Heir to the Empire

Chapter 26

The Story So Far

On Kashyyyk, Leia Organa Solo has gone into hiding with Chewbacca but they are once again set upon by their attempted abductors. Through a mixture of struggle, luck, and perceptiveness, the kidnapping is thwarted with an assailant in custody. During the interrogation, the Noghri Khabarakh identifies Leia as the Mal’ary’ush — the daughter and heir to Darth Vader, whom the Noghri people hold in high esteem. Despite having killed Chewbacca’s childhood friend, Leia grants clemency in the hopes of being granted a solo parley on the Noghri homeworld.

On Myrkr after having crashed in the wilderness, Luke Skywalker and sworn mortal enemy Mara Jade have to rely on each other’s skills to survive the return to civilization. Mara marches Skywalker at blasterpoint as she struggles with her ideals, vendetta, and the realities of her situation. Despite the obvious enmity, she remains reticent about her past and his transgression.

To make matters more complicated, Grand Admiral Thrawn has left a contingent of stormtroopers at their exit point to catch Mara’s superior Talon Karrde in the lie of having no involvement with Skywalker, as Karrde also hides Han Solo and Lando Calrissian away from the observant Imperial Commander.

Han and Lando are first to uncover the deception and gain valuable intel that may lead the New Republic to identify Thrawn as the mysterious commander of the reorganised Imperial Remnants.

Privately, Karrde laments his predicament and reluctantly gives the order for his people to execute Skywalker should his deception be exposed to the Imperials. 

Chapter 26

After two days straight using stimpills to evade sleep, Mara is starting to crack; she can feel her reflexes dulled in a close encounter with a vornskr. To her chagrin, Skywalker seems to be taking every opportunity to sleep.

They stop to retrieve information from Skywalker’s X-Wing, finally receiving a message from Karrde. To Mara’s surprise, a New Republic droid is representing both Karrde and Solo in their debrief. They learn that the Grand Admiral’s suspicions have led to an Imperial detachment awaiting their emergence from the forest at Hyllyard. Given that Karrde’s explanation to Thrawn gendered the identities of neither the “disgruntled employee” nor the pursuer, Karrde suggested that Skywalker and Mara swap roles to obfuscate Skywalker’s identity.

They are set upon by another vornskr, but this time Mara is too slow to react and is knocked unconscious. Luke jumps into action, reclaiming his lightsaber and cutting down the threat. Jade regains consciousness, but menaces Luke with her blaster to disarm. He acquiesces to throwing down his lightsaber, imploring once more to understand his transgression against her; to which bitterly she too acquiesces. 

Mara Jade was known as the Emperor’s Hand; an operative outside Imperial bureaucracy that could utilise any means necessary to achieve Palpatine’s machinations. With the Emperor assassinated, she lost everything, and had been scrounging a life together since Imperial defeat over the Forest Moon of Endor.


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