jacen’s not mad. He’s a Sith. You know what that is?”

“Frankly, no.”

“It’s a Jedi who uses only the dark side of the Force. Not a Jedi at all, really.”

“A bad guy. But not illegal. Wrong cult.”

“Yes. I suppose.”

“Okay, crazy, Sith, ethically alternative, whatever you want to call it–Jacen demonstrates a tendency to extreme personal violence, and my cop’s gut tends to take notice of that. What’s your theory on your mother?”

Ben could deal in basics with Shevu. “Jacen was in the right place, he had the means to do it, and I think his motive was that she found out he was a Sith. I don’t have evidence linking him to the scene except he found me with her body, and he shouldn’t have been able to. The only thing I can pin down is location.”

“Crime scene’s compromised now, I suppose.”

“I recorded it.”

“Good man. We’ll make a CSF detective of you yet.”

“I’ve been telling everyone Jacen did it, but with Alema firmly in the frame, they all think it’s my grief talking. I suppose it’s easier to think the perpetrator wasn’t a member of the family. So I need your help, sir.”

“Drop the sir. It’s Lon.” Shevu slurped his caf. “The vast majority of murders are carried out by people who are close to each other–family, lovers, close friends. Emotions run high, they have easy access, one thing leads to another . . . you get the idea. The random homicidal maniac is still pretty rare, even in the lower levels of Galactic City. And yeah, I’ll help you. This is a murder investigation.”

Ben never expected otherwise. He’d judged Shevu right, but he was also putting the man in danger. “Can I ask what happened to Shula? Looks like you scrubbed the place clean of her.”

“I sent her back to her parents on Vaklin, for her own safety. We got married in secret and then I got her off Corsucant, and got rid of everything here linking her to me.”

“Why?”

“Because people who oppose Jacen Solo end up a bit dead, and I’m building a file on him. The situation’s going to get a lot worse. Once I got Shula to somewhere safe, my only dilemma was whether I wanted to see him impeached and charged by the Alliance, or whether it would be more satisfying to see Fett or the Jedi Council get him. I think Fett’s revenge might be more fun.”

Shevu’s dislike of Jacen’s methods had been obvious since the time Jacen had killed Fett’s daughter under interrogation. Ben hadn’t realized it had developed into full-blown hatred. “L...

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. During this savage civil war, all efforts to end Jacen Solo s tyranny of the Galactic Alliance have failed. Now with Jacen approaching the height of his dark powers, no one-not even the Solos and the Skywalkers-knows if anything can stop the Sith Lord before his plan to save the galaxy ends up destroying it. Jacen Solo s shadow of influence has threatened many, especially those closest to him. Jaina Solo is determined to bring her brother in, but in order to track him down, she must first learn unfamiliar skills from a man she finds ruthless, repellent, and dangerous. Meanwhile, Ben Skywalker, still haunted by suspicions that Jacen killed his mother, Mara, decides he must know the truth, even if it costs him his life. And as Luke Skywalker contemplates once unthinkable strategies to dethrone his nephew, the hour of reckoning for those on both sides draws near. The galaxy becomes a battlefield where all must face their true nature and darkest secrets, and live-or die-with the consequences. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780345477576

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