- "Every end is a new beginning."
Aftermath: Empire's End is a canon novel written by Chuck Wendig and the final volume in Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy. It was first published by Del Rey on February 21, 2017. The novel features the Battle of Jakku, the final engagement of the Galactic Civil War. The paperback edition includes the short story "Blade Squadron: Jakku".
Following Star Wars: Aftermath and Star Wars: Life Debt, Chuck Wendig delivers the exhilarating conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy set in the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
The Battle of Endor shattered the Empire, scattering its remaining forces across the galaxy. But the months following the Rebellion's victory have not been easy. The fledgling New Republic has suffered a devastating attack from the Imperial remnant, forcing the new democracy to escalate their hunt for the hidden enemy.
For her role in the deadly ambush, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane is the most wanted Imperial war criminal—and one-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, back in service at Leia's urgent request, is leading the hunt. But more than just loyalty to the New Republic drives Norra forward: Her husband was turned into a murderous pawn in Sloane's assassination plot, and now she wants vengeance as much as justice.
But Sloane, too, is on a furious quest: pursuing the treacherous Gallius Rax to the barren planet Jakku. As the true mastermind behind the Empire's devastating attack, Rax has led the Empire to its defining moment. The cunning strategist has gathered the powerful remnants of the Empire's war machine, preparing to execute the late Emperor Palpatine's final plan. As the Imperial fleet orbits Jakku, an armada of Republic fighters closes in to finish what began at Endor. Norra and her crew soar into the heart of an apocalyptic clash that will leave land and sky alike scorched. And the future of the galaxy will finally be decided.
Prior to the Battle of Endor, Admiral Gallius Rax visits Emperor Palpatine aboard the second Death Star. The Emperor, in an attempt to prepare for all outcomes, tells Rax to prepare for the Contingency. He orders Rax to take the Ravager and hide in the Vulpinus Nebula until the events of the "shatterpoint" resolve. He also tells Rax to be prepared to return to the Observatory on Jakku to fulfill his destiny.
On the planet Taris, the bounty hunter Mercurial Swift is hunting for a wilder girl named Vazeen Mordraw, who stole a caseload of ID cards from the Gindar Gang, who had stolen them from New Republic dignitaries. However, this job turns out to have been a ruse set up by the Imperial hunters Norra Wexley, Jas Emari, and Sinjir Rath Velus to trap Swift. Wexley and her team question Swift about Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, the purported mastermind behind the attack on Chandrila months earlier. A defiant Swift holds out until Sinjir threatens to send the modified B1 battle droid Mister Bones to harm his mother Tabba Teldar. Swift reveals that Sloane and a man were last seen on Jakku and mentions a man named Gallius Rax. The rebels then knock him unconscious and leave him behind. When Swift awakes, he seeks revenge against Jas by collecting a hefty underworld bounty on her head.
On Chandrila, a pregnant Princess Leia Organa and her husband Han Solo talk about raising their unborn child and the Galactic Civil War. Leia wants the New Republic to turn its attention to worlds such as Tatooine, Kerev Doi, Demesel, and Horuz, which are under the thrall of Imperial remnants or criminal organizations. Despite the attack on Chandrila, the New Republic tries to take comfort with the liberation of Kashyyyk. Leia is then contacted by Norra Wexley who informs her about Sloane's last sighting on Jakku and Rax.
Aboard Norra's freighter Moth, Sinjir and Jas debate the notion of goodness while Temmin Wexley confronts his mother for leaving him and Mister Bones aboard the ship. Norra reminds her son they are traveling to Jakku to find both Sloane and Brentin Lore Wexley. Upon exiting hyperspace above Jakku, the Moth discovers a large Imperial fleet orbiting the planet. Norra sets the Moth's hyperdrive to return to Chandrila while she and Jas Emari travel on an escape pod to Jakku. Temmin sends Mister Bones to follow Norra and Jas in a second escape pod. While Sinjir operates the freighter's guns, Temmin dodges the Imperial fights and manages to activate the hyperdrive and escape to Chandrila.
Norra and Jas survive a rough landing on the deserts of Jakku. Jas is angry with Norra for her impromptu landing since she did not have time to bring her weapons. Lacking a plan, Norra and Jas decide to collect their gear and continue their search for Sloane. Meanwhile on Kashyyyk, Chewbacca's son Lumpawaroo escapes from an Imperial child slave labor camp on the slopes of Mount Arayakyak. He is pursued by the sadistic Commandant Dessard and other Imperial "milk-skins." However, the Imperials are ambushed by a part of armed Wookiees and New Republic soldiers including his father Chewbacca and the one-armed Greybok. While Dessard is taken prisoner, Lumpawaroo has an emotional reunion with his father.
Back on Chandrila, Chancellor Mon Mothma attends a meeting of the Committee for Imperial Reallocation, which is responsible for distributing the resources of the Galactic Empire. The Committee's chair Sondiv Sella warns that the Empire has not been defeated yet, prompting an argument with the other senators including her political opponent Tolwar Wartol, a member of the near-extinct Orishen species. Mothma's Togruta adviser Auxi Kray Korbin adjourns the meeting and instructs the Senators to regroup on the New Republic's new capital on Nakadia. In private, Auxi advises Mon Mothma to appoint a new adviser to replace the late Hostis Ij, who was assassinated earlier during the Liberation Day attacks. Mothma receives a coded transmission from Senator Leia Organa, who represents the Alderaan sector.
Eight hours after the events above Jakku, Temmin and Sinjir wait in a waiting room outside Leia and Han Solo's apartment. Temmin tries to convince Han Solo to lend them his freighter Millennium Falcon so that he can go to Jakku and get his mother and Mister Bones back. Temmin appeals to the life-debt Solo owes him and Norra for finding him. Solo is unwilling to lend them the Falcon because he values his ship and is preoccupied with fatherhood. Before the argument escalates, Princess Leia and Chancellor Mothma enter the conversation. Mothma asks Temmin to tell her about the Imperial fleet he saw above Jakku. Mothma reprimands Leia for sending Norra and her team on an unauthorized mission to hunt down Grand Admiral Sloane. While Mothma wants to send the New Republic Defense Fleet to combat the amassed Imperial remnant fleets above Jakku, she can't authorize any military action without the approval of the Galactic Senate. Outside, Sinjir and Temmin agree they can't rely on the New Republic authorities to save Norra and the others.
Back on Jakku, Norra and Jas Emari are attacked by two unidentified alien assailants. Following a fight, the two aliens are killed by a stormtrooper patrol, who take Norra and Jas prisoner. Meanwhile, Sloane and Brentin find themselves captives of the Hutt lady Niima, who is the leader of a cult. While in captivity, Sloane reflects on their hunt for Gallius Rax. In the previous months, Sloane and Brentin had discovered that Niima's thugs had been kidnapping children from small villages and Anchorite-run orphanages on behalf of Rax for unknown purposes. In their investigative work, Sloane and Brentin also learn that Rax has amassed a large Imperial garrison at a makeshift base on Jakku. After heated negotiations and a brief fight, Sloane manages to convince Niima to take them to Rax's weapons facility.
Far away on Theed in the planet Naboo, the badly-burned child refugee and orphan Mapo is befriended by the Gungan street performer Jar Jar Binks, who has been ostracized by both his people and the Naboo for his role in aiding the rise of the Empire. Seeking atonement and wanting to bring joy back to the galaxy, Binks agrees to teach Mapo how to be a clown. Back on Chandrila, Han Solo and Princess Leia reluctantly allow the stubborn Temmin and Sinjir to borrow the Millennium Falcon. However, their plan to travel to Jakku is stopped by several Senate Guards, who order the two to return to their quarters.
Meanwhile, Leia Organa experiences a dream of dark side forces trying to seize her unborn child. She awakes beside her husband Han who shows her a HoloNet News report. Chancellor Mothma's political opponent Senator Wartol has gone on HoloNet denouncing her for allegedly concealing reports of the Imperial forces massing at Jakku. He attacks Mothma for being soft and claims to stand for a government belonging to all galactic citizens. Meanwhile, Mothma's advisers Admiral Ackbar and Auxi encourage the Chancellor by reassuring her that she only received this information for less than a standard day and that it would have been unethical to panic the galaxy by disclosing the information immediately. Mothma sends Auxi to contact a HoloNet News to provide her press statement while Ackbar agrees to dispatch a scouting party to Jakku.
Later, Sinjir confronts Leia and Han for breaking their promise to let them borrow the Falcon. Leia and Han respond that neither they nor Mothma sent those guards. They suspect that Senator Wartol sent those guards because he already had intelligence about the Imperial presence there. Sensing they have stumbled into a political conspiracy, Sinjir decides to visit his slicer boyfriend Conder Kyl. Meanwhile, Mon Mothma issues a press statement to the HoloNet News journalist Tracene Kane and the Sullustan cam operator Birt clarifying that she only learned about the Imperial presence on Jakku yesterday and that the New Republic military has dispatched the scout ship Oculus under the command of Ensign Ardin Deltura to investigate the Imperial presence there.
At Conder's apartment, Sinjir solicits Conder's help in ferreting out a spy bug in Leia's domicile. Conder agrees to help Leia provided Sinjir tell him why he left their relationship. Meanwhile, a desperate Temmin seeks the help of Captain Wedge Antilles in finding a ship to travel to Jakku. Wedge is unable to help since Phantom Squadron has been shut down for intervening in Kashyyyk outside the New Republic chain of command. Wedge instead counsels Temmin to wait for the entire New Republic fleet to attack Jakku.
Back at Leia and Han's apartment, Conder uses a small hand-held probe droid to scan the living quarters for spy bugs. While the building is clean, Conder finds a listening device implanted inside the couple's nanny protocol droid T-2LC ("Elsie"). After giving a speech to the Senate urging them to vote to send military forces to Jakku, an exhausted Mon Mothma rests in her office in anticipation for the outcome of the vote. An apologetic Admiral Ackbar enters the Chancellor's office to inform her that the vote did not pass; meaning that the New Republic fleet is grounded.
On Jakku, Norra finds herself a captive of the Empire. After being awaken by a bucket full of waste water, she and other prisoners including a skull-eyed alien and a man named Gomm are forced to work at a kesium gas rig. At the end of an exhausting work day, Norra experiences mirages of Sinjir and Temmin, caused by the heat. Norra also encounters Mister Bones, whom she initially mistakes for a mirage. When Norra tries to claim ownership of Bones, the Imperial guards blast him to shreds.
Meanwhile, a smug Mercurial Swift gloats over the battered, captive Jas Emari, who is now a prisoner of Niima the Hutt. After leaving Taris, Swift has become a guest of Niima. However, Emari breaks free of her restraints by breaking off her three cranial horns and using them as improvised weapons against Niima's slaves. Jas then uses her horns as improvised keys to unlock the doors in Niima's temple. After fighting through ore slaves and guards, Emari finds her way to a hangar bay where she encounters two old bounty hunting acquaintances Embo and Dengar, who have come to collect the bounty on her head. Jas manages to convince Embo not to turn her in by appealing to his loyalty to her late aunt Sugi. Before Dengar can stop her, Jas escapes with the freighter and goes to find Norra.
Elsewhere on Tatooine, Freetown's lawman and mayor Cobb Vanth has been captured by the Red Key Raiders. The Red Key raiders' leader Lorgan Movellan wants to exploit Tatooine as a source of dilarium oil, silicax oxalate, and slaves. A gloating Movellan informs Cobb about his plan to sell the baby Hutt Borgo in order to buy Tatooine from the Hutts. When Lorgan's henchwoman Trayness begins beating the Beastmaster Malakili, Borgo begins howling. Before Movellan can deal with Cobb, several Tusken Raiders riding banthas attack the Red Key forces in Freetown. With the tables turned, Cobb confronts the defeated Lorgan and tells him that he and Malakili have struck a deal with the Tuskens to keep slavers out. As a parting "gift", Cobb carves a message into Lorgan's face with his blade.
After dreaming of a skittermouse, the broken Mister Bones begins to reboot and his body parts automatically repair and reassemble themselves. After reassembling himself, Mister Bones attacks Norra's Imperial captors and kills them. As revenge for his disintegration, Bones personally tears the Imperial officer Effney apart from limb to limb. Bones then frees Norra from her cage.
The following morning, at the planet's main Imperial base, Counselor to the Empire Gallius Rax meets with his former master Anchorite Kolob tells him that he has been stealing children on Jakku. Kolob believes in the light side of the Force and is defiant towards Rax. In the presence of the dark side-adherent Yupe Tashu, Rax executes Kolob by stabbing him to death. Rax then confers with one of the late Emperor's Sentinel droids, which are programmed to display the Emperor's visage. The Sentinel droid informs him that the perimeter has been breached. Viewing the security images, Rax recognizes a disguised Rae Sloane among Niima the Hutt's caravan.
Meanwhile, Sloane and Brentin travel with Niima's procession to the Observatory. When Sloane complains about the slow progress of their journey and toys with idea of assassinating Niima, Brentin points out they have no weapons. Sloane suggests stealing two wheel-bikes but Brentin insists on sticking with their original plan to accompany Niima's procession. The Imperial and rebel also discuss their motives for wanting to take out Rax. Seeking to retake control of their situation, Sloane hijacks a wheel-bike and is attacked by Niima's slaves. Brentin comes to her aid and the two find themselves fighting Niima, who puts up a surprisingly fierce fight. The fighting is interrupted when Rax's Imperial forces begin bombarding Niima's convoy with turbolasers.
Far away on Christophsis, five pilgrims including an MA-B0 cargo lifter droid called Mabo, Addar the human, Jumon the Iakaru, Madrammagath the Elomin, and Uggorda the Duros return kyber crystals that had been stolen from the planet by the Empire. The pilgrims are members of the Church of the Force and have been sent on this mission by pastor and philanthropist Brin Izisca. During their pilgrimage, they are hunted by a Force-sensitive creatures known as the Kyaddak, which kills Madrammagath, Uggorda and Jumon. After thirteen arduous days, the surviving pilgrims finally reach a broken crystal wall where they return the excavated crystals to their home site.
Back at the Jakku kesium gas ring, Norra and Mister Bones free the prisoners including Gomm and the skull-eyed alien. She and Bones find a speeder bike and travel through the deserts of Jakku for several hours. Norra eventually sights a shuttle in the distance and reunites with her friend Jas Emari. After reuniting, Jas tells Norra that she had spotted a disguised Sloane in the company of Niima's followers. The two then discuss their next plans. Ruling out the easy option of returning home, the two women decide to continue the hunt for Sloane. Bones agrees to join them after giving Jas and Norra a hug.
On Chandrila, Sinjir meets with the despondent former New Republic Special Forces soldier Jom Barell. Barell had been discharged from the Special Forces for taking part in an unsanctioned mission to Kashyyyk and has lost his sense of purpose. Sinjir has found a job with the Galactic Senate's security pool and needs Jom's help for a sensitive mission on Nakadia.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Mothma travels with her political opponent Senator Tolwar Wartol on his Ganoidian tri-deck cruiser to the Republic's new capital on Nakadia. During the journey through hyperspace, Mothma questions Wartol about the five senators who voted against the planned military action on Jakku: Ashmin Ek of Anthan Prime, Rethalow of Frong, Dor Wieedo of Rodia, Grelka Sorka, and Nim Tar. After some resistance, Wartol defiantly admits to manipulating these five senators and to planting a listening device on Organa and Solo's protocol droid. Knowing that a re-vote has been scheduled to take place on Nakadia, Wartol is confident that Mothma's vote to secure military intervention on Jakku will fail again. However, Mothma pulls a card up her sleeve by revealing that she has smuggled some pta fruit aboard Wartol's yacht. Due to Nakadia's strict biosecurity laws, their ship is not allowed to land, thus delaying the vote.
On behalf of Princess Leia, Sinjir, Han Solo, Conder Kyl, Jom, and Temmin spy on the five senators that voted against intercession against the Empire. After Conder sliced into the electronic ledgers of these senators, he found unusual credit deposits in the accounts of Ashmin Ek and Dor Wieedo. Despite the economic downturn, these senators seem to be profiteering. The five spies agree to fan out across Nakadia's capital Quarrow and spy on these senators to discover illegal activities and connections.
Sinjir, Conder, Temmin, and Jom follow four of the Senators into a popular restaurant called Izzik's and watch their movements. After hours of watching their quarries, they receive word from Han Solo that two Nikto and a Klatooinian were seen heading toward Wieedo's ship. After being distracted by Dann and Merra, the children of the newly appointed Akivan senator Pima Drolley, Sinjir loses sight of his friend Conder and Senators Ek and Nim Tar. Outside, Sinjir spots Ek and Nim Tar talking down a backstreet alley. He walks to confront them but is knocked out by an unidentified person.
Elsewhere on Coruscant, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda is kept a virtual prisoner at the Imperial Palace under orders from Counselor Gallius Rax. After a failed escape attempt, a despondent Amedda waits in his chambers. He is soon accosted by the Anklebiter Brigade, a group of street children who are part of the resistance movement against the Empire. The Anklebiters have come to assassinate the Grand Vizier. However, Amedda convinces the children to help him escape to the New Republic in order to bring an end to the Galactic Civil War.
At the Observatory, Counselor Rax monitors the movements of Niima and Sloane using his security screens. Niima and her surviving slaves are hiding in the shadow of the western plateau while Sloane and Brentin are hiding behind the eastern pillar. All his opponents are trapped and pinned down by turbolasers. Rax then summons the former Commandant Brendol Hux and inquires about the progress in the training of the children he had kidnapped on Jakku. When Hux tells Rax they need more time, Rax warns him that the price of failure would be spending the rest of his days wandering the barren desert world.
Meanwhile, Norra and Jas fly their shuttle over the charred remains of Niima's caravan. The two women decide to kidnap the fugitive Grand Admiral Sloane and investigate the Imperial presence on Jakku. At the eastern pillar, Sloane and Brentin resolve to reach the Observatory and discover what Rax is up to. While Jas flies the shuttle over the eastern pillar, Norra spots her husband and Sloane together. Before they can intervene, Imperial forces led by Rax arrive in shuttles and take Sloane and Brentin prisoner. Rax also orders his stormtroopers to kill Niima and her entourage. Niima manages to topple one of Rax's shuttles with her bare strength before being shot by Imperial blaster bolts.
Following the massacre, Norra and Jas ponder on the falling out between Rax and Sloane and Brentin's involvement in this conflict. The two women also encounter the wounded Niima who convinces them to take her back to her temple in return for getting the clearance codes to the Imperial Observatory. Back on Nakadia, Temmin finds the wounded Sinjir in the alleyway and the two discover they have lost contact of their comrades after losing sight of Ashmin Ek and Nim Tar. Shortly later, the two find an unconscious Han Solo in a trash bin outside a landing bay. The group then reunites with Jom and the kidnapped Frong Senator Rethalow aboard the Millennium Falcon.
Rethalow confesses that he along with Ek and Wieedo were bribed into voting against the New Republic intervention on Jakku in return for a favorable trade deal. Rethalow also reveals that Nim Tar's child and Senator Sorka's jerba were kidnapped in order to force their cooperation. Sinjir manages to convince Rethalow to help them find his friend Conder by claiming to be an adviser to the Chancellor and threatening to expel Frong from the New Republic. In return, Rethalow tells him that Black Sun and Red Key orchestrated the negative votes in order to profit from a prolonged conflict. The New Republic operatives resolve to find Nim Tar's child and Sorka's jerba.
Meanwhile, Nakadian inspectors complete their biosecurity search of Senator Wartol's ship. Despite the setback, Wartol tells Chancellor Mothma that her efforts are futile. Sinjir, Solo, and the others fly the Millennium Falcon and track Conder's signal to an agricultural warehouse two streets away from the Quarrow Senate house. On the way, they fly over Chancellor Mothma and Senator Wartol, who are addressing members of the media including Tracene Kane. The Millennium Falcon breaches the warehouse and discovers a captive Conder and Nim Tar's child. After fighting a Herglic guard, Sinjir and his team free the captives.
The wounded Conder agrees to help Sinjir slice into the senators' records. Later, Mon Mothma addresses the Galactic Senate on Nakadia and urges them again to vote for the New Republic to send military forces to Jakku. After a period of waiting, Auxi informs her that the vote passed this time; setting the stage for the Battle of Jakku.
On Devaron, the Acolytes of the Beyond led by Palpatine's former adviser Yupe Tashu rally for an attack on a New Republic outpost in a valley near the Karatokai Mountains. Among the Acolytes is the young Pantoran recruit Kiza, who had participated in the Coronet City revolution. The Acolytes are outfitted with the artifacts and relics of ancient departed Sith. Kiza receives the mask of Viceroy Exim Panshard, which is imbued with the dark side of the Force. Remi is jealous and demands the mask. Tashu chastises the younger man for angering the "venerable specters" and forces him to surrender the Sith lightsaber. Armed with clubs, machine shop blades, and axes, the Acolytes attack the New Republic outpost. Kiza personally strikes down people with her lightsaber and also kills her former lover Remi.
Back on Chandrila, Leia senses the presence of the Force in her unborn son. Shortly later, Solo returns to inform her that the New Republic is intervening in Jakku. Meanwhile, Sinjir treats Conder's wounds and the two reflect on their role in securing the passage of Mothma's bill to send forces to Jakku. Posing as the Chancellor's adviser, Sinjir had gotten Conder to send the five senators a missive offering to pardon them if they voted with the Chancellor. Sinjir told Nim Tar his child was safe and claimed that Sorka's prized jerba had been rescued. In truth, the jerba had ended up the butchers' black market. Sinjir wants to follow Temmin and Jom to Jakku but Conder reassures him he is not a fighter.
Meanwhile, Jom Barell joins Sergeant Dellalo Dayson's SpecForce team, which is departing aboard a U-wing fighter. Elsewhere, Temmin convinces Captain Antilles to take him to Jakku. Antilles tells Temmin to meet the resurrected Phantom Squadron at Hangar Forty-Seven. The disfigured Commodore Kyrsta Agate resumes the helm of the Nadiri Starhawk-class battleship Concord at the urging of Admiral Ackbar.
On Jakku, Counselor Rax takes the captive Sloane and Brentin to his Imperial headquarters. Rax forces his two prisoners and to watch as his brainwashed Jakku child soldiers execute a contingent of stormtroopers in cold blood. Rax then informs his captive audience that they will be watching the impending showdown with the New Republic. With his Shadow Council present, Rax delivers a vitriolic speech urging the remnants of the Empire to destroy the New Republic. Above Jakku, the Imperial remnant forces clash with the New Republic fleet.
At Niima's palace, Norra and Mister Bones take a shuttle to the main Imperial base while Jas stays behind to deal with Mercurial Swift, Embo, Dengar, and an unidentified Rodian bounty hunter who have come to collect the bounty on her head. While Jas holds the bounty hunters at bay, Norra and Bones take the shuttle into the thick of the battle. Above Jakku, the Imperial fleet forms a defensive perimeter consisting of several Imperial Star Destroyers ringed around the Super Star Destroyer Ravager. The New Republic forces are unable to breach the Imperial perimeter and sustain several casualties. Temmin and his fellow Phantom Squadron fliers engage the Imperial TIE fighters with their X-wing starfighters.
While flying her shuttle, Norra witnesses New Republic soldiers landing on Jakku for a ground assault. The New Republic ground forces clash with the Imperial Army. Temmin and his fellow Phantom fliers join the ground assault and begin strafing Imperial walkers. Captain Wedge then tasks Temmin with pursuing an Imperial shuttle. Before Temmin can shoot down the shuttle, Mister Bones lowers the ramp and waves to his master. Temmin and Norra converse and Norra tells her son of her plan to infiltrate the Imperial base in the Sinking Fields. She also warns Temmin to stay away from the base. Temmin tasks Mister Bones with looking after his mom.
On Chandrila, Chancellor Mothma convinces Sinjir to work as her adviser due to his persuasion skills and cynical attitude. Back at Niima's palace, Norra manages to convince Embo, Dengar, and the Rodian bounty hunter Jeeta not to collect the bounty on her head in return for securing a pardon from the New Republic by hunting down Imperial war criminals like Grand Admiral Sloane. When Mercurial Swift objects, the other bounty hunters turn on him. Following a struggle, Jas throws him down the ramp of their Corellian shuttle. Swift then hires Embo, Dengar, and the Rodian as her new crew.
On Bespin, Lando Calrissian and Lobot lead several Bespin Wing Guards and New Republic soldiers in retaking the wartorn Cloud City from Governor Ubrik Adelhard's Imperial remnant. In a casino, Calrissian convinces several trapped Imperial soldiers to surrender. However, the sergeant refuses to surrender and Lando shoots him in the heart with his Vitiator. Back at the main Imperial base, Brentin breaks free of his restraints and frees Sloane. While taking a turbolift down into the depths of the base, the two encounter an armed Norra and Mister Bones. Following a brief confrontation, Sloane convinces Norra to help her and Brentin take down Gallius Rax and uncover his secret agenda.
Twenty five years before the Battle of Jakku, the young Gallius Rax meets with Palpatine, who uses a game of Shah-tezh to explain why the Empire must not be allowed to outlive its Emperor. He tells Rax that the demesne board cannot be allowed to survive without the Imperator and tasks Rax with executing the Contingency in the event of his death. Later, Rax meets with Brendol's young son Armitage Hux. Knowing that Brendol has mistreated his illegitimate son, Rax teaches the young Hux to exert his authority over the child-soldiers through violence.
Above Jakku, Admiral Ackbar surveys both the space and ground battle. After the Imperial Star Destroyer Punishment breaks formation from the Imperial fleet and rams the Starhawk Amity, he discovers that this has created a gap which has left the Super Star Destroyer Ravager exposed. Seeing a chance to break the stalemate, Ackbar contacts Commodore Agate. After ordering her crew to abandon the ship, Agate positions the Concord in the gap and exchanges fire with the Ravager. The Concord sustains heavy damage from the Super Star Destroyer but Agate uses her ship's powerful tractor beam to drag the Ravager down towards Jakku's surface. Unable to save the Ravager, Grand Moff Randd abandons his post and flees in an escape pod.
As the Concord drags the Ravager down, New Republic warships and starfighters knock out the Super Star Destroyer's engines. Agate's sacrifice turns the tide of the battle and Admiral Ackbar warns New Republic soldiers and pilots on the ground to watch out for debris. While pursuing TIE fighters, Temmin's X-wing is struck by falling debris from the crippled starships above and crashes onto the desert surface. Temmin watches as the Concord and Ravager crash on Jakku.
Meanwhile, Sloane flies Norra, Brentin, and Mister Bones through a sandstorm to the valley where Rax has concealed his secret. Norra allows Bones to exit the shuttle in order to find his master Temmin. Amidst the chaos of the battlefield, Temmin is cornered by three sandtroopers and an AT-ST walker. Before the Imperials can execute him, Bones leaps down from the AT-ST and attacks the stormtroopers. Following a struggle, the two manage to kill the Imperials. Mister Bones then leaps inside the head of the AT-ST walker and kills the AT-ST driver. However, two passing A-wings bombed the AT-ST walker's head, disintegrating both Bones and the cockpit. Temmin weeps for his lost friend.
On Chandrila, Sinjir and Conder work together to foil an attempt by Senator Tolwar Wartol to assassinate Chancellor Mothma by planting a bomb in her office. Using a pta fruit, Sinjir baits Wartol into triggering the bomb while Conder covertly records their confrontation. As a result, the disgraced Wartol is arrested for his failed assassination attempt. Elsewhere, on the renamed Super Star Destroyer Liberty's Misrule, the hermaphrodite pirate leader Eleodie Maracavanya orders zher pirate crew to destroy three Imperial II-class Star Destroyers in an effort to curry favor with the New Republic.
At the Observatory, Rax presents Brendol Hux with a replica of the Emperor's pleasure yacht Imperialis. He tasks Brendol with taking his son and the child soldiers to create a new Empire in the Unknown Regions. Rax then leads Adviser Tashu into an octagonal chamber full of ancient computers which project a three-dimensional star chart of the Unknown Regions based on information from Admiral Thrawn. Tashu tells Rax that the Emperor has always been intrigued by a dark presence originating from the Unknown Regions. The two then enter a chamber which leads to a well that leads into the core of Jakku. After Tashu dons several Sith relics including a Sith mask, lance, banner, and a Sith holocron, the two initiated a dark side ritual. Following the ritual, Rax threw an unsuspecting Tashu to his death down the borehole. Tashu's fall initiates the Contingency: the destruction of Jakku along with the orbiting Imperial and New Republic fleets.
Before Rax can return to the Imperialis, he is cornered by his former comrade Sloane. By this stage, Sloane along with Norra and Brentin have deduced that Rax plans to destroy Jakku by causing the planet's core to explode. While Sloane and Rax fight, Norra and Brentin try to seal the shaft leading to Jakku's core while debating the merits of helping Sloane. Rax soon gains the upper hand over Sloane and proceeds to break some her fingers. Hearing Sloane's plight, Norra and Brentin rush to aid Sloane and fight Rax as the borehole spills over. Brentin is killed during the struggle but Norra manages to pass Sloane a blaster, allowing her to kill Rax.
Back on Chandrila, Sinjir, Leia and a crowd of onlookers gather outside Mothma's ruined office. Mothma survived the bombing but her advisor Auxi was killed by the bomb. Mothma then informs Leia that Mas Amedda wants to sign a ceasefire with the New Republic. She recruits Leia and Sinjir for the surrender negotiations. On Jakku, a dying Rax tells Sloane to take the Imperialis into the Unknown Regions and rendezvous with the Emperor's last Super Star Destroyer Eclipse. Norra and Sloane make peace before parting company: the former to claim her deceased husband and reunite with her son and the latter to rebuild the Empire in the Unknown Regions. Norra is picked up by Jas and Embo's shuttle.
Following the Battle of Jakku, Mas Amedda and Mon Mothma sign the Galactic Concordance on Chandrila; bringing a formal end to the Galactic Civil War. The Empire is formally dissolved and Imperial officers are designated war criminals. Non-combatant functionaries like Amedda are given conditional pardons. Still, some isolated Imperial remnants continue resisting the New Republic. On Jakku, Niima presides over a black market based around junk and debris from the Battle of Jakku. On Akiva, Norra and Temmin bury the fallen Brentin and Mister Bones' arm before returning to Chandrila.
Elsewhere, Jas mourns the death of her former boyfriend Jom Barell during the fighting on Jakku. She manages to secure full pardons for Dengar, Embo, and Jeeta and enough money from the New Republic to form a new crew of bounty hunters. Amidst the celebrations, Leia and Han celebrate the birth of their son Ben Solo on the day that the Galactic Concordance is signed. Following a reunion at a bar, Norra and her former crew embark on separate paths. Norra and her son later find work with Wedge Antilles at the New Republic's new flight academy on Hosnian Prime. Sinjir continues working alongside Sondiv Sella as Chancellor Mothma's adviser.
Meanwhile, Grand Admiral Sloane uses the data spike provided by the late Gallius Rax to navigate a path through the Unknown Regions. She forces the broken Commandant Hux to train his son Armitage as his successor and to instill discipline in Hux's former child soldiers. After months of travel, Sloane and her traveling companions finally reach the Eclipse in deep space. Sloane and Hux vow to implement the First Order to rebuild the Empire again.
- ISBN 9781101966969; February 21, 2017; Del Rey; US hardcover
- ISBN 9780425287057; February 21, 2017; Del Rey; Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition
- ISBN 9781101966976; February 21, 2017; Del Rey; US eBook
- ISBN 9781101966983; August 29, 2017; Del Rey; US paperback
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