Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen is the second novel of the Dark Nest Trilogy by Troy Denning. It was published by Del Rey Books on September 27, 2005. Narration for the audio version was performed by Jonathan Davis.
The book also contains a preview of the Outbound Flight novel.
- ISBN 978-0345463036; September 27, 2005, Del Rey, 333-page paperback
- ISBN 0739320351; September 27, 2005, Random House Audio, Abridged CD
- ISBN 832412604X; Amber, 280-page Polish paperback
The epic Star Wars odyssey enters a new frontier as the heroes of the New Jedi Order confront a monstrous evil-insidious, unseen, and insatiable....
Though the insectoid Killiks have been given new worlds, they have not found peace yet. Their new colonies are under attack from a mysterious foe and the furious Killiks blame the Jedi. Racing back to the Unknown Regions to investigate, the Skywalkers and Solos discover a threat more familiar and terrifying than they had ever expected. Worse, the Dark Nest wants to kill Mara Jade. Will Jacen's apocalyptic vision create yet another galactic war or prevent one? Most mysterious and deadly of all, the Killiks are hiding a deadly secret.
To find out, Luke, Mara, Han and Leia must embark on a perilous journey into the unknown void between right and wrong. For a strange yet devastating dispute is about to explode into chaos, pitting Jedi against each other and threatening the galaxy itself.
The novel starts out one year after the Qoribu crisis with Jaina Solo and Zekk, who are still communicating via their Joiner connection since their time with the Killiks has made them mentally inseparable. Jaina and Zekk are tracking down robbers who are stealing Tibanna gas on Bespin, and they find that the robbers are acting under the influence of black membrosia. They realize, in horror, that the Gorog, or the Dark Nest, is still alive.
In the Utegetu Nebula, where the Colony established their nests since the Qoribu Truce, the Killiks are having problems with the Galactic Alliance. It turns out that the Killiks are allegedly harboring pirates and smugglers who steal starship fuel and run on black membrosia. Han and Leia Organa Solo, accompanied by C-3PO, travel to the planet Woteba, the nest of the Saras, in order to find out from UnuThul about the Killiks' side of the story concerning the pirates and smugglers, and if Han and Leia can find out the nature of this pirate-smuggler harboring, then Chief of State Cal Omas will grant the Ithorians a new home planet. Though UnuThul denies any knowledge of the pirates and smugglers, he does keep another end of the bargain that the Colony promised to keep; to tell Mara Jade Skywalker, who is accompanied by her husband, Luke, Saba Sebatyne, and R2-D2, why the Dark Nest has a vendetta against Mara. It turns out that the founders of the Dark Nest were not actually Lomi Plo and the late Welk, as was once thought, but the wife and daughter of the late Imperial bank accountant Dexar Ies, who Mara killed during her time as Emperor's Hand. Mara had killed Ies because he had embezzled two billion credits from Emperor Palpatine's personal bank account. After she killed Ies, she busted into his home in order to find a list that contained all of the other bank accounts that he placed the two billion credits in. When Ies's wife and daughter came home and caught Mara, her conscience prevented her from killing the wife and child, so she sent them off to hide in an unknown location in the galaxy and change their identities. So in obvious conclusion, the Dark Nest's hatred of Mara really stems from Ies's wife and daughter's anger against Mara for killing Dexar.
Before UnuThul tells the Skywalker-Solo company all of this, however, the company finds that Woteba is undergoing an epidemic called the Fizz, which degenerates the Killiks and kills them. And following the meeting where UnuThul tells Mara why the Dark Nest are after her, Luke and Han, along with C-3PO and R2-D2, agree to stay on Woteba to not only track down the Dark Nest on the planet, but to also discover the nature of the Fizz. It also turns out that the Killiks believe that the Galactic Alliance gave them the Utegetu Nebula because they knew that the Fizz would kill them, as this epidemic is spreading throughout all the other planets in the nebula, in vengeance for the Killiks causing so much trouble at the Qoribu crisis. But when the company leaves Luke, Han, C-3PO, and R2-D2 on Woteba, the four of them then encounter Alema Rar and the Dark Nest. Alema works out a deal with Luke; if the Galactic Alliance leaves the Dark Nest alone, then they will not interfere in Luke and Han's attempts at combating the Fizz problem. And Alema promises to seal the deal by unlocking a code in R2-D2's memory banks that will reveal more footage of Luke's parents' past every week. The one footage that Alema does decide to show them is a scene that reveals that Luke's father, Anakin, promising his wife, Padmé Amidala, that he will stop her from dying in childbirth while she is carrying Luke and Leia in pregnancy. Regardless, going behind the Dark Nest's back, Luke and Han continue their journey to not only solve the Fizz problem, but also the Dark Nest problem.
Meanwhile, at the funeral of Sien Sovv, Cal Omas, as part of Sullustan funeral customs, issues a short statement of Sovv and his life. However, his statement that suggests his death was thanks to foul play. It turns out that Sovv and his crew were killed when their ship collided with a smuggler ship because the crew of that ship was under the influence of black membrosia. Omas doesn't just blame the Dark Nest for Sovv's death, but the entire Killik race. In fact, he finds the New Jedi Order to be incompetent in solving the Killik problem and swears to Kyp Durron and Kenth Hamner at the funeral that he will take matters into his own hands if the Jedi do not solve this problem soon.
On Hapes, Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker arrive in secrecy to respond to a call by Queen Mother Tenel Ka Djo, which took them from a camping trip at Endor. Tenel Ka reveals to Jacen, and unintentionally Ben, their new baby daughter, to whom Tenel Ka used the Force to slow her birth, which is why she is a week old when she should have been a few months old because of the last time Jacen and Tenel Ka met. Tenel Ka reveals that since the baby was born out of wedlock, which is forbidden in Hapan customs, the knowledge of her existence toward the rest of the kingdom is dangerous for the baby, especially if her paternity is ever figured out. In fact, the Dark Nest attack Tenel Ka's palace, and Jacen and Tenel Ka learn via Ben, since he still has a connection to the Gorog, that the Dark Nest wants to kill the baby. Fortunately, the Gorog's attempt fails when Jacen and Tenel Ka successfully kill the assassins, and Tenel Ka deduces that it was her manipulative grandmother, Ta'a Chume, who somehow hired the Gorog to assassinate the baby.
For this, Jacen interrogates Ta'a Chume herself by mentally torturing her with the Force in order to find out why she wanted her great-grandchild dead. She reveals that the Dark Nest came to Ta'a Chume for navigation technology for reasons unknown, because Ta'a Chume never asked the Gorog as to why they wanted the technology. She made a deal with them, however, and the deal was this: If the Dark Nest assassinated Tenel Ka's daughter, then the Gorog could get their navigation technology. Ta'a Chume wanted the baby dead because, as heir to the Hapan throne, she posed a threat to Ta'a Chume's future attempts at coming back as Queen Mother, and that she did not want the throne to be ruled by the child of two Jedi. In retaliation for trying to kill his daughter, Jacen plunges Ta'a Chume into a coma. Then he gets an apocalyptic vision of an eternal war involving people, Chiss, and the Killiks.
Back on Woteba, Luke, Han, C-3PO and R2-D2 track down five smugglers, one Neimoidian and four Aqualish, where they trade starship fuel to members of the Dark Nest for star amber. Soon, a fight erupts between the two parties, where the smugglers and Dark Nest members are killed by the Fizz, and Luke and Han deduce that the Fizz is some sort of chemical that kills everything on Woteba that harms the planet. They tell this to UnuThul, who, in the Colony's gratitude, give them a spinglass replica of Luke's X-wing which he flew to destroy the first Death Star in the Battle of Yavin, and a spinglass replica of Han's Millennium Falcon. However, Alema returns and convinces UnuThul to imprison Luke and Han for a long enough time to become Joiners. And during their imprisonment, they unlock another holofeed from R2-D2's memory banks that shows Anakin, now as Darth Vader, hunting down Jedi children at the old Jedi Temple during Order 66. This unsettles Luke and makes him meditate to calm his feelings of the horrendous actions his father had committed. Then Han decides to formulate a plan for him, Luke, C-3PO, and R2-D2 to escape by the aid of Jae Juun and Tarfang, who are running the spinglass replicas for the Killiks, which they have delivered to the Fifth Fleet. Han shatters his Falcon replica, which turns out to be Gorog assassins in disguise. Luke and Han kill the assassins, and they all realize that Juun and Tarfang have delivered something that can destroy the Galactic Alliance.
At the New Jedi Temple on Ossus, Cilghal finds out from the sample of Fizz that Leia and Saba brought back with them that the Fizz was part of some sort of biological terraforming system that destroys anything that doesn't run parallel to the ecosystem of Woteba. This applies to all other planets in the Utegetu Nebula, because the blast that had formed the nebula had somehow ingrained the biological agents of the Fizz into the planets, which was why they did not have any animals at the time Han, Leia, Alema Rar, Jae Juun, Tarfang, C-3PO, R2-D2, Cakhmaim and Meewalh had first found the nebula. Leia and Saba depart via the Millennium Falcon, with Mara in her StealthX X-wing starfighter, back to Woteba to extract Luke, Han, C-3PO and R2-D2 and tell the Killiks about the Fizz. But the Galactic Alliance has now set up a blockade run by Admiral Nek Bwua'tu by the orders of Cal Omas, who has finally decided to take matters into his own hands. When Leia and Saba try to penetrate the blockade with Mara, they are captured and held prisoner by Bwua'tu's forces, though Mara manages to evade capture.
As for Omas, when he decided to take action against the Killiks by setting up the blockade, he also took advantage of the New Jedi Order's apparent lack of leadership in Luke's absence on Woteba by having Corran Horn become temporary leader of the Order. Omas knows that Corran will act as his temporary puppet in controlling the ruling faction of the New Jedi Order, whereas Kyp Durron decides to take action against this government-Jedi alliance, like he did during the Yuuzhan Vong War, to save Luke, Han, Leia, Mara, and Saba. This causes a rift in the New Jedi Order, and Jacen decides to take advantage of this distraction to gather up his peers who he worked with alongside the Killiks at Qoribu in order to make a preemptive strike against the Chiss so that he can halt the coming eternal war that he has seen. They then make a raid on a storage facility with no Chiss casualties, but Jaina looks down on her brother's actions for intentionally starting the conflict when they could have done it with stealth (considering that they were flying in StealthXs). After the mission is complete, Jaina vows to Jacen that she will never fly with him again.
On Woteba, Luke, Han, C-3PO and R2-D2, thanks to Juun and Tarfang, escape the planet, where they then travel to an unnamed world in the Tusken's Eye after a brief battle against pirate forces working for the Dark Nest. Then the company hops aboard a nest ship for one of the Killik nests. It travels into hyperspace toward the Murgo Choke where the Alliance blockade is set up to prevent anyone going in or coming out of the Utegetu Nebula. This begins the Battle of the Murgo Choke.
Aboard the Admiral Ackbar, Bwua'tu's battleship and where Leia and Saba are imprisoned, the two Jedi escape but fail to convince Bwua'tu to call off the blockade. However, when the Dark Nest attacks via the spinglass busts handed to them by Juun and Tarfang, Leia convinces Bwua'tu to work with her in order to survive. Then Leia, Saba, and Bwua'tu, along with the other surviving crew members of the Admiral Ackbar, find that with the Dark Nest attacking the ship from the inside, it would be best to abandon ship to the enemy. But not before Leia and Alema launch into a lightsaber duel rematch from their last time on Woteba in the previous novel. Leia severs one of Alema's lekku, wins the duel, but Alema escapes.
Aboard the Gorog nest ship where Luke, Han, C-3PO, R2-D2, Juun, and Tarfang traveled on to go to the Murgo Choke, they travel along its length so that they can find the spot where Mara, in her StealthX, can blow the hyperspace generator for the nest ship and Luke can kill Lomi Plo. However, when Luke does duel Lomi Plo, it turns out that she is invisible, therefore the unseen queen of the Dark Nest, because she uses the doubts of others in order to stay invisible through the dark side of the Force. The doubt that Plo uses against Luke is the doubt sprouted by UnuThul's story that it was indirectly Mara's fault that the Dark Nest exists by sparing Dexar Ies's family. Though Mara successfully destroys the Dark Nest ship's hyperspace generator, Lomi Plo escapes, and Luke, Han, C-3PO, R2-D2, Juun, Tarfang, and Mara all retreat to the Mon Mothma, Admiral Bwua'tu's new flagship since the Killiks took the Admiral Ackbar. Luke narrowly survives a decompression death from his leaking spacesuit that resulted in his fight with Plo. The characters aboard the Mon Mothma are then thrown into sorrow because of the events of the Battle of the Murgo Choke, as well as the Jedi Knights' Chiss raid.
And because of these events, the Swarm War has begun.
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Behind the ScenesEdit
The pre-existing character who died in this novel was Sien Sovv, a prominent side character who played a recurring role throughout The New Jedi Order, though his death happened off-page. The loss of Ta'a Chume as a character in the post-New Jedi Order novels could be looked upon as a death, although she was actually put in a coma—one she will never recover from.
This novel's indication of Jacen Solo falling to the dark side is probably the strongest, as he not only plunges Ta'a Chume into a permanent coma, but also aggravates the Chiss Ascendancy into engaging the Killiks for the Swarm War.
This is a gallery of the different cover variations of Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen.