T

hough May has nearly come and gone without a new Star Wars book, the wait for the next new release won’t be long.

The second wave of The HIgh Republic stories is fast-approaching. Next on the release schedule is a novel from Cavan Scott that picks up where Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi left off.

The Rising Storm chronicles the events that take place after the galaxy is forever changed by the Great Hyperspace Disaster.

Still a Padawan, Bell can’t become a Jedi Knight without a Master to guide him. But the one person he always thought would get him there isn’t around to do just that.

You can find part of a new excerpt from Cavan Scott’s The Rising Storm below.

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Not long ago, Padawan Bell Zettifar would have been excited by the sight that stretched out beneath him. He was standing on an observation platform in the largest hangar he had ever experienced, just part of the vast shipyards that orbited Cyclor, a relatively small green-and-brown planet in the Mid Rim. Below, gleaming bright in the hangar’s floodlights, was the vision in polished durasteel known as the Innovator. The starship, now hours from launch, was a technologi­cal marvel. Over 300 meters long and bristling with the latest scien­tific and medical equipment, the Innovator was quite simply the most sophisticated research vessel ever built, a fact its designer — the famed Aqualish engineer Vam Targes –had told Bell himself when he had arrived at the shipyards.

“It runs on a network of no fewer than forty-two intellex-grade droid processors, don’t you know?” Targes had informed him as they strode through the ship’s vast operations center on a whirlwind tour, the engineer’s vocoder whirring excitedly as it translated Vam’s native Aqualish to Basic.

“That’s very . . . impressive,” Bell had offered, only to be told in no uncertain terms that it was considerably more than that. It was out­standing!

“The entire network is supported by a multi-motion framework of my own design, one that rivals the Jedi Archives on Coruscant, if I do say so myself.”

Bell didn’t know if that was true, but he hadn’t wanted to contra­dict the engineer. This was Vam’s moment, after all, or rather it would be when the Innovator arrived on Valo in a couple of days. The ship was to be a showpiece at the upcoming Republic Fair, the latest of Chancel­lor Lina Soh’s Great Works. Soon millions of festival-goers would be marveling at Targes’s achievement, and if they were anything like Bell, they would be dazzled. The Innovator boasted state-of-the-art cyber­netic workshops alongside multiple bioengineering labs, analysis sta­tions, research facilities, and a medical library second only to the Docha Institute on Dunnak.

But as extraordinary as the craft undoubtedly was, it was still noth­ing compared with the beings who had constructed the ship rivet by rivet. The Cyclorrians were a wonder, unlike anything Bell had seen before. Insectoid in nature, they stood about a meter in height with large bulbous heads dominated by a pair of large compound eyes, much like the heat-flies that had buzzed through the halls of the Jedi outpost on Elphrona where Bell had received most of his training. He watched as they swarmed across the glistening hull, completing final checks, each Cyclorrian working in unison with their teammates with­out seeming to utter a single word. It was incredible. Each seemed to know exactly what job needed doing instinctively, none of them get­ting under one another’s feet, each perfectly complementing the next. And the enthusiasm for their work was infectious. In the twenty-four hours since he had arrived, Bell hadn’t seen a single Cyclorrian com­plain, despite Targes’s reputation as a strict taskmaster. The insectoids just kept on working, hour after hour, antennae twitching happily as they buzzed from one task to the next. You couldn’t help but smile in their presence. It was exactly what Bell needed, especially now.

Beside him, Ember stirred. The charhound had been sitting pa­tiently at his feet, Bell’s constant companion since they had left Elph­rona. The dog had started life as a stray that had been adopted by the Elphronian Jedi, becoming something of a mascot at first and a loyal friend ever since. When Bell had left Elphrona, Ember had simply hopped into his Vector, her intention of staying by his side clear. She had been there ever since, his guardian and confidante. Now she was on her feet, looking expectantly at the door of the observation platform as it swished open to allow Indeera Stokes entry. The aging Jedi laughed as Ember bounded over, jumping up onto the Tholothian’s legs to be rewarded by a tickle beneath the orange-flecked chin.

“Yes, yes,” Indeera said. “I’m pleased to see you, too. Now down you get. That’s it. Good girl. Good girl.”

Ember obeyed, trotting back over to Bell where he had remained at the edge of the platform. Bell looked down at her and smiled, the char­hound’s excited tail thwacking against his boots.

“I’m sure she likes you more than she does me,” he commented as Indeera joined him.

“I think we both know that’s a lie,” she said, joining him to gaze down at the majestic craft below. She leaned against the railing, shak­ing her head at the spectacle of the Cyclorrians hard at work. “Stars above, it takes your breath away, doesn’t it?”

“Indeed it does, Master. The Innovator is as impressive as those who constructed it.”

As always, Bell felt a pang as he addressed Indeera by her title. It was true, the Tholothian was his teacher now, having agreed to take on his training after his previous Master, Loden Greatstorm, had been lost defending settlers against the Nihil nearly a year ago. Their last conversation played regularly through his mind, Loden at the controls of his Vector.

“I’m not your Master anymore, Bell. You’re a Jedi Knight.”

“Not until the Council declares it, and I want you there when it happens.”

Now that would never be.

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You can read the full exclusive excerpt on StarWars.com.

Cavan Scott’s next High Republic story arrives on June 29, 2021. You can view our complete Book Profile for more details and pre-order your copy now.

For a complete list of recent and upcoming Star Wars book and comic releases, visit our regularly updated Release Schedule.

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Meg is a writer, podcaster, and photographer. She lives in Illinois with her dog and medal-worthy book collection, and believes any conversation in which Star Wars references are applicable is one worth having.

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