The New Jedi Order: Destiny's Way is a Star Wars Legends novel and the fourteenth volume in the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series. It was written by Walter Jon Williams and first published by Del Rey in hardcover on October 1, 2002. The first paperback edition was released on July 29, 2003.
The time of reckoning is close at hand. Events in the New York Times bestselling Star Wars The New Jedi Order series take a decisive turn, as the heroes of the New Republic prepare for their most volatile clash yet with the enemy—from without and from within.
In the war against the ruthless Yuuzhan Vong, the fall of Coruscant leaves New Republic divided by internal strife and on the verge of bowing to conquest. But those who steadfastly refuse to consider surrender—Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and their children and comrades-in-arms—are determined to seize victory against overwhelming odds. And now, finally, there are signs that the tide may be turning in the New Republic's favor.
After capturing crucial Yuuzhan Vong intelligence, Jedi fighter-pilot Jaina Solo prepares to lead a daring surprise strike against an enemy flagship. Meanwhile, Jaina's brother Jacen—liberated from the hands of the enemy and newly schooled in an even greater mastery of the Force by the Jedi Knight Vergere—is eagerly poised to bring his unique skills to bear against the invaders. And on Mon Calamari, the New Republic's provisional capital, the retired, ailing hero Admiral Ackbar has conceived a major tactical plan that could spell the beginning of a swift end for the Yuuzhan Vong.
Yet even as opposing squadrons face off in the depths of space, intrigue runs rampant: in the heated political race for Chief of State…in the shadows where Yuuzhan Vong spies plot assassinations…and in the inscrutable creature Vergere, a Jedi Knight whose allegiance is impossible to predict. And as Luke Skywalker sets about reestablishing the Jedi Council, the growing faction opposed to the ways of the Force unveils a terrifying weapon designed to annihilate the Yuuzhan Yong species. But in doing so, they may be dooming the New Republic to becoming the very thing it has sworn to fight against—and unleashing the power of the dark side.
The story opens to Han and Leia Organa Solo flying through space in the Millennium Falcon while they are shipping Imperial officer Vana Dorja to the planet Bastion and work out a deal with Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon. The deal consists of getting the Imperial Remnant back into the Yuuzhan Vong War on the New Republic's side. Leia then experiences a flash in the Force that feels like her son Jacen's presence. Leia tells Han that Jacen might be alive after all, which inspires some hope in both the Solos. However, while riding to Bastion, the Millennium Falcon gets pulled out of hyperspace by a dovin basal mine and is confronted by several coralskippers. Nevertheless, Han rides the Falcon around and close to the mine in a battle that destroys nearly every coralskipper, then Han, Leia and Dorja are saved from the remnants by Jagged Fel and a group of Chiss clawcraft.
The novel shifts to Obroa-skai where Jaina Solo leads a strike force against a giant Yuuzhan Vong worldship belonging to the Vong leader, Supreme Overlord Shimrra. The battle first starts off as an advantage for the New Republic forces, but it soon becomes a stalemate until Hapan Battle Dragons, led personally by Queen Mother Tenel Ka Djo of Hapes, turn the tide of the battle for the New Republic's favor and destroy the worldship. However, it turns out it didn't belong to Shimrra, and that it was actually the worldship commanded by Supreme Commander Komm Karsh, who is second rank to Warmaster Tsavong Lah. And during the battle, Jaina experienced a little flash in the Force that felt like her twin brother Jacen's presence, like how Leia felt at the beginning of the novel.
The book later reveals that after the fall of Coruscant and the operation at Borleias, the New Republic moved its assets and its Senate to the planet Mon Calamari. Pwoe, who replaced the late Borsk Fey'lya as Chief of State of the New Republic, was vetoed out as the ruler and the Senate began a vote for Chief of State, with Fyor Rodan in the lead as being voted. Those of the New Jedi Order are trying to help Rodan's opponent, Cal Omas, into being voted so he can establish a new Jedi Council. Luke Skywalker feels Jacen's presence, and says out loud, "It's the turning point." Meanwhile, Jacen Solo and Vergere, piloting Nom Anor's stolen coralcraft from their escape from Yuuzhan'tar, are heading for Mon Calamari, and before their arrival, Vergere tells Jacen about how and why she joined the Yuuzhan Vong.
Vergere reveals that 57 years earlier, she was a Jedi Knight in the Old Republic Jedi Council. She was sent to investigate a strange alien group known as the Far Outsiders, which would later become known as the Vong, and went to a mysterious planet called Zonama Sekot which had all kinds of life, particularly plants and vegetation. The Vong attacked Sekot and resulted in a grand scale battle. Vergere later met with the Vong that were attacking Sekot and she was angered by the fact that she couldn't sense them in the Force when she met them. However, she saw how the Vong valued life in their own perverse way as one of the Vong had an avian pet similar to Vergere. She then fooled the Vong by displaying her powers and saying it was the power of Zonama Sekot. The Vong were pleased that they found a living planet, and decided to go back to their own galaxy to collaborate on the full scale invasion of the galaxy. But instead of going back to the Jedi Council and report this to the Old Republic, Vergere decided to go with the Vong and study them in their own galaxy. However, before she left, she left a message for Sekot to display to any Jedi who went to Sekot to find her about the Far Outsiders. As for Sekot, it turned out that the planet had repulsorlifts that let it travel further to the edges of the galaxy. Vergere states it is unknown if any Jedi received her message (this is revealed in the novel Rogue Planet when Anakin Skywalker received this message when he and his Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi went to find her on Sekot). Vergere says that because of her choice to go with the Vong, she started the galactic invasion by the Vong.
Jacen and Vergere come to Mon Calamari and Jacen reunites with his friends and family in a vacation given by Admiral Traest Kre'fey on the water planet while Vergere is detained by New Republic Intelligence to see if she is a spy for the Yuuzhan Vong, especially considering that she had aided Elan's failed plot to destroy the Jedi. All of Jacen's friends and family, including Jaina, Luke, Mara Jade Skywalker, Han and Leia, all hate Vergere for torturing him. Vergere also reveals she avoided revealing her Force potential to the Vong yammosks by using her mastery in Force potential to hide her Force abilities and even rearrange molecules for different purposes, which is how she created her healing tears that cured Mara of her coomb spore disease earlier in the series. The wise old Jedi even gives Luke her opinion that the Yuuzhan Vong actually do exist in the Force, but they are out of every Force-sensitive's perception to sense them. It is also revealed that Danni Quee and her team of scientists have found a DNA pattern that all Vong-formed life, even the Vong themselves for that matter, share that makes them invisible from the Force. Commander Dif Scaur of the Republic used this knowledge with the Chiss early in the war to create a secret project called Alpha Red, which is an airborne virus that will only kill the Vong and all the life they created with their bioengineering.
Meanwhile, on Yuuzhan'tar, after Jacen's manipulation of the planet's World Brain, the Vong themselves are having trouble adapting to their new environment. The Bothans have declared ar'krai, a total state of war, against the Vong, meaning the Bothans won't stop killing the Vong until the invaders are all dead to the last individual, and until the very name of the Vong species be wiped from history. Nom Anor's agents learn that if Cal Omas is elected Chief of State of the New Republic, he will support the New Jedi Order that will make a bigger threat for the Vong. So Anor sends two of his agents to assassinate Omas, but the plot is foiled by Mara Jade Skywalker who happened to have been investigating for Vong infiltrators using YVH technology from Lando Calrissian and Talon Karrde of the Smugglers' Alliance. Lando and Karrde also manage to blackmail most of the Senate into cancelling their votes for Fyor Rodan and make them vote for Cal Omas by threatening them into revealing their corruption to the public. With Omas now Chief of State, he manages to make the military on good terms with the Senate since the military was planning on mutiny against the New Republic for all the losses that they have taken in the war. The Jedi Council is also reestablished with half the members Jedi and the other half good trusting members from the Senate and military, so it is established as the High Council. At this time, Scaur reveals his Alpha Red project, and former Admiral Ackbar, now old and dying with Winter Celchu taking care of him, returns with a plan to wipe out the Vong.
Han and Leia's attempts at getting the Imperial Remnant to join with the New Republic fails in one meeting with Admiral Pellaeon. Supreme Overlord Shimrra is heavily displeased with the discomforts created by the World Brain, has Master Shaper Ch'Gang Hool executed for his incompetence, and is angered by Tsavong Lah at the heavy casualties the Vong took in the war so far. So he tells Lah to have the Vong hold back on major offenses until they can repopulate properly for warriors, and have all warriors sixteen years or older reproduce. The Shamed Ones and workers are also beginning to have a new blasphemous faith against the Vong by believing that the Jedi will be their saviors. Hence, Nom Anor begins to investigate the blasphemous religion while Shimrra states that the Shamed Ones should learn that the Jedi won't save them, but if they won't listen, they should be killed on contact. Anor later learns, during his investigation, that everything that Shimrra ever stood for was a lie and that the Vong are fighting for a false cause.
Setting the bait
Jaina manages to train the rookies that have decided to join the fight against the Vong very well, and when Ackbar reveals his plan to destroy the Vong, he finds out about a hidden Imperial fortress in the Deep Core of the galaxy known as Tarkin's Fang in the Ebaq system. On the gas giant of Ebaq's ninth moon, Ebaq 9, there is an old abandoned factory the Empire was saving up in crucial times in its war against the Rebellion more than two decades earlier. Ackbar plans to lure the Vong there using bait they can't resist in capturing or killing. Later, Cal Omas decides that Jaina, Jacen and all the other Jedi who survived the mission to Myrkr (not including Ganner Rhysode, who died in the previous novel) be promoted to full Jedi Knights in a public ceremony for their actions in the war. Those who died at Myrkr, including Anakin Solo, are remembered, and every one of the Jedi apprentices are knighted, especially Jaina, whom Luke declares the Sword of the Jedi, the bravest Jedi of all. After all the Jedi are knighted, Vergere learns of Scaur's Alpha Red project and sabotages it, then escapes Mon Calamari to an unknown location. Vergere's sabotaging is realized by New Republic Intelligence, and Jacen is called through the Force by Vergere to Kashyyyk. Vergere asks for Jacen's help to find a place in the galaxy where the New Republic can't find her, but this plan is foiled when Jacen realizes that it is now the new Jedi Knights' top priority to find Vergere and capture her. And while Jacen keeps Vergere's presence a secret from everyone else, he leads Admiral Kre'fey's fleets into battle and tries to teach Tahiri Veila how to sense Yuuzhan Vong since she was captured and experimented by them back on Yavin 4. Jaina, Lowbacca and Tesar Sebatyne, as well as their pilot teams are placed on Ebaq 9 as bait for the Vong.
Meanwhile, Nom Anor, disguising himself as a worker on Yuuzhan'tar, figures out that the eighth cortex of Vong-life shaping doesn't exist and Supreme Overlord Shimrra demanded for Nen Yim and a team of her shaper caste to actually create the eighth cortex. Also, the New Republic finds out it has Vong spies among them so they trick Nom Anor's agents into making them think that the Vong aren't being baited at Ebaq 9. Fooled by this deceit, Anor promises Shimrra if the Vong are lead into a trap that will result in an epic catastrophe, Nom Anor will die. So five large squadrons, lead by Tsavong Lah himself, attack Ebaq 9, but during the resulting battle where Jaina's forces fight back, they are aided by the Smugglers' Alliance, lead by Han and Leia, and other New Republic divisions. While Luke Skywalker persuades Garm Bel Iblis into joining the Battle of Ebaq from Fondor, a large portion of the Vong forces are destroyed in the battle, and Tsavong Lah realizes if he keeps on having the Vong fight the New Republic, they will all die. Meanwhile, Nom Anor becomes aware of the results of the battle from Yuuzhan'tar and escapes from impending doom he promised Shimrra, killing his superior, High Prefect Yoog Skell in the process.
Battle on Ebaq 9
Back on Ebaq 9, Lah commands most of his remaining members of the squadrons to attack Ebaq 9, with the other Vong to retreat to preserve their lives for the future of the war, as the voxyn he brought with him to the battle tell him about Jedi being on the moon. The New Republic does its best to hold the Vong off the moon, but the invaders get through and hunt down Jaina, Lowbacca and Tesar, as well as all the surviving pilots in their squadrons that made it out of the battle alive. Most of Tsavong Lah's retreating ships are killed by New Republic forces participating outside the battle. Jacen, who leads the Force meld into Vong battles on Admiral Kre'fey capital ship, the Ralroost, realizes about Jaina's danger and goes against Kre'fey's orders to fly to the moon to help Jaina and her comrades escape. Vergere fails to stop Jacen from taking his X-wing to the moon, and Tsavong Lah invites all Jedi to join in the hunt on the moon while all non-Jedi will be killed by the Vong forces if they proceed to the moon. Jacen safely lands, bringing the odds to 10,000 Yuuzhan Vong against four Jedi, and is hunted down by Vong forces. However, while Bel Iblis and his forces arrive in the battle, Vergere, knowing Jacen wouldn't survive in the hunt, steals an A-wing from the Ralroost and crashes it onto Ebaq 9, destroying its air supply immediately and killing nearly every Yuuzhan Vong on the moon, as well as herself in the resulting explosion of the A-wing. This is after she convinced Lah that she was Force-sensitive. But before she died, she created a Force projection of herself to Jacen to warn him about the resulting loss of air supply, so he builds a Force bubble around him that gives him his oxygen and after talking to the projection, he realizes Vergere is dead. Meanwhile, Jaina, Lowbacca, Tesar and several New Republic pilots survive the air loss by quickly activating their vacuum suits.
Tsavong Lah is the only Vong survivor of the air loss thanks to his personal guards who protected him and his gnullith from the thousands of suffocating warriors. They put an ooglith cloaker on him to save him from cold and air loss. He falls unconscious but soon wakes up, wounding Lowbacca and sticking Jaina, Lowbacca and Tesar in blorash jelly, resulting in a fight between Jaina and Lah. The battle ends as Jaina defeats and kills Lah by impaling her lightsaber through his throat while Tesar treats Lowbacca's wounds. Later, a few days after the Battle of Ebaq 9, while the New Republic reformed itself into the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, Jaina is the last to return to the newly-formed Galactic Alliance and reunites with her friends and family. Her last words in the novel are, "Being the Sword of the Jedi really stinks." The final scene of the book has Shimrra place a death mark on Nom Anor for the Yuuzhan Vong to hunt him down and kill him after the disaster at Ebaq 9, and the novel finally closes with Shimrra and his Shamed underling, Onimi, laughing maniacally after they both realize they have to redouble their efforts in defeating the natives of the galaxy since Ebaq.
The New Jedi Order: Destiny's Way was written by Nebula Award–winning author Walter Jon Williams. To prepare for writing the novel, Williams reviewed key information from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. In an early draft of Destiny's Way, Admiral Ackbar died during the Battle of Ebaq 9, although it was decided to spare the character to strengthen the Republic victory. The novella The New Jedi Order: Ylesia was originally written as a part of Destiny's Way, but it was ultimately published as an independent title. According to Williams, the events of Ylesia are set between the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of Destiny's Way. The novella was planned to be published in the paperback edition of Destiny's Way, but it was left out due to an oversight at Del Rey. Destiny's Way was published on October 1, 2002, alongside an audiobook version.
The events of Destiny's Way include an elaborate Knighting ceremony for Jacen and Jaina. Previously, the 1998 novel Young Jedi Knights: Crisis at Crystal Reef depicted the two characters going through a similar ritual. The government created at the end of the book, the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, was a nod to the fan-coined term "GFFA," which refers to the Star Wars setting of a "galaxy far, far away."
- ISBN 9780345428509; October 1, 2002; Del Rey; US hardcover
- ISBN 9780345428509; 2002; Del Rey; US hardcover, Science Fiction Book Club edition (54238)
- ISBN 9780345428745; July 29, 2003; Del Rey; US paperback
- ISBN 9780307795632; June 28, 2011; Del Rey; US eBook
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