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EU Roundtable #3.2

For the first time in a good while, our little assortment of EU people was able to get a new book read and reviewed in time for release day. And what a momentous book it was - Betrayal, book one of the epic new series Legacy of the Force. In honor of the occasion, and since four people is the perfect number for a Roundtable, we got together for a little chat about the book, which of us saw what coming, and what our hopes are for the rest of the series. As would be expected, we go quite a bit into the big spoilers, so read at your own risk. Joining me are my fellow reviewers:

  • Billy Buehler, aka The2ndQuest, Jedi Council literature admin.
  • David Pinkus, aka dp4m, Jedi Council literature admin.
  • Paul Urquhart, aka Thrawn McEwok, TFN EU Staffer.

And I, of course, continue to be Mike Cooper. Onward...

You have just entered room "EU Roundtable."

Mike Cooper: so...um...betrayal

Mike Cooper: how 'bout it?

Paul Urquhart: I like it.

David Pinkus: Betrayal for me is, as people might imagine, near complete vindication after 4 years of being Cassandra.

Mike Cooper: cassawhatnow?

Paul Urquhart: You think so, Dave?

Paul Urquhart: Charlie's sister...

Paul Urquhart: It was a wierd gimp deal between him, C19 and Chris Claremont...

Mike Cooper: oh, that cassandra

David Pinkus: Cassandra was the daughter of... Agamemmnon (Menelaus?) who had the gift given to her by the Greek gods of being 100% accurate with predictions and have 0% of the people believe her.

Mike Cooper: ah

Paul Urquhart: Aye.

Paul Urquhart: That said, I think it's far subtler than that.

Paul Urquhart: "Anger, fear, aggression, the dark side are they" - that's still true.

David Pinkus: But we can get to that when we delve into the book itself. On the book side though, I think it's great. It's like tossing out the entirety of the NJO/DNT and saying "we'd like to get Star Wars back to PG-rated epic fun, please!"

Mike Cooper: that's my only real concern here...how they relate the lumiya/vergere philosophy with the traditional dark side

Mike Cooper: i don't think it's like tossing it out; it's just the logical progression of all that

David Pinkus: The Lumiya/Vergere philosophy IS the traditional Dark Side though, given that the Dark Side we always see in the films is Sith-based Dark Side. It's not Kueller-ish for instance.

Paul Urquhart: PG-rated-epic-fun with references to Aalya and Jacen smutfic?

Paul Urquhart: David, you see what you want to see.

Mike Cooper: heheh...

David Pinkus: Hey, the movies had a lot of PG-rated smutfic in it as well (Luke/Leia, Han/Leia, 3P0/R2)

Paul Urquhart: That said, this *is* Aaron's best Dumas-style swashbuckling adventure...

Mike Cooper: this is aaron's best anything

David Pinkus: And Allston can always be counted on to bring the funny.

Billy Buehler: Betrayal definitely swings the overall feel away from the darker tone of the NJO and DNT, but I wouldn't say it throws out those series

David Pinkus: It doesn't throw them out in the sense of plot, just in the sense of style.

Billy Buehler: If anything, the Jacen here was born out of his actions in DNT, which itself elaborated on his actions and motivations during the NJO

Mike Cooper: what did you guys think of the joke near the end when jacen says vectivus must have been evil because of all the painted droids? that's the one time i though the humor was a bit inappropriate

Mike Cooper: exactly billy

Billy Buehler: I think that gave me a chuckle, actually

Paul Urquhart: It was true, though - it was *weird*...

Billy Buehler: But nothing compares to Wedge in this book when it comes to the humor

David Pinkus: And Han

Mike Cooper: i mean, it was mildly amusing, but maybe not a place where a joke was needed

Paul Urquhart: Why not?

Mike Cooper: anytime wedge was in a room with han or tycho was gold

Paul Urquhart: Inappropriateness is as good a reason as any - humour can serve purposes other than making the reader laugh.

Billy Buehler: Tycho and Wedge's "mostly we blow stuff up" conversation while investigating was great

Billy Buehler: "We're really men of peace"

Billy Buehler: And Wedge's chair-game escape plan was wonderful

David Pinkus: Han + Wedge + Thracken == the best comedy gold.

Mike Cooper: i don't see jacen being that amusingly digressive when he's contemplating turning his back on the jedi

Paul Urquhart: That made me smile, rather than laugh aloud. Maybe a culture difference.

Billy Buehler: but the best Wedge moment, by far, as his conversations with Thracken.

Paul Urquhart: Why not? It was a Prequel joke. Like his grandfather's.

Billy Buehler: "Go to hell."

Mike Cooper: yeah, allston loves saying "go to hell", doesn't he?

Paul Urquhart: If anything, Jacen was a little *too* like Ep.III's Anakin in this one...

Paul Urquhart: Well, you have to have one "hell" in each good SW story.

Mike Cooper: nah...jacen is intelligent

Billy Buehler: I don't think Jacen was contemplating turning his back on the Jedi at that point

Billy Buehler: I don't think it's until the trhee of them are inside that building and he starts getting flashes of possible futures that he starts to swing

David Pinkus: My feelings on Jacen at the end of the book are... complicated, the least of which because the ending of the novel is both abrupt AND confusing.

Billy Buehler: up until then it's more his curiosity and determination

Mike Cooper: what's confusing?

Billy Buehler: It's weird because Jacen's actions are without a doubt wrong, and yet, somewhat understandable

Paul Urquhart: Anyway - a thought to throw to David especially: does defining Jacen as a Sith make any difference to who Jacen Solo is...?

David Pinkus: Not really, since I've been saying he was Sith for 3-4 years now. But it makes a difference to WHAT he is.

David Pinkus: Semantics, I realize.

Mike Cooper: it affects his mindset...he's more willing to do dark things if he considers himself a sith anyway

Paul Urquhart: No, I'd agree - but I'd say he was more dangerous, more unpredictable, as a member of the Jedi Order...

Billy Buehler: Like, if you were as certain about your visions of the future as Jacen is, and saw the only way to prevent someone you are very close to from dying was to kill someone you don't know quite as well, would you?

David Pinkus: Well, a JEDI wouldn't. I think that's the whole point.

Paul Urquhart: Jacen's always been prepared to do silly things...

Mike Cooper: more prepared

Paul Urquhart: Jacen's been doing dumb things since... well, _Jedi Eclipse_, at least.

Billy Buehler: Oh, i understand that a Jedi wouldn't; just merely speaking in the context of the reader understanding Jacen's actions despite knowing they were wrong

David Pinkus: Jacen's been doing dumb things since YJK, just back then they were at least good-natured dumb things.

Mike Cooper: well that's like understanding anakin didn't want padme to die...he still acted like a dumbass

David Pinkus: The reader and moviegoer understood Anakin Skywalker's actions/motives just fine as well, Billy. Didn't make it turn out any better or make it less wrong.

Paul Urquhart: *ARE* Jacen's actions wrong, though?

David Pinkus: Coop + Me == get off same brainwave

Billy Buehler: Well, I think Anakin's is a little less easy to understand

Mike Cooper: at this point, my view is that anytime a jedi gets a disastrous vision of the future, that's the force saying "here...make this happen for me"

Paul Urquhart: The Force?

Billy Buehler: Killing one stranger to save a close relative and friend is one thing

Paul Urquhart: David, you want to comment on that turn of phrase?

Billy Buehler: especially when you are certain of the outcomes

David Pinkus: Or, as Paul would argue, depends on which side of the Force you believe are responsible for those kinds of visions.

David Pinkus: Which turn of phrase, Paul?

Paul Urquhart: "that's the force saying" in Coop's phrase

Mike Cooper: i'm still not sure there ARE sides, though =)

Billy Buehler: But slaughtering hundreds to thousands of men, women and chidlren, many of whom basicly are your family, to save someone close to you whose death and circumstances you are unsure of is another

Paul Urquhart: I think we were thinking the same thing...

Paul Urquhart: Billy - agreed.

Paul Urquhart: That's what Jacen's done, too...

Billy Buehler: How's that?

David Pinkus: Well, the fact that there is a Dark Side of the Force is canonical at the highest level, so I don't think that's arguable (although people try).

Paul Urquhart: But unlike Anakin, he's basically fallen to the Dark Side for an *obvious* brain fart...

Paul Urquhart: David, you can argue what the Dark Side *is*... "anger, fear, aggression, etc."

David Pinkus: Right, that's arguable but the fact that there are sides really isn't.

Mike Cooper: that's the real tightrope this series is gonna walk with me...jacen's become evil, and that's all there is to it, but he came to it from a mindset of personal growth rather than anakin's greed. i don't want the moral of LotF to be "jedi shouldn't think"

Paul Urquhart: Didn't Yoda say something pretty like that, though...

Paul Urquhart: David, then you get onto the question of what a "side" is...

David Pinkus: I doubt it will be. Given what we now know of the blurbs for Tempest, how odd is it that Jacen Solo isn't mentioned at all when there's a plot to kill Tenel Ka prominently mentioned?

Billy Buehler: Well, I think at this point they don't want to reveal too much about Bloodlines or Betrayal with a Tempest blurb

David Pinkus: Paul -- Yoda did, but I'm not certain Lucas has directly mentioned that. Which is why I said you can't argue sides but you can argue what defines the sides.

Paul Urquhart: Well, going by the Betrayal blurb - it says Han's near family do something shocking, and Jacen is in the GA army...

Mike Cooper: i don't think darkness is a side of the force, i think it's an aspect of it. the "side" mindset leads to the assumption that they're two opposing forces

David Pinkus: We don't know that he WILL be by that point... ;)

Paul Urquhart: I think Jacen's leaving the Order start of the next book...

Billy Buehler: I will say that (and I mention this in my review) it's quite fascinating that, for the first time in SW history, we have a main character we've followed for so long fall to the Sith who wasn't pre-ordained to do so, like Ulic or Anakin, or was "immune" from a storytelling POV, like Luke (DE not really counting since it was a deception)

Mike Cooper: that's what i love about it

Mike Cooper: the NJO led, logically, to DN. DN leads, logically, to LotF. there's no element of "hey, wouldn't it be cool if they had a war with corellia now?"

Mike Cooper: which, amusingly, is what the NJO was to begin with

Paul Urquhart: No, that's just good plotting...

Paul Urquhart: How do you mean?

Mike Cooper: there was no logical reason to assume that an extragalactic race would show up and kill everybody =)

Mike Cooper: but it WAS logical that the wimpy NR would crumble if one did, and that some jedi would get darker as a result, and so on

David Pinkus: There was no logical reason to assume Star Wars would go from PG/PG-13 to NC-17 at times either......

Billy Buehler: well, if you had read Rogue Planet.. ;;)

Mike Cooper: which came out a year after VP =p

David Pinkus: Owned.

Billy Buehler: Well, thats what I get for talking about a book I never read and only picked up a couple years after it's release for the sake completeness ;;)

Paul Urquhart: Am I being awkward if I suggest that the YV, like the Sith now, aren't much more than a _deus ex_?

Paul Urquhart: They're less important than they think...

David Pinkus: More of a MacGuffin than a Deus Ex Machina, I think

Paul Urquhart: And, well, GhentZ's spoilers at JediNet were kinda funky.

Paul Urquhart: David - conceded.

Mike Cooper: that's just how this universe is set up...either the bad guy is gonna be a macguffin or a putz like kueller

David Pinkus: Well, the INTERIM bad guy is the MacGuffin... which is why Jacen at the end of Betrayal is conflicting for me.

Mike Cooper: what other than the vong or the sith could realistically challenge a galactic government and an order of superheroes?

Paul Urquhart: Not that Kueller's #2 was an Imperial agent or anything...

Paul Urquhart: Coop. Go watch the OT?

Mike Cooper: that was the sith

Mike Cooper: remember the guy in the cloak?

Paul Urquhart: Wrong trilogy.

Mike Cooper: where was it not the sith?

Paul Urquhart: "What... could realistically challenge a galactic government and an order of superheroes?"

Paul Urquhart: A few insane Corellians and undertrained force-users?

Paul Urquhart: Remember?

David Pinkus: It wasn't not the Sith but it was never Darth Vader.

Mike Cooper: vader and palps weren't an order of superheroes, they were two dudes

David Pinkus: It wasn't not the Sith but it was never Darth Maul or Darth Tyrannus.

Paul Urquhart: Huh?

Mike Cooper: and isn't that what we're seeing in the new war again, ewok? insane corellians and an under-trained force-user, ie leia?

Paul Urquhart: Yes!

Paul Urquhart: Exactly! ^^ Points at...

Mike Cooper: so once again, no new threats =p

David Pinkus: Gah, don't get me started on Leia == undertrained! Urge to kill... rising... RISING...

Paul Urquhart: You asked who could challenge the GA...

Mike Cooper: my larger issue was that there are only so many realistic threats

Paul Urquhart: Well, "the death of the father figure" is overused in SW...

Mike Cooper: i just wasn't thinking of the rebellion as a "threat"

Paul Urquhart: *laughs* I know...

David Pinkus: It's okay, neither did the Empire.

* Mike Cooper plays a rim shot

Mike Cooper: so that's three: the sith, rebels, and aliens

David Pinkus: And Darksiders of non-Sithiness

Billy Buehler: and Waru.

Mike Cooper: and waru, yes

David Pinkus: And the freakin' sweet hat on its own.

Mike Cooper: naturally

Mike Cooper: let's move on...how does everyone see this war playing out, aside from the inevitable involvement of jacen and lumiya?

David Pinkus: Advertisement break: I'm GETTING A COKE!!!

Paul Urquhart: Happy snorting!

Billy Buehler: well, the freakin' sweet hat is the equivilent of the Pheonix, so no force can really stand in it's way (X3 spoilers removed - go see it! - Ed.)

Paul Urquhart: Anyway - isn't the point that the *real* story is Han and Leia vs. the Man?

Mike Cooper: okay, i think it's clear we've all seen X3

Paul Urquhart: Yep.

Mike Cooper: yes, paul (well, han and leia vs. luke)

Paul Urquhart: "Luke's the Man"?

Billy Buehler: I liked that this is the first story to really start showing the newer generation of characters starting to live up to or exceed the older generation

Mike Cooper: moreso than the NJO, you think?

Billy Buehler: really driven home when Han doesn't need to rescue Jaina, and Syal coming close to topping Wedge

Billy Buehler: yeah, because in the NJO, towards the end, it really fell back more to the Big three

Billy Buehler: k, sorry bout that David

David Pinkus: Here's the thing about Betrayal: for the first time in, ever, I thought that Ben Skywalker was a) cool and b) able to possibly live up to the potential of his heritage

Paul Urquhart: I liked him in DN3, actually...

Mike Cooper: the thing i'm enjoying most is that as far as the war is concerned, there is no bad guy. yeah, omas might be up to no good, but generally, this is the first civil war we've seen where one side wasn't run by a cadre of Evil Villains with Nefarious Purposes

Billy Buehler: DNT also had the problem with the newer generation being sidelined by the older generation (much of that having to do with the YJK cast becoming Joiners)

David Pinkus: Ben's character advancement was enough to make me buy this book. As witty/sarcastic as his mother and as capable as his father, with his uncle's nonchalantness.

Mike Cooper: yeah, ben did rock the house, didn't he? i bet he's gonna be the one to take out jacen =)

David Pinkus: Um, Coop? What would you call Thracken?

Billy Buehler: Well, Thracken is somewhat nefarious

Paul Urquhart: There were a couple of Ben lines I really liked for obvious reasons...

David Pinkus: "Evil Pseudogenius?"

Paul Urquhart: Thrackan's gone *dark*...

Mike Cooper: thrackan's not really leading anything, he's just trying to use the situation to his advantage

Mike Cooper: it would all still be happening if he wasn't there

David Pinkus: I just liked the fact that Thracken told Jacen that he couldn't kill him because he was unarmed and it wasn't the JEdi way. That was rich.

Paul Urquhart: Besides, he's not really *evil*... at his best (he was one of the best things in Ylesia, IMHO) he's Harry Flashman in space...

Mike Cooper: he was THE best thing in ylesia...i don't even remember anything else

Billy Buehler: Thracken wants a war so he can get his independent Corellia again to proclaim himself dictator as the other powers are consolidated to him

Mike Cooper: i would've liked it more if he HAD killed him...now THAT would've been a great way to start the series

Mike Cooper: and a nice anakin/dooku moment

David Pinkus: Yeah, I don't really think that the New GCW would be happening without Thracken at the helm.

Billy Buehler: I really hope Thracken dies by series end- he has to be taken care of

Paul Urquhart: Nahh... Thrackan has his battlefleet and his clone Anakin Solo to unleash...

David Pinkus: (NGCW for short)

Mike Cooper: i'm calling it the Corellian War myself

Paul Urquhart: I kinda like "War for Freedom".

Billy Buehler: yeah- Thrackan is a good villian, but he has to get his comeuppance eventually

David Pinkus: I don't think it's gonna be confined to just the Corellian system for very long, hence NGCW.

David Pinkus: "Mark my words woman... one day your uppance shall come!"

Mike Cooper: saying Thrackan's responsible for this war is like saying Nute Gunray was responsible for the Clone Wars

David Pinkus: Actually, no.

Billy Buehler: Hardly

Paul Urquhart: Nope, Luke's responsible for the war...

David Pinkus: Not that either.

Billy Buehler: Lumiya intervened to ensure a peaceful end was not reached, but thracken started it

Mike Cooper: they were more than happy for it, but it came about due to large unresolved societal issues (okay, and palpatine)

Paul Urquhart: Actually, the GA started the *war*...

Mike Cooper: of course lumiya is screwing with things, but she didn't CREATE the situation

David Pinkus: But, to the best of our knowledge RIGHT NOW, there is no other outside force which manipulated the BEGINNING of this war other than Thracken's grab for power, whereas we know Sidious started the other.

Mike Cooper: even palpatine didn't create the situaton that led to the clone wars

Paul Urquhart: Sure, Thrackan was building an assault fleet (wtf *for*?!) but the Alliance did kinda attack Corellia.

Mike Cooper: thank you david

Mike Cooper: i think thrackan was gonna take pzob, paul =)

Paul Urquhart: Pzob?

Mike Cooper: create an army of superpigs

Paul Urquhart: And how much can we trust Lumiya, though? Neither her nor Jacen is necessarily telling the other the truth in that final scene.

David Pinkus: Okay, is it that time already?

Paul Urquhart: I mean, wasn't Lumiya *leading the bloody commando mission* at Kuat?

David Pinkus: I have multiple thoughts on that.

Paul Urquhart: Time to share 'em?

David Pinkus: Yeah

David Pinkus: Mine are long, complicated and conflicted.

Paul Urquhart: Hey, you know me. I like that sith.

Mike Cooper: let's actually get back to that in about 5 minutes

David Pinkus: kk

Mike Cooper: there's one thing i wanted to bring up first...

Paul Urquhart: Shoot.

Mike Cooper: am i the only one who thought the force ghosts were just happening at first?

Paul Urquhart: Well, technically, they *are* just "happening" - unless Jacen is flow-walking...

Mike Cooper: i thought they were gonna retcon the wonky EU ghostings with something like the force becoming more potent and now even average people are coming back

Billy Buehler: At first i just thought the one admiral was going insane

Paul Urquhart: Reminded me a lot of Dagobah...

David Pinkus: This is part of where I'm both confused and conflicted.

Paul Urquhart: Oh, Lumiya's ghosts... no, I think that's just her...

Billy Buehler: once it started happening to other people, i knew something had to be up

Paul Urquhart: But then again, she *could* be drawing on whatever fuels Vectivius and stuff...

Mike Cooper: well, i know now that they were just her, but i was HOPING it was that

Paul Urquhart: As Akanah said, dead people leave ripples...

Billy Buehler: and by time we see that Lumiya's abilities are strongest when it comes to force apparitions, it made sense in the end

Paul Urquhart: The apparitions are to do with the asteroid, I think, not her...

Billy Buehler: The asteroid fuels her ability to project them

Mike Cooper: but she's driving them

Paul Urquhart: Is she?

Paul Urquhart: Vectivius wasn't hers.

Paul Urquhart: Nor were the mynocks.

David Pinkus: Yeah, I think it's pretty clear that a) the ghosts we see of people prior to the asteroid fight and b) the images created by Lumiya which makes Jacen fight Luke and Ben fight Mara are all Force illusions created by Lumiya, drawing on the power of the Dark Side Nexus in the asteroid.

Paul Urquhart: Nor is Jacen.

Paul Urquhart: I'm not convinced.

Mike Cooper: and i don't think the asteroid had anything to do with the admiral's visions, or the people on that planet whose name i've forgotten

David Pinkus: However

David Pinkus: There is a HOWEVER, Paul.

Paul Urquhart: Remember, Dark Jacen shows up all over the place...

Paul Urquhart: Go on...

David Pinkus: THAT is the however.

David Pinkus: Again, this touches on the larger issues that I'm having difficulty with.

Paul Urquhart: *nods*

David Pinkus: Let me start for a second with some background stuff.

Paul Urquhart: And I like the way that Lumiya doesn't think Dark Jacen exists yet, but Luke does... :)

Mike Cooper: do we think dark jacen is a product of lumiya's mind, though? or a real manifesation of jacen from the future?

David Pinkus: Coop -- gimme a second.

* Mike Cooper watches david take a deep breath

Paul Urquhart: I think he could be Darth Jacen flow-walking to deceive his own Sith teacher...

* Paul Urquhart rattles off a reply in the interim

Mike Cooper: while we're waiting for david, what should jacen's sith name be?

Billy Buehler: I think the admiral's visions and the planet people's visions have to be by Lumiya- it's not coincidence that the admiral's actions are influenced by his dead wife and thos reactions create a worse scenario that elevates the conflict

Billy Buehler: nor that Lumiya was on the planet those other people were having the visions to test/lead Jacen to her

Paul Urquhart: Oh, definately... but is Lumiya in control of her own mind?

Mike Cooper: yes, billy, i agree

David Pinkus: 1) The visions of the Admiral's dead wife are given to us as likely the product of Lumiya. 2) The apparitions in the asteroid fight are also given to us as the likely product of Lumiya. 3) The Asteroid is apparently the site of a VERY powerful Dark Side Nexus

Billy Buehler: BTW- am I the only one who thinks the cover art is Dark Jacen?

Paul Urquhart: Nope.

Mike Cooper: i think it would've been interesting if the force was just getting out of whack somehow...i REALLY wanted Aayla to have appeared to that one guy

Billy Buehler: Seems Lumiya's visions took the Mirror World goatee approach to the evil versions of people...

David Pinkus: 4) The mynocks are just that -- mynocks -- an intelligent one or no.

Paul Urquhart: Also - Lumiya may have engineered the Luke and Mara mirrors... but she *didn't* plan to set off Luke and Mara, did she?

David Pinkus: Now, here's where things become confusing, everyone ready?

Mike Cooper: it'd have to be, billy. that's clearly the mining area behind him

Paul Urquhart: Ready...

Mike Cooper: paul, she knew the real luke and mara were connected to them

Paul Urquhart: Did she?

David Pinkus: 1) The fight on the asteroid is confusing, but is it intentionally so in order that we, the reader, can't quite understand what's going on? 2) The vision we see of Future Jacen is manipulating Lumiya and is NOT generated by her but is it really Future Jacen? 3) How much of the story about Vergere is true given that it's told to us by a Sith (see: opera scene in ROTS)

Mike Cooper: it seemed pretty straightforward to me. new usage of power, maybe, but i don't feel like it went over my head

Mike Cooper: she told jacen they were a combination of the real ones, and the local dark side

Paul Urquhart: Did she know that the real Luke and Mara would be counterattacked?

David Pinkus: There are several interesting threads to come off of those questions.

Mike Cooper: maybe not that exactly, but it's highly probable i think

Paul Urquhart: I'm not so sure...

Mike Cooper: david, what did palpatine lie about at the opera? =p

Paul Urquhart: She pretty certainly doesn't know about Dark Jacen - what would he be doing pulling Lord Nyax/Anakin Solo impressions on Coruscant...

David Pinkus: 1) Is what Lumiya said true? There's no reason to doubt what she says... except that, of course, she's 100% untrustworthy. As Jacen says "it fits." 2) If Jacen has now turned to Sith -- does he intend it to be like Luke in DE as a trap and has gotten sucked in (as per Luke's "He exists now") much like Luke himself did?

Mike Cooper: i don't think it's at all like DE

Mike Cooper: he certainly doesn't want to destroy lumiya

Billy Buehler: I wouldn't put it past Jacen to attempt a DE

Paul Urquhart: Coop - consider this: inasmuch as Jacen thinks he can handle the power...

Mike Cooper: but what are jacen's larger goals? he's not doing what he's doing for his own benefit, or even to Defeat The Dark Side. he's doing it because he believes the jedi are on the wrong path and he wants to stake out a new one

Paul Urquhart: Jacen thinks he can "master" the Dark Side...

David Pinkus: 3) If Jacen is flow-walking himself back to Lumiya that's one thing (and confusing enough), but what if Lumiya is being manipulated by someone or someTHING else? Which other humans do we know who have access enough to Jacen to convince Lumiya? Which other sentient being (planetary size) can generate complete images of people?

Paul Urquhart: The difference is that Lumiya, like Vergere, seems to *believe* in Jacen...

Paul Urquhart: Ohh.

Paul Urquhart: David. You get a golden cookie.

Paul Urquhart: And then there's the Fallanassi, too...

Paul Urquhart: Just for a curveball...

David Pinkus: Paul -- that's what I meant.

David Pinkus: Akanah and Zonoma Sekot.

David Pinkus: The two being capable of fooling Lumiya.

Mike Cooper: i refuse to believe that sekot is evil

Paul Urquhart: Just like Vader did; just like Lumiya did...

Paul Urquhart: Sekot is... a friend of Vergere.

Paul Urquhart: Just like Luke did, I mean - not Lumiya.

David Pinkus: Except, Coop... Sekot NEVER renounced the Potentium to my knowledge and eventually if you follow it you WILL turn Dark.

Mike Cooper: i just think it's impossible to have malevolent intent when you exist on that scale

David Pinkus: Like a dhuryam?

Paul Urquhart: No?

Mike Cooper: not at all

Paul Urquhart: Coop... look at Sekot's southern continent...

Billy Buehler: Wow, that Sekot/Fallanassi theory is now one of my new favorites ::)

Mike Cooper: a dhuryam is nothing compared to an entire planet full of life

David Pinkus: Hey, just remember that Unicron was that scale!!!

Paul Urquhart: Look at the *superlaser-style Force-lightning* it uses to burn *entire fleets*

David Pinkus: A dhuryam IS an entire planet full of life.

Mike Cooper: unicron was a robot. they'r all evil =p

Paul Urquhart: Look at the people whose form Sekot takes: Jacen. Vergere. Vader. Notice a connection?

Paul Urquhart: Unicron is just an AU Galactus...

Billy Buehler: Well, Unicron was the physical embodiment of an immortal cross-dimensional dark god, so it's a *slightly* different scenario ;;)

Paul Urquhart: And Coop - you read _Blade of Tyshale_?

Mike Cooper: a dhuryam is like a planet's brain alone, it's not the same thing

Mike Cooper: read heroes die, not that yet

Paul Urquhart: *grins*

Billy Buehler: BTW- is tehre evidence that Jacen could have been flow-walking on the asteroid?

Mike Cooper: so is that where's we're going, here? sekot is evil and is manipulating lumiya to make jacen evil?

David Pinkus: Okay, but we have essentially one of two scenarios (you pick): Future Jacen manipulated Lumiya to get Jacen to agree to be a Sith or SOMEONE ELSE manipulated Lumiya to get Jacen to agree to be a Sith. Whether Jacen is telling the truth about being one or not, I don't see how it's not one of those two scenarios.

Paul Urquhart: The Dark Side, David?

Billy Buehler: I recall Leia being able to definitely tell Jacen wasn't really there when he did it in DNT

Mike Cooper: i think if anything, future jacen is vectivus

Paul Urquhart: Leia would know because she knows Jacen?

Paul Urquhart: Remember, Leia knew Jacen was alive even when Jaina didn't...

David Pinkus: The Dark Side doesn't manifest itself in that manner, Paul. Not saying it couldn't be, just that there's no canonical evidence to support that theory at this time.

Paul Urquhart: Well, does it have to be _sentient_?

David Pinkus: Leia knew Jacen was alive when EVERYONE ELSE FELT HIM DIE.

Paul Urquhart: "only what you take with you", and all that...

Mike Cooper: correct

David Pinkus: That's a big difference there, Paul.

Paul Urquhart: David - agreed: even Jaina, was my point.

Mike Cooper: she felt him die, too, she just didn't buy it

David Pinkus: And Paul, that's a vision on a nexus -- not a manifestation on a nexus. Slight semantic difference again .

Paul Urquhart: Leia has been shown to have a closer connection to Jacen than anyone...

Billy Buehler: Still, I got the impression that a flow-walking Jacen wouldn't seem as real as the present-day Jacen would

Paul Urquhart: And, Force Doppleganger?

Paul Urquhart: Remember DE Luke?

David Pinkus: Hang on

Paul Urquhart: What I want to know is, could someone who *wasn't* Jacen have been projecting Dark Jacen. Akanah, or Sekot, as we say...

David Pinkus: Grabbed my copy for Lumiya's POV

Paul Urquhart: Lumiya isn't responsible for the Mynocks; probably not for Vectivius; and I reckon that the Ben and Jacen who attack Luke and Mara aren't intended either...

David Pinkus: Yeah, the Dark Jacen is clearly mentioned by her as a "projection" -- so not a real spirit and she knows it.

Mike Cooper: i'm open to future jacen being pretty much anyone or anything, but the best possible scenario from my POV is that he's the asteroid, and lumiya's being 100% genuine. anything else wouldn't be giving jacen a fair shake

David Pinkus: She *believes* it was energy from the cave formed by Jacen's body being there, but that's POV of course.

Paul Urquhart: *nods*

Billy Buehler: Oh, Force Doppleganger, yeah...hmm...

Paul Urquhart: He's stalking Luke, too, though... definately an echo of Lord Nyax in Allston's duology, maybe of the false Anakin in _Traitor_, too...

Mike Cooper: before we wrap up, let's shift to a lighter note...how about the new fighters, finally?

David Pinkus: Here's the thing about Doppelganger though -- it is, I believe, ALWAYS an illusion of the person doing it.

David Pinkus: I don't think you can do it of someone else.

Paul Urquhart: And bear in mind that that Anakin *was*, at least up to a point, an unconscious creation of Jacen's brain via a nonsentient plant.

David Pinkus: That's a straight-up Illusion... of which the Fallanassi and Sekot are masters. ;)

Mike Cooper: or, we could keep talking about future jacen...

Paul Urquhart: The Dathomiri are quite good at it, too...

Paul Urquhart: New fighters = cool.

Mike Cooper: i wish we could somehow have actual images of them

Paul Urquhart: david - belatedly, sorry for going off at a tangent on Jacen's reality when it was irrelevant...

Mike Cooper: and the new ships and such, too

David Pinkus: Yeah, we have, what... two new fighters, a new revision of a fighter and one new cap ship?

Paul Urquhart: Two cap ships.

Paul Urquhart: The Galactic-class battle carrier, and the Mon Cal _Blue Diver_.

David Pinkus: one GFFA and one Corellian?

David Pinkus: Both GFFA?

Paul Urquhart: Both GFFA.

Paul Urquhart: The Shriek, the Eta-5, the Twee, the XJ6...

Mike Cooper: plus YT-5100s (man, that's a big jump)

Paul Urquhart: The Sienar assault fighters...

Paul Urquhart: Or whatever they were called - the things that they were fighting at Corellia

Mike Cooper: what was the last YT we saw? 2400?

Mike Cooper: corellian attack fighters

Mike Cooper: nice and specific

Paul Urquhart: 2550

Paul Urquhart: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/YT-2550

Paul Urquhart: But that was... thirty-six years earlier.

Mike Cooper: heheh

Mike Cooper: i had a really cool thought amidst all the new ships and such...this time around, instead of maps, the inside covers should have concept art for all the new stuff. like some trade paperbacks do

Paul Urquhart: Nice idea, Coop.

Paul Urquhart: Or like Outbound Flight in SQ and OBF...

Mike Cooper: there could be one of ships, and one with, like, nelani, "brisha", and so on

Mike Cooper: as it is now we pretty much have to wait for the next relevant EG to come out whenever something or someone new comes along

Mike Cooper: unless they happen to get a feature in insider

Paul Urquhart: I reckon we may see something in _Gamer_

Mike Cooper: gamer?

Paul Urquhart: *Insider, I mean.

* Mike Cooper checks calendar

* Paul Urquhart is a decrepit oldbie

Paul Urquhart: At least I didn't say _Galaxy_... :-P

Paul Urquhart: Or WotC could do something online?

Mike Cooper: yeah

Mike Cooper: i still think concept art would be cool though

Mike Cooper: so it's right there with the book itself

Billy Buehler: Yeah I think the time gap between the 2400/2500 and the 5100 is believable

Mike Cooper: and as concept art, it'd be less than absolute canon, so if someone eventually did draw something differently, it's not a huge deal

Billy Buehler: I'd imagine the YT series would get a lot more sales after the Falcon becomes legendary

Mike Cooper: the number sounds about right for the timespan, i just want to know where all the 3000s and 4000s are

Paul Urquhart: We can only hope we see more as Corellia goes to war.

David Pinkus: What was the timespan between YT-1300 and YT-2200?

Mike Cooper: 1300s are something like forty years BBY i think; 2000s were never given a date but 2400s are seen as early as ANH

David Pinkus: So that is a fairly large jump in ship numbering for the timespan.

Paul Urquhart: Can I come back to Lumiya, Thrackan, and what's going on?

Mike Cooper: i'd say 2000 around the clone wars, 3000 by thrawn, 4000 by pellaeon-gavrisom

Mike Cooper: sure

Billy Buehler: You gotta figure the Outrider was in Dash's hands at some point prior to ANH, as Han recognizes it when he sees it on hoth

Billy Buehler: and that was probably the last time they had the chance to race

Paul Urquhart: The woman on the station at Kuat - is she definately Lumiya?

Mike Cooper: the race could've been ABY, i think

Billy Buehler: yeah, i think she admits it later in the book

Mike Cooper: i can't imagine how it couldn't be; doesn't future jacen basically say exactly that?

David Pinkus: Yes, as explained with Lumiya talking to Future Jacen

Paul Urquhart: Nope...

Paul Urquhart: That's the message she sent to Thrackan.

Paul Urquhart: Now we know she was *on* the station...

Billy Buehler: At what point are we defining Jacen as being Future Jacen?

Paul Urquhart: ... because she sets out from there in her shuttle to lure Jacen...

David Pinkus: The Future JAcen talking to her via telepathy at the end

Mike Cooper: future jacen says "you didn't tell him the truth about the attack" or some such

Paul Urquhart: They're both described as beauties, but the Kuat woman is "tall, slender and aristocratic", whereas Lumiya is "approachable" and outdoorsy...

David Pinkus: Yes, and that the phantoms were her doing.

Paul Urquhart: She's engineering the war, yes... she warns Thrackan.

Paul Urquhart: Mara discovers that later... hang on...

Paul Urquhart: page 244.

David Pinkus: What he actually says is that Jacen would learn that "the attack at Toryaz Station was [her] doing"

Mike Cooper: it's all in the disguise, paul; besides - force projection? remember?

Mike Cooper: she's not engineering anything; she's just prodding it along

Paul Urquhart: It's not quite her M.O., if you ask me...

Mike Cooper: lumiya didn't make the GA overbearing or the corellians proud

David Pinkus: Well, Paul... Viqi Shesh, she's not. ;)

David Pinkus: Or is she...

David Pinkus: ;)

Mike Cooper: ::brain cracks::

Paul Urquhart: Lumiya can lie to herself *all* she wants... :-P

Paul Urquhart: Either way, she's fooling herself - but I'm not convinced she's as in control as she thinks...

Billy Buehler: ::viqi jumps out window and is caught by Lumiya:: "they bought it! let's go!"

Mike Cooper: lol

David Pinkus: Here, let's see if we can all agree on the following points?

Mike Cooper: i agree, david

David Pinkus: 1) Jacen has now committed himself to being a Sith, whether he believes it or not?

Mike Cooper: sure

Paul Urquhart: She has that egomania that an evil genius gets in their cave, plotting... they think they control everything...

Paul Urquhart: I don't know how much that actually means.

Mike Cooper: yeah, it's still debatable what "sith" means anymore

David Pinkus: Agree to it then! :p

Paul Urquhart: I take david's point on the fact that it defines (limits?) his range of action, but if it's a question of what Jacen wants vs. what the Sith Order expect, Jacen wins.

* Mike Cooper covers paul's mouth

Mike Cooper: he agrees

David Pinkus: 2) Vergere is not necessarily a Sith? (given the source of her "outing" it's LIKELY but not CERTAIN)

Billy Buehler: Jacen does and Jacen wants- if considered a Sith, his actions will not be confined to the usual Sith code

Mike Cooper: i don't think the book really calls her a sith

Mike Cooper: she had a little bit of training from palpatine, then promptly decides to kill him

Billy Buehler: at most Lumiya suggests Vergere was a Sith Acolyte

Billy Buehler: to a certain degree

Paul Urquhart: Likely but not certain. Agreed.

Billy Buehler: but, yeah, as Coop mentions, she backs off

Mike Cooper: she's certainly had far more jedi training than sith training

Mike Cooper: lumiya certainly got much further than vergere did, even ventress did maybe

Mike Cooper: i think vergere was just open to any possibility...she went to palpatine's shop o' evil, picked out what she liked, and moved on

David Pinkus: Correct, but I've invited Cory Herndon (author of her RPG stats) to come back to TF.n soon, so we can learn what he knew and when he knew it.

David Pinkus: Given that Vergere spoke Sith as of Nov/Dec-2002

David Pinkus: 3) Lumiya is being manipulated by a 3rd party which may -- or may not -- be Future Jacen.

Billy Buehler: Palpatine's Shop O' Evil: we've got nefarious bargains up the wazoo!

Mike Cooper: i'm nowhere near convinced on that, david

David Pinkus: What would be your take?

Mike Cooper: heh...i'd love to hear palpatine say "up the wazoo"

Paul Urquhart: I think it's possible: Lumiya isn't as in-control as she thinks? Definately.

Paul Urquhart: Evil geniuses never are...

* Paul Urquhart makes note to remind myself of that.

Mike Cooper: it's too soon to have a take...like i said before, what i'd like is for her to be acting independently and completely on the up-and-up

Paul Urquhart: "up-and-up"?

Mike Cooper: honest

Mike Cooper: so whatever happens to jacen, he can't just say "darn! they tricked me!"

Paul Urquhart: I'm sure she could be... but I think that the Galaxy is bigger than Sith ambition can swallow.

Paul Urquhart: We've seen that time and again...

Billy Buehler: I hope that, shy any flow-walking intervention by Future Jacen, Lumiya is acting under her own devices, because it makes her more unqiue as a Sith

Mike Cooper: which is why i'd rather not see it again

Mike Cooper: bingo billy

Paul Urquhart: Just as Wedge and Han are taking Corellia out from under Thrackan without *any* of the three of them realising...

David Pinkus: Okay, Coop. I can concede that as a possibility. But here's then the question, Coop -- and this is where I'm conflicted as all get-out. If the main villain in Star Wars is NEVER seen up-front (took us two Prequels to get to Sidious and two OT to get to the Emperor)... then Jacen ISN'T the main antagonist of Legacy. Which means: who is?

Billy Buehler: If Lumiya is not being manipulated (and really, even if there is flow-walking involved, it seems Jacen is manipulating his past-self rather than actually Lumiya)

Billy Buehler: ...and I forgot what i was gonna finish that sentence with...

Mike Cooper: that's the whole appeal of the story to me, david - there isn't one overarching evil guy

* Paul Urquhart thinks everyone should go read _Blade of Tyshale_

Billy Buehler: damn those excessively long parentheticals

David Pinkus: I've read it, Paul

Mike Cooper: it's just the galaxy working out its myriad issues

Mike Cooper: leia says it: "both sides are us"

David Pinkus: I just want the next book before I head to Vegas next week so I can have something to read on the plane...

Mike Cooper: even jacen/lumiya is just the natural sorting out of all the leftover sith craziness from palpatine's time

David Pinkus: Which, if you follow the movies, there aren't any of... ;)

Paul Urquhart: On the Prequels - we saw Palpatine, and Sidious' holograms...

Paul Urquhart: We saw Sidious on the balcony in TPM too...

David Pinkus: Right -- but they weren't viewed as the main antagonists until the 3rd acts of their respective trilogies.

Paul Urquhart: Sith Jacen, Darth whatever, could easily be sufficiently "hiding" behind Palpatine...

David Pinkus: Much like Shimmra in NJO (and later Onimi).

Mike Cooper: what david's saying is they weren't actively participating, just moving the players around the board

Paul Urquhart: *behind Jacen, I mean.

Mike Cooper: which, true, happened in the NJO, and could be happening again now

Billy Buehler: I must depart now

David Pinkus: Right... like what Future Jacen (or whomever) is doing to Lumiya, Jacen, Corellia, etc.

Paul Urquhart: I'm still thinking about the woman at Kuat.

Billy Buehler: Been fun- later folks

Paul Urquhart: If she was Lumiya, she's in it *much* thicker than she seems...

Paul Urquhart: Bye, Billy!

David Pinkus: Booooo!

Paul Urquhart: Actually commanding Corellian commandos...

Mike Cooper: i just get a little frustrated with the notion that bad things can't just happen in this galaxy; there has to be a Nefarious Villian behind everything

Paul Urquhart: If it's *not*, there's more happening here than we realise...

(Billy leaves)

Paul Urquhart: Coop - agreed.

David Pinkus: Mon Mothma died of old age, as did Ackbar. Those bad things just happened.

Paul Urquhart: What I'm saying is that the villains always exist in a context...

Mike Cooper: in this galaxy, dying of old age is probably one of the best things that can happen

Mike Cooper: one last thing we didn't cover - what's everyone's first impression of syal "twitchy" antilles?

David Pinkus: I loved her character thus far.

* Paul Urquhart is tapping right leg in jittery tribute

Paul Urquhart: Syal is great. And Not. A. ****ing. Jedi.

David Pinkus: Her reseponse to attempted solicitation of treason is... nice.

Paul Urquhart: Okay, she's Corellian, like all the other prominent non-Jedi... but still... cool.

David Pinkus: Yes, I love the fact that two non-Jedi are responsible for making the GFFA lose their holding of the Corellian system.

Paul Urquhart: And Shalla's cameo - I was surprised by the lack of Wraiths. Did I miss anyone else (like Piggy and Face in _Ruin_)?

David Pinkus: Janson is mentioned.

David Pinkus: He's retired apparently.

Mike Cooper: it might just be allston's writing, but after years of jacen and jaina, it really seemed like this was the first time we got awesome new-generation characters. syal's a kickass (and honorable) pilot, and ben's the most competent jedi since saba

David Pinkus: And quite influential on Tanaab

Mike Cooper: i love the fact that the one wraith cameo isn't even named. it's very respectable of allston

Paul Urquhart: *nods* I liked that.

Paul Urquhart: And Pellaeon reading Wedge's mind about toilet duty.

David Pinkus: We did get Tainer's kid on more active Jedi duty as well, no?

Mike Cooper: even doran tainer had little to no screen time

Mike Cooper: he's just kind of around

Mike Cooper: kolir, tiu and the falleen guy are all cool, too

Paul Urquhart: And Ben... well, it only struck me now, but he's *genuinely* pushing the boundaries of Jedi... contrast with Jacen.

Paul Urquhart: "we're spies." "I'm sneaky."

Mike Cooper: it's cool because he's doing it in the exact opposite way

Paul Urquhart: Mara's kid all right.

David Pinkus: Yeah, everything Ben does is in-line with what we expect the Jedi Code to be.

David Pinkus: Except he does it by breaking most of the rules to get there.

Paul Urquhart: Of course, because the Code is basic morality.

Mike Cooper: the ideal code, maybe

Mike Cooper: certainly not the prequel code

David Pinkus: Contrast with Jacen who does everything by the book of "the ends justify the means." Spock would make a horrible Jedi...

David Pinkus: "The good of the many outweigh the good of the few. OR the one."

Mike Cooper: i see ben growing up to be a great jedi...even if he does beget steven tyler

Paul Urquhart: Is that Jacen or Spock?

David Pinkus: Exactly...

Paul Urquhart: Cade is supposed to be a bona fide descendant of Luke, though...

* Paul Urquhart ducks

Mike Cooper: what does that mean?

David Pinkus: Can't be from Jacen or Jaina.

Mike Cooper: right. ben. like i said

David Pinkus: Luke IS supposed to have at least one more child though... Mother Rell said so.

Mike Cooper: who's rell?

Paul Urquhart: Look for a line that picks up and turns around "Tell me about your mother... your real mother"...

Paul Urquhart: Rell - Yoda's ex.

David Pinkus: The Dathomiri elder who died

Mike Cooper: i acknowledge that cade doesn't HAVE to be ben's line, but i'd really rather luke didn't have more kids

Paul Urquhart: Tenel Ka is his, I tell you.

Mike Cooper: so THAT's why allana was born so quickly

Paul Urquhart: On Jacen... for all his morality, he does everything so Luke "doesn't die".

Mike Cooper: yeah. like annie.

Paul Urquhart: Correct me if I'm wrong, but (a.) Luke is mortal; (b.) "There is no death, there is the Force"....

David Pinkus: On Anakin though... for all his morality, he does everything so Padme "doesn't die."

David Pinkus: Dammit Coop!

Mike Cooper: beat ya =p

Paul Urquhart: =p

Mike Cooper: except - anakin had morals?

Mike Cooper: let's ask the tusken babies about that one

Paul Urquhart: Anakin wants to rule the Galaxy and master the Force...

David Pinkus: Anakin had morals, he was just easily tempted. Jacen has morals, except that HE defines what they are and his decisions are always correct.

Mike Cooper: okay, i think it's time to wrap up

Mike Cooper: any last comments?

Paul Urquhart: Jacen, in chosing to save Luke, shows himself up as either a screaming hypocrite, or a weak, vulnerable human being...

David Pinkus: Good start. Can't wait for the next one. I was right about Jacen, probably right about Vergere and anyone who thinks Jacen's not evil at his point has some issues.

Paul Urquhart: Thanks for organizing this, Coop.

Mike Cooper: i'll just repeat what i said earlier: i hope the moral of LotF doesn't end up being "jedi shouldn't think"

Mike Cooper: da

Paul Urquhart: Good book. But as I say in my review, I hope there's more than Jacen's neuroses to carry this...

Paul Urquhart: So in base, I guess I agree with Coop, and his lack-of-driving-evil-mastermind desires.

Mike Cooper: david, i think most everyone knew this was coming. certainly after DN

David Pinkus: You'd be surprised, Coop. Check out a lot of peoples' posts in the "Jacen Solo becomes a Sith... is this a done deal?" thread.

Paul Urquhart: I'd be interested to see if anyone (except maybe Aaron, Troy and Karen) actually makes the "Jacen isn't evil" case...

Mike Cooper: i don't have a good closing line...someone say something appropriate

Paul Urquhart: "He exists."

In closing, I just want to thank the guys for participating, and Aaron Allston for starting this series with a bang. Here's hoping we can organize something like this again when Bloodlines comes out...

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