Young Jedi Knights: The Lost Ones is a Star Wars Legends young-adult novel written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. It is the third volume of the Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights series, and it was first published by Berkley Boulevard on December 1, 1995.
The novel was reprinted in Young Jedi Knights: The Rise of the Shadow Academy (1996) and Young Jedi Knights: Jedi Shadow (2002).
During a break in training, Jacen and Jaina are reunited with their old friend Zekk, an orphan living in the streets on their home planet of Coruscant. Young, wild, and free, Zekk has never had a care in the world…until now. He sees the changes in his friends. Jacen and Jaina have learned so much, have grown in so many ways. Compared to them, he is only a lost little boy.
However, a powerful being has seen his potential. Someone who knows about shame and jealousy—and how to make use of them. Someone who knows that the dark side of the Force is especially attractive when you've got nothing to lose…
Jacen and Jaina Solo have returned to their home on Coruscant to take a month-long vacation from the strenuous curriculum of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum. Accompanying them are Tenel Ka and Lowbacca as well as Em Teedee, the young Wookiee's droid companion.
The day after their arrival, Jacen and Jaina invite Tenel Ka and Lowbacca to meet their friend Zekk, an orphaned street youth. Ater an eventful meeting with Zekk, the five of them descend into the undercity of Coruscant, where Zekk has taken up the career of a scavenger—finding lost or abandoned objects for fun and profit.
During this particular excursion, Zekk leads his friends to a the nest of a hawk-bat that he had scouted out earlier. Jacen, wanting to help his friend out, uses his ability to communicate with animals to get one of the hawk-bat's eggs. They manage to get back to the apartment that Zekk shares with his friend Peckhum, but not without a a hazardous encounter with the Lost Ones—a gang of detestable juvenile delinquents led by a bully named Norys.
Over a meal of stormtrooper rations at the midlevel apartment which Zekk shares with Peckhum—an old spacer who took him in when he was orphaned—Jaina invites Zekk to a diplomatic banquet being held at the Imperial Palace in honor of the new Karnak Alphan ambassador two days later. Zekk accepts the offer and spends the next day buying new clothes so that he may look respectable when attending the banquet.
The day after that, Zekk arrives at the Imperial Palace and is greeted by the Solos' protocol droid, who informs him that his clothes are extremely out of date and tries to comb out his hair. Zekk keeps to himself during most of the ceremony, deathly aware that he is out of place. Zekk's embarrassment becomes a nightmare when he mistakes a bouquet for a salad and after consuming it, makes a complimentary statement regarding its deliciousness.
Zekk utters not one word for the rest of the evening and takes off from the Imperial Palace. After exiting he wanders the city's lower levels in a haze, until he encounters a woman who asks him for a moment of his time. He refuses, but he is restrained by her accomplices. She then scans Zekk with a strange device. After he refuses to come with her, Zekk is stunned and abducted.
Zekk regains his consciousness in a cell and is greeted by a man who identifies himself as Brakiss. Brakiss apologizes to Zekk for Tamith Kai's enthusiasm and informs him that he is a Force-sensitive. Brakiss then begins the process of convincing Zekk to train at his Shadow Academy, showing him his potential, turning him against his friends, and asking him if he wants to be more than a mere trash collector for the rest of his life.
Meanwhile, Jacen and Jaina are worried sick about Zekk. They repeatedly try to comm him but are unsuccessful in their efforts. Eventually, Peckhum—who is off duty from his job as a caretaker of one of the Orbital Solar Energy Transfer Satellites—shows up at their door asking them where Zekk went off to. To Jacen and Jaina this a sign that something serious has definitely happened to Zekk.
Jacen and Tenel Ka set off into the undercity to see if they can find Zekk while remaining in constant comlink contact with the twins' younger brother Anakin and C-3PO. Meanwhile, Jaina, Lowbacca, Chewbacca, and Em Teedee join Peckhum for a flight up to the OSETS that he is charged with keeping an eye on to see if they can effect a number of repairs to keep it from breaking down entirely.
While making their way through the undercity, Jacen and Tenel Ka find Zekk giving a speech to number of unusually subdued Lost Ones. They discover the reason for this when Tamith Kai appears after they confront Zekk and ask him what he is doing. Jacen and Tenel Ka are stunned and left behind.
While they are aboard the OSETS, Jaina and Lowbacca take the opportunity to chart the debris that surrounds Coruscant—a project that they had been working on after they had learned that a shuttle named the Moon Dash had collided with something in the orbit of Coruscant. While she is taking a break from her task, Jaina views images of an earlier incident that had occurred near Coruscant when the bulk cruiser Adamant was hijacked by an Imperial strike force that had seemingly materialized out of nowhere. She puzzles over the problem presented by the presence of short-range fighters—that are not equipped with hyperdrive—during the raid.
Lowbacca—who has been charting space debris all the while—notes an odd anomaly—an area of space impossibly devoid of any debris whatsoever. At the same time, Jaina is commed by Jacen, who tells her that the Shadow Academy is carrying out operations on the surface of Coruscant. Believing that all of these discoveries are not a coincidence, Jaina tells Peckhum to focus the light reflected from the mirrors of the OSETS upon the anomalous area of space as a fleet of New Republic ships descends upon that same area. However, the fleet is not fast enough and the Shadow Academy escapes, leaving behind a message pod.
The message pod is taken down to the surface of Coruscant and opened by Jaina. Its contents consist of a central multitasking unit that Zekk had wanted to give to Peckhum and a message for his former friends, stating his reasons for wanting to be trained at the Shadow Academy.
The Jedi trainees and especially Jaina feel a great deal of despair due to Zekk's choice. Their vacation is cut short and they are whisked away back to Yavin 4 by Luke Skywalker so that they may prepare for the struggle that lies ahead.
- ISBN 9781572970526; December 1, 1995; Berkley Boulevard; US paperback
- ISBN 9780425169995; March 15, 1999; Berkley Jam; US paperback
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- "Star Wars Publications Timeline"—Star Wars Insider 23
- Star Wars: The Art of Dave Dorman
- The Essential Reader's Companion