ow that we’re all finally getting our hands on From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back, it’s time to set our excitement levels to maximum for The High Republic, the multimedia publishing project set to expand the Star Wars universe in ways no stories have before.
Light of the Jedi may not be Charles Soule’s first dive into Star Wars, but it is his first Star Wars novel. It also happens to be the story that will launch this entire initiative -- and it’s now less than two months away.
The book follows Jedi Avar Kriss as she witnesses -- and figures out how to survive -- the Great Disaster. What follows is an excerpt from the second chapter of the book.
Scantech (third-class) Merven Getter was ready.
Ready to clock out for the day, ready to get the shuttle back to the inner system, ready to hit the cantina a few streets away from the spaceport on the Rooted Moon where Sella worked tending bar, ready to see if today was the day he might find the courage to ask her out. She was Twi’lek, and he was Mirialan, but what difference did that make? We are all the Republic. Chancellor Soh’s big slogan — but people believed it. Actually, Merven thought he did, too. Attitudes were evolving. The possibilities were endless.
And maybe, one of those possibilities revolved around a scantech (third-class) staffed on a monitoring station far out on the ecliptic of the Hetzal system, itself pretty blasted far out on the Rim, sadly distant from the bright lights and interesting worlds of the Republic Core. Perhaps that scantech (third-class), who spent his days staring at holoscreens, logging starship traffic in and out of the system, could actually catch the eye of the lovely scarlet-skinned woman who served him up a mug of the local ale, three or four nights a week. Sella usually stayed around to chat with him for a while, circling back as other customers drifted in and out of her little tavern. She seemed to find his stories about life on the far edge of the system inexplicably interesting. Merven didn’t get why she was so fascinated. Sometimes ships showed up in-system, popping in from hyperspace and appearing on his screens, and other times ships left . . . at which point their little icons disappeared from his screens. Nothing interesting ever happened — flight plans were logged ahead of time, so he usually knew what was coming or going. Merven was responsible for making sure those flight plans were followed, and not much else. On the off chance something unusual occurred, his job was just to notify people significantly more important than he was.
Scantech (third-class) Merven Getter spent his days watching people go places. He, in contrast, stayed still.
But maybe not today. He thought about Sella. He thought about her smile, the way she decorated her lekku with those intricate lacings she told him she designed herself, the way she stopped whatever she was doing to pour him his mug of ale the moment he walked in, without him even having to ask for it.
Yeah. He was going to ask her to dinner. Tonight. He’d been saving up, and he knew a place not too far from the cantina. Not so far from his place, either, but that was getting ahead of himself.
He just had to get through his blasted shift.
Merven glanced over at his colleague, Scantech (second-class) Vel Carann. He wanted to ask her if he could check out a little early that day, take the shuttle back to the Rooted Moon. She was reading something on a datapad, her eyes rapt. Probably one of the Jedi romances she was always obsessed with. Merven didn’t get it. He’d read a few — they were all set at outposts on the far Republic frontiers, full of unrequited love and longing glances . . . the only action was the lightsaber battles that were clearly a substitute for what the characters really wanted to do. Vel wasn’t supposed to be reading personal material on company time, but if he called her out on it, she’d just tap the screen and switch it to a technical manual and insist she wasn’t doing any- thing wrong. The trouble was, she was second-class, and he was third-class, which meant that as long as he did his job, she thought she didn’t have to do hers.
Nah. Not even worth asking for an early sign-off time. Not from Vel. He could get through the rest of his shift. Not long now, and —
Something appeared on one of his screens. “Huh,” Merven said.
That was odd. Nothing was scheduled to enter the system for another twenty minutes or so.
Something else appeared. A number of somethings. Ten. “What the — ?” Merven said.
“Problem, Getter?” Vel asked, not glancing up from her screen. “I’m not sure,” he said. “Got a bunch of unscheduled entries to the system, and they’re not decelerating.”
“Wait . . . what?” Vel said, setting down her datascreen and finally looking at her own monitors. “Oh, that is odd.”
More icons popped up on Merven’s screens, too many to count at a glance.
“Is this . . . do you think it’s . . . asteroids, maybe?” Vel said, her voice unsteady.
“At that velocity? From hyperspace? I dunno. Run an analysis,” Merven said. “See if you can figure out what they are.”
Silence from Vel’s station. Merven glanced up.
“I . . . don’t know how,” she said. “After the latest upgrade, I never bothered to learn the systems. You seemed to have it all under control, and I’m really here to supervise, you know, and — ”
“Fine,” he said, utterly unsurprised. “Can you track trajectories, at least? That subroutine’s been the same for like two years.”
“Yeah,” Vel said. “I can do that.”
Merven turned back to his screens and started typing commands across his keypads.
There were now forty-two anomalies in-system, all moving at a velocity near lightspeed. Incredibly fast, in other words, much quicker than safety regulations allowed ...
You can read the full excerpt on StarWars.com.
The first of many books kicking off The High Republic era of Star Wars publishing releases January 5, 2021. You can view our complete Book Profile for more details and pre-order your copy so it gets shipped on release day.
For a complete list of recent and upcoming Star Wars book and comic releases, visit our regularly updated Release Schedule.