Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure is a junior novel that was released as part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens book series. The novel, written by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry, follows the adventures of Princess Leia Organa between Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. It was published by Disney–Lucasfilm Press on September 4, 2015, and comprises 240 pages.
In this story, set between Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Princess Leia must lead a ragtag group of rebels on a treacherous decoy mission against the evil Galactic Empire.
The story begins shortly before The Force Awakens, with General Leia Organa reluctantly recording her memoirs. She is reminded of a particular mission she participated in the time between Empire and Jedi.
As she tells the story, we go back to that time. We find Leia on her flagship, a Nebulon B frigate named the Remembrance. It is under attack by Imperial forces. The ship escapes the battle at the cost of one of their escorts. The main goal of this small flotilla is to protect Leia, as she is a high priority target for the Empire. The best way to keep her safe is to keep her moving. The fact people die just to keep her safe bothers her very much.
In the wake of the battle, C-3PO informs Leia that Mon Mothma has ordered a gathering of the rebel leadership on the planet Zastiga. They recruit Nien Nunb and his ship, the Mellcrawler, to ferry her to the important meeting.
Arriving on the planet, she attends the meeting only to find out that the Empire is building another Death Star above Endor. In an effort to come up with a plan, the meeting goes late into the night, the result of which is the basic plan for the Battle of Endor. They decide the Rebel fleet will mass near Sullust to take advantage of a secret Imperial hyperspace lane which will get them to the Outer Rim much faster than otherwise possible.
Leia suggests an additional aspect to the mission. In an effort to distract the Empire from the massing Rebel fleet, Leia will take a small team to various planets and lay message beacons summoning Rebel ships to rendezvous at Yellow Moon in the Corva system, far from Endor. Mon Mothma is uneasy, but says she'll think on it.
Later that night, Mon Mothma visits Leia. After a deep discussion about Leia's motivations and state of mind, the mission, codenamed Operation Yellow Moon, is approved.
The next day the Rebels quietly leave the planet. Leia meets her crew at the Mellcrawler. In addition to Nunb as the pilot, she has recruited Kidi Aleri as comm tech; Antrot, the "tinkerer," as their engineer; and commando Major Lokmarcha as personal protection for Leia. She explains their mission, leaving out the detail that the codes used to encrypt the beacon messages have been broken by the Empire.
Their first stop is the planet Basteel. They meet their contact, a man named Yoff, in his underground home. He informs them the best place to set their beacon is through a complex network of tunnels connected to his chimney. They climb into the tunnel system and plant the beacon near the surface. After a harrowing climb, an encounter with hostile creatures, and a close call with some patrolling TIEs, they escape on the Mellcrawler.
As things settle, Kidi comes to the realization that the codes they've used have been cracked. The crew discovers a Star Destroyer is now in orbit of Basteel and is subjugating the planet. Though the point of their mission, Leia feels immense guilt.
Their next stop is Sesid, a water world. After buying awful vacation clothes, they rent a boat and plant their beacon on the slopes of a volcano. On their way back, their boat is chased by Imperials. They are rescued by a local pirate band, who prove to be their contacts on the planet. Once again successful, Sesid soon suffers at the hand of the Star Destroyer Shieldmaiden.
The crew makes way to the primitive agricultural planet Jaresh and sets another beacon. They learn the local population is going to publicly denounce the Empire. Leia tries but fails to convince their leader against this. Her uneasiness finally too much to bear, Leia reveals the true nature of their mission to her crew. She devises a plan to defend the local populace, and they fight off the Empire. Leia knows they will return, but the locals are comfortable with their choice.
According to the plan, their mission is now complete. However, Leia cannot live with abandoning any Rebel ships who respond to their beacons. She decides they will go to Yellow Moon to warn off anyone who shows up. They succeed but are captured by the Shieldmaiden.
The crew is imprisoned and prepared for interrogation. Lokmarcha sacrifices himself, allowing Leia and the others to escape. They make their way back to the landing bay. Before the rendezvous, Leia had ordered Antrot to rig the Mellcrawler to explode. He realizes that the bomb will not cause enough damage to disable the Star Destroyer so he runs off, sacrificing himself to save the other three.
Leia, Nien and Kidi steal the Imperial shuttle Tydirium and escape amidst a space battle. Rebel ships that have rendezvoused at Yellow Moon are attacking the Shieldmaiden in an effort to defend Leia. She is able to flee, but at the cost of more life.
Leia contacts Luke. New intel on Han has been discovered; he is on Tatooine. They begin to organize a rescue. Back in the present, Leia closes out her story. Major Ematt lets her know that news has come in from Poe on Jakku.
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