Rebel Dream: Enemy Lines I

BOOK: Rebel Dream: Enemy Lines I
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A Del Rey® Book
Published by The Random House Publishing Group

Copyright © 2002 by Lucasfilm Ltd. & ® or ™.
All rights reserved. Used Under Authorization.

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Del Rey Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.

Del Rey is a registered trademark and the Del Rey colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

www.starwars.com
www.starwarskids.com
www.delreybooks.com

eISBN: 978-0-307-79556-4

v3.1

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Thanks go to:

My personal Inner Circle, Dan Hamman, Nancy Deet, Debby Dragoo, Sean Fallesen, Kelly Frieders, Helen Keier, Lucien Lockhart, and Kris Shindler;

My Eagle-Eyes, Bob Quinlan, Luray Richmond, and Sean Summers;

Caitlin Marlow, for offering inspiration;

The authors of New Jedi Order novels past and future;

My agent, Russ Galen; and

Shelly Shapiro and Kathleen O. David of Del Rey, and Sue Rostoni of Lucas Licensing.

Contents

DRAMATIS PERSONAE
The Jedi

Luke Skywalker; Jedi Master (male human)

Mara Jade Skywalker; Jedi Master (female human)

Jaina Solo; Jedi Knight (female human)

Kyp Durron; Jedi Master (male human)

Corran Horn; Jedi Knight (male human)

Tahiri Veila; Jedi student (female human)

Alema Rar; Jedi Knight (female Twi’lek)

With the New Republic Military

General Wedge Antilles (male human)

Lando Calrissian; merchant (male human)

Colonel Tycho Celchu (male human)

Commander Eldo Davip; captain,
Lusankya
(male human)

Colonel Gavin Darklighter; Rogue Squadron leader (male human)

Captain Kral Nevil; Rogue Squadron pilot (male Quarren)

Captain Garik “the Face” Loran; Wraith Squadron leader (male human)

Captain Yakown Reth; Blackmoon Squadron leader (male human)

Iella Wessiri Antilles; Intelligence director (female human)

Jagged Fel; Twin Suns Squadron pilot (male human)

Voort “Piggy” saBinring; Twin Suns Squadron pilot (male Gammorean)

YVH 1-1A (masculine droid)

Civilians

Danni Quee; scientist (female human)

Wolam Tser; holodocumentarian (male human)

Tam Elgrin; holocam operator (male human)

With the Yuuzhan Vong

Tsavong Lah; warmaster (male Yuuzhan Vong)

Czulkang Lah; commander (male Yuuzhan Vong)

Viqi Shesh; former Senator (female human)

Maal Lah; commander (male Yuuzhan Vong)

Denua Ku; warrior (male Yuuzhan Vong)

Wyrpuuk Cha; commander (male Yuuzhan Vong)

Kadlah Cha; warrior (male Yuuzhan Vong)

Takhaff Uul; priest (male Yuuzhan Vong)

Ghithra Dal; shaper (male Yuuzhan Vong)

ONE
One Month Ago, Pyria System: Borleias Occupation, Day 1

“A god cannot die,” Charat Kraal said. “Therefore it can have no fear of death. So who is braver, a god or a mortal?”

Charat Kraal was a pilot of the Yuuzhan Vong—humanoid, a little over two meters in height. His skin, where it was not covered by geometric tattoos, was pale, marked everywhere by the white, slightly reflective lines of old scars. Some years-ago mishap had eaten away the center of his face, eliminating even the diminutive nose common to the Yuuzhan Vong, leaving behind brown-crusted cartilage and horizontal holes into his sinus passages. His forehead angled back less dramatically than many of the Yuuzhan Vong and looked a trifle more like the forehead of a human, for which two warriors had taunted him, for which he had killed them. He disguised the trait as much as he could by yanking out the last of the hair on his head and adding skulltop tattoos that drew the eye up and back, away from the offending forehead. One day he would earn an implant that would further mask his deformity and end his problem.

He wore an ooglith cloaker, the transparent environment suit of Yuuzhan Vong pilots, over a simple warrior’s
loincloth. Both garments were living creatures, engineered and bred to perform only the tasks demanded of them, to aid the Yuuzhan Vong in their pursuit of glory.

He sat in the cockpit of his coralskipper, the irregular rocklike space fighter of his kind, but he did not wear his cognition hood at the moment; the masklike creature that kept him in mental contact with his craft, that allowed him to sense with its senses and pilot it with the agility of thought rather than muscle and reaction, was set to the side while his coralskipper cruised on routine patrol.

He and his mission partner, Penzak Kraal, were in distant orbit above the world Borleias. The planet had been recently seized from the infidels native to this galaxy so that it could be used as a staging area for the Yuuzhan Vong assault on the galactic throneworld of Coruscant. Borleias was an agreeably green world, not overgrown with the dead, crusty dwellings of the infidels, not strewn with their unnatural implements of technology; only a military base, now smashed, had affronted the Yuuzhan Vong with evidence of infidel occupation.

The voice of Penzak Kraal emerged from the small, head-shaped villip mounted on the cockpit wall just beneath the canopy. Though most coralskippers were not equipped with villips, relying instead on the telepathic signals of yammosk war coordinators for all their communications, long-distance patrol craft did call for a means for direct communications. “Don’t be an idiot. If a god is the god of bravery, then by definition he must be braver than any Yuuzhan Vong, than anything living.”

“I wonder. Let us say then that you could become immortal as the gods, and never die, but remain one of the Yuuzhan Vong. You would never face death. Could you then be as brave as the Yuuzhan Vong? You could kill forever but never truly risk death, defy death, choose
your time and place of death. Which is better, to be brave for a lifetime or to kill forever?”

“Who cares? The choice is not ours. But if I were to choose, I think I would choose immortality. Live long enough, and you might learn how to be brave as a Yuuzhan Vong again. Kill long enough, and you could perhaps learn to kill a star.”

Charat Kraal sobered. “I have heard …”

“What?”

“That the infidels did that. Learned to kill a star.”

He heard Penzak Kraal hiss in irritation; in the villip he saw his partner’s lopsided features go even more off center as his mouth pulled down in an expression of contempt. “So what if they did? They killed it the wrong way, with their wrong minds and their wrong devices. And, like idiots, they must have lost the secret. Or they’d be destroying the worldships one by one.”

“I have also heard …” Charat Kraal lowered his voice, a foolish instinct, since no one but Penzak Kraal could be listening to him. “That gods may smile upon them, too. On the infidels.”

“Ridiculous.”

“Can you know the minds of the gods?”

“I can no more know the minds of the gods than summon one of the enemy battleships to destroy for my personal glory.”

In the distance, away from Borleias, many kilometers from them, an enemy battleship winked into existence, its bow pointed toward them. The ship was already up to speed; it grew rapidly as it neared them, as it approached Borleias.

“Penzak, you
fool.

“My words did not summon it, you idiot.” The villip’s face blurred and adjusted, reflecting a change to Penzak’s features; Penzak had pulled on his cognition hood.
Charat did likewise. His surroundings, the cockpit interior, seemed to become transparent, giving him a view in all directions through the senses of the coralskipper, showing him in breathtaking detail the onrushing enemy ship.

No, now it was
ships
. More and more of the loathsome things of metal were dropping out of hyperspace, all aimed at Borleias. At Charat and Penzak.

A moment later, Charat could feel a buzz through the cognition hood, a telltale sign that Penzak was sending a warning to the Domain Kraal commander on Borleias.

The foremost New Republic ship, a sharply angled triangle in white, passed over the two coralskippers, blotting out the sun, casting them into shadow. Nowhere near so large as a Yuuzhan Vong worldship, it was still of impressive size, and so near that Charat felt he could reach out and drag his finger along its hull as it passed.

Penzak Kraal sent his coralskipper into a dive and turned to match the larger craft’s course. Charat paced him. Above, he saw thruster gouts from the ship’s belly herald the launching of the hated infidel starfighers.

BOOK: Rebel Dream: Enemy Lines I
7.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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