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"Starlight: Hidden Danger" is a short story written by Justina Ireland, set during the High Republic Era as part of the publishing initiative Star Wars: The High Republic. The first part was published in Star Wars Insider 203 on June 22, 2021,[5] and the second part was published in Star Wars Insider 204 on August 10, 2021. It was first announced at the launch event for The High Republic released on the official Star Wars YouTube channel.[1]

Publisher's summary[]

In preparation for the Republic Fair on Valo, the Agrarian and Agricultural Alliance is having their annual seed bank conference on Starlight Beacon. This is a chance for the agricultural experts from all over the galaxy to come together to discuss experimental farming techniques and sustainability. Administrator Velko Jahen and Starlight Beacon's Head of Security Ghal Tarpfen have been stressed nearly to the breaking point with ensuring the safety of the Starlight while also making certain that the conference goes off without a hitch. And the pair will be pushed to the limit when the Drengir slither onto the scene…

Plot summary[]

Part 1[]

On Starlight Beacon, Velko Jahen and Ghal Tarpfen race to the nearest elevator to the security hub, Ghal punching a button to take them to the main concourse. Both women are distressed, Velko wondering if they will be fast enough to stop some others from hurting each other, and Ghal responds that they can only hope. The instant the elevator stops, the two charge out and begin pushing their way through a baying mob ouside, as Velko wonders how things have gotten so bad so quickly.

One day earlier, Velko is irritated when the banner she ordered for the Galactic Agricultural Alliance's conference has writing in a different color than planned, thanks to Controller Rodor Keen interfering with her careful plans for the decorations. Leaving the Neimoidian tapestry-maker to his work, Velko heads up the stairs to the security hub to check on the preparations. When she reaches the fifth floor, however, Velko runs into a human girl struggling to carry a large, heavy pot of flowering vines, which makes Velko uneasy as it reminds her of the recent Drengir incursion. The girl explains that her mentor asked her to take the plant to the dining facility within twenty minutes so the blooms do not wither, as most of the space station is not humid enough for the flowers. Velko is dazed by the girl's talk, asking her how she got there, and the girl cheerfully explains that she sliced the locks before Velko asks her who she is. As a nanny droid catches up to the girl and proclaims that, as she suspected, she got there first, the girl introduces herself as Avon Starros, explaining she is there for the conference before heading off with her droid and plant, promising to take the lift next time.

The next day, several rounds of arguments later, everything is in place. The sleeping quarters and food have been prepared. As for security, the station is taking the lessons learned from the incident with Ambassador Ceeril to heart, and having taken every long-standing treaty and disagreement into consideration, there will not be any surprises. Velko waits in the docking bay for the five starships which will take the hundred or so scientists to the station: one each from Coruscant, Chandrila, Onderon, Ord Mantell, and Raxus. She intends to get them to their sleeping quarters quickly so they can relax. Nothing will go wrong.

Hours later, having greeted all 106 attendees, Velko finds Ghal watching the monitors in the security hub. The Mon Calamari states that the most exciting thing going on is that all of the flowers in the gardens are blooming, just like Velko wanted. Velko says she will have to thank Castor the gardener for seeing to that, knowing that since the gardens were on an artificial schedule anyways it would not be difficult. A pinging noise draws Velko and Ghal's attention, and the Head of Security states that a camera droid flagged an infraction in that area, of the violent kind, and the two see an Ithorian and Amani fighting.

When Velko and Ghal arrive on the scene, the duo are engaged in full-fledged combat, hissing and clicking at each other instead of speaking. Ghal draws her blaster and fires two stun shots, although Velko protests the optics of shooting their guests. A Siniteen woman approaches and, introducing herself as Professor Sh'nar Qwasba, the head of the Agricultural Alliance, also complains about her colleagues being haphazardly shot at. Velko apologizes, and Qwasba explained she just arrived and did not get a chance to meet the Administrator earlier. As Velko explains that the subdued scientists will be taken to the medcenter, Tarpfen interjects that Starlight has a zero-tolerance policy for fighting. Qwasba points out the Chief's actions were extreme, but Tarpfen counters that it was the best choice in the moment, and that security droids are not the best at assessing rapidly-changing situations.

As the two scientists are being prepped for transit to the medcenter, Tarpfen receives a call on her comlink which causes her to run off. The call is from Jedi Master Estala Maru, who is ordering all Jedi and security droids to the dining facility immediately to deal with an emergency. Remembering Avon and her pot, Velko recalls that the vines reminded her of the Drengir!

Part 2[]

Velko and Ghal race down the concourse to the dining hall while Maru repeats that there is a riot going on. The all-out brawl going on in the room is not what Velko was expecting, but while she and Ghal are debating what to do, a group of Jedi led by Gil Jaretto, a visiting Master from Dubraib, offer assistance. However, the Force-users' efforts to calm the crowd take too long for Tarpfen, who has security droid Ateseven spray the room with crowd suppression, which puts all of the battling scientists to sleep. Velko asks the Jedi to patrol the hallways in case of any other violent outbursts, saying she, Ghal, and the medical team can handle it. After the Jedi leave, Velko says they have to get to the bottom of why this happened.

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