- "The darkness was eternal, all-powerful, unchangeable. She stared into it, unblinking and unafraid. She was determined that it would not claim her. She had resisted it this many years. She would resist it forever, never despairing. It was unchangeable, but change would take place. The Force said so."
- ―Opening words
Outcast is a novel by Aaron Allston released on March 24, 2009. It is the first novel in the Fate of the Jedi series and published as a hardcover and audiobook. The book features an excerpt of the subsequent novel Omen. The audiobook is narrated by Marc Thompson, who narrated the audiobook versions for the Legacy of the Force series. The paperback was released on April 27, 2010.
THE NEXT CHAPTER IN THE EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY OF THE STAR WARS GALAXY BEGINS HERE...
After a violent civil war, and the devastation wrought by the now-fallen Darth Caedus, the Galactic Alliance is in crisis—and in need. From all corners, politicians, power brokers, and military leaders converge on Coruscant for a crucial summit to restore order, negotiate differences, and determine the future of their unified worlds. But even more critical, and far more uncertain, is the future of the Jedi.
In a shocking move, Chief of State Natasi Daala orders the arrest of Luke Skywalker for failing to prevent Jacen Solo's turn to the dark side and subsequent reign of terror as a Sith Lord. But it's only the first blow in an anti-Jedi backlash fueled by a hostile government and suspicious public. When Jedi Knight Valin Horn, scion of a politically influential family, suffers a mysterious psychotic break and becomes a dangerous fugitive, the Jedi become the target of a media-driven witch-hunt. Facing conviction on the charges, Luke has only one choice. He must strike a bargain with the calculating Daala-his freedom in exchange for his exile from Coruscant and from the Jedi Order.
Now, though forbidden to intervene in Jedi affairs, Luke is determined to keep grim history from being repeated. With his son, Ben, at his side, Luke sets out to unravel the shocking truth behind Jacen Solo's corruption and downfall. But the secrets he uncovers among the enigmatic Force mystics of the distant world Dorin may bring his quest—and life as he knows it—to a sudden end. And all the while, another Jedi Knight, consumed by the same madness as Valin Horn, is headed for Coruscant on a fearsome mission that could doom the Jedi Order . . . and devastate the entire galaxy.
The novel starts off two years after the end of the Second Galactic Civil War. The galaxy is still steadily recovering from the fallen Darth Caedus's brief but brutal reign as Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance. The partnership between the GA, Imperial Remnant and the Confederation, headed by GA Chief of State Natasi Daala, is working well enough to bring the Galactic Alliance back to its previous status. Unfortunately, Jedi Knight Valin Horn suddenly believes that everyone around him is an imposter as he detects through their Force presences. He then goes on a rampage on Coruscant trying to find where the real people are. After two extended chases throughout the upper levels of the GA capital planet, with several Jedi in pursuit of Valin, he is caught and brought into the medical custody of the New Jedi Order, despite the resentment presented towards the Jedi by the others chasing Valin, such as Galactic Alliance Security, led by Captain Oric Harfard, and the bounty hunters hired by Daala to chase down the rogue Jedi. However, as Jedi Master Cilghal tries to examine Valin, she finds that he is somehow blocking out her brain sensors from discovering what is going on in his mind, a trick harnessed by Jacen Solo prior to his fall to the dark side of the Force.
Meanwhile, Grand Master Luke Skywalker is arrested by Daala under the charge of dereliction of duty in lieu of Darth Caedus's reign of terror, having failed to prevent his fall to the dark side. Daala's plan is to hold the Jedi accountable for their actions as ordinary superhumans, for not bringing Jacen under their control during the Second Galactic Civil War and for abandoning the GA at the Battle of Kuat. Luke arranges to go into a ten year exile in an effort to learn how and why Jacen fell to the dark side. Should he effectively demonstrate that Jacen's fall was not his fault to a board of Galactic Alliance members of Daala's choosing, he will be pardoned of all charges. Luke's son, Ben, decides to go with him to also gain some closure from Jacen's machinations toward him during the previous war, such as nearly apprenticing him as a Sith, having him do many horrible deeds as he served in the Galactic Alliance Guard, Jacen killing Ben's mother, Mara, etc. Luke leaves Jedi Master Kenth Hamner as acting Grand Master, as Luke cannot be within five light years of a Jedi Order Temple or Academy, nor can he advise in any Jedi affairs. The Order gives him a warm send off as a reminder of his achievements and contributions to the New Jedi Order he founded. Meanwhile, Han and Leia Organa Solo sneak off of Coruscant with their granddaughter, Allana, C-3PO, and R2-D2, to respond to Lando and Tendra Risant Calrissian's help in the glitterstim mines of Kessel. Han is reluctant to go due to his experiences on the planet with Kyp Durron and the late Chewbacca decades earlier, but Leia convinces him to go help a friend, as they can't do much else. Not much later, the New Jedi Order members are given individual observers to ensure what happened with Valin Horn and Seff Hellin doesn't occur again. Jaina Solo is assigned Dab Hantaq, who was given reconstructive surgery to look like Jaina's dead brother, Anakin, during the Yuuzhan Vong War by the late treacherous Senator Viqi Shesh. This was in an attempt to distract Han and Leia with the loss of their son so that Shesh could kidnap an infant Ben Skywalker for the Yuuzhan Vong. Tahiri Veila, meanwhile, is freed from observation in court, due to Nawara Ven's legal savvy. She meets Dab again since the war against the Vong, and is visibly shaken.
Luke and Ben arrive at Dorin, where the Baran Do Sages' Temple is situated. Luke requests a meeting with Mistress Tila Mong, who later allows an audience after Ben defeats the student apprentice, Tistura Paan. They discover that Jacen came to the Sages for their own mastery of the Force and techniques. Luke easily masters what Jacen had learned. At a ceremony for Charsae Saal, Luke and Ben realize the Master had not died, but merely concealed himself in the Force, and transported himself underground to assume a new identity and die in obscurity. Apparently, none of the Masters of the Baran Do Sages—not even Koro Ziil, the Master in charge when Jacen was present—have died, and the Skywalkers invade a transport for Saal. They go with him to where he goes, and they are informed that they have to choose new names, for Luke and Ben Skywalker are dead. The reasoning for the underground Kel Dors' plan is that in case if another Jedi purge were to occur, and the Baran Do Sages on the surface of Dorin were wiped out, then the underground Sages would be safe from such an onslaught, resurface, and then teach what they learned for the future of their order.
On Kessel, Han and Leia are informed by Lando and Tendra that there are groundquakes occurring throughout the planet. The Solos find out that these quakes are resulting from groups of machines, guarded by strange phantom-like beings, interspersed across the globe that are exerting gravitic anomolies that Leia calculates would completely destroy the world very soon. So they get the help of Rogue Squadron, with Wedge Antilles once again leading the team, to destroy the machines as Han and Leia help in the Millennium Falcon. Eventually, the machines are destroyed, and Kessel is safe. Lando, Tendra and Nien Nunb's glitterstim enterprise continues, and Han, Leia, Allana, C-3PO and R2-D2 prepare to go home back to Coruscant. However, Allana is visibly shaken from an unknown dark side presence that she feels is above Kessel.
After convincing the Kel Dors present in the underground caverns that their mission here would backfire on them and showing them that their leader, the Hidden One (Koro Ziil), was keeping secrets from them, the Skywalkers orchestrate their escape. Ben bests Chara (Charsae Saal) in combat to prove the underground organization's lack of efficiency in terms of Force-using and combat, as Luke does to the Hidden One when the latter refuses to let his followers go. Most of the other Baran Do Sages down with the Skywalkers leave after the family's victory. The Skywalkers then decide to continue their journey to find out what Jacen learned through his travels via information from the Hidden One who told them of Jacen's next location prior to the quiet revolution that Luke provoked.
On Coruscant, Jaina and her Darkmeld organization secretly capture Seff Hellin for medical study, believing him to be afflicted with the same condition as Valin Horn, who was frozen and detained by the government in carbonite. Soon after, thanks to Nawara Ven again, the Jedi Order is reprieved of their observers.
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