September 15, 2009
12-4 months BBY
As if the title doesn't give enough away, last week saw the introduction of Mara Jade into my journey across the GFFA. But that's not all. Her future master, Kyle Katarn, also made his first appearance, as did the Ssi-Ruuk.
After finishing up Han Solo and the Hollow Moon of Khorya (see my review here), and getting a brief update on the construction of the "ultimate power in the universe" via the Death Star Technical Companion, I dived into the first half of Soldier For The Empire, the story of Kyle Katarn during his Imperial cadet training on Carida. I was very impressed by this story because it adds a whole new dimension to Kyle that I never got from the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight video games I played as a kid. You never quite get the full story on Kyle's roots or his Imperial training by playing the games. It was also kool to get reacquainted with characters like Morgan Katarn and Jerec. Thrawn also made an appearance as Jerec's second in command- that's always nice. =)
I then picked up The Truce At Bakura Sourcebook, which introduces our favorite life-energy-sucking, extra-galactic conquerors, the Ssi-Ruuk, as they begin to conquer the planet Bakura. We also meet Dev Sibwarra for the first time, the force-sensitive son of Jedi padawan Ydra, who fled the Jedi Order prior to Order 66. Dev, of course, is quickly captured because he thought, in his naivety, the Ssi-Ruk didn't want to conquer Bakura (wow?).
After that, I read a segment of Empire Volume 2: Darklighter, during which Biggs Darklighter graduates from the Imperial Academy and the first whispers of "a weapon capable of destroying planets" begins to spread amongst the ranks. Also read a small expert from the Movie Trilogy Sourcebook, which features a letter from Biggs to Luke, and hinting at Bigg's thoughts of joining the Rebellion (though very,very tactfully).
Finally, to the reason behind the title. Logged onto Star Wars Hyperspace and checked out the partially animated e-comic of Mara Jade: By The Emperor's Hand #0. The galaxy's most dangerous red-head is observed by Palpatine and Vader in this issue as she performs flawlessly in a simulated infiltration mission. Need I say much else? Go check it out if you have hyperspace!
And by the way, if you ever wondered why Darth Vader is really sent to the Death Star, Mara Jade's opening act explains it all...
Mara: "Are you really suspicious of Tarkin?"
Palpatine: "I suspect him of ambition."