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Authors: Timothy Zahn

Allegiance

BOOK: Allegiance
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Star Wars: Allegiance
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

2008 Del Rey Books Mass Market Edition

Copyright © 2007 by Lucasfilm Ltd. & ® or ™ where indicated.
All rights reserved. Used under authorization.

Published in the United States by Del Rey Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

D
el
R
ey
is a registered trademark and the Del Rey colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Del Rey Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., in 2007.

eISBN: 978-0-307-79583-0

www.starwars.com

www.delreybooks.com

v3.1_r1

In memory of Katie
,
and for her sisters Allie and Emily
,
for their love and courage and strength
.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The idea for the Hand of Judgment came out of a casual conversation with 501st Legion founder Albin Johnson at StellarCon in March 2004. Though his original idea was different from that which I eventually used, it was a conversation that got the creative spark going.

Often a writer’s mind functions like a giant food processor, taking in thoughts and ideas from everywhere and then mixing and matching the pieces until something new (or at least unrecognizable) emerges. On the rare occasions when we’re actually able to trace something directly to its source, it’s only right we acknowledge it.

Thanks, Albin.

Contents
DRAMATIS PERSONAE

B
ARSHNIS
C
HOARD
; governor, Shelsha sector (human male)

C
AALDRA
; mercenary (human male)

C
ARLIST
R
IEEKAN
; general, Rebel Alliance (human male)

C
AV’SARAN
; patroller chief of Janusar on Ranklinge (human male)

C
HEWBACCA
; copilot,
Millennium Falcon
(Wookiee male)

D
ARIC
L
ARONE
; stormtrooper

D
ARTH
V
ADER
; Dark Lord of the Sith

H
AN
S
OLO
; captain,
Millennium Falcon
(human male)

J
OAK
Q
UILLER
; stormtrooper pilot

K
ENDAL
O
ZZEL
; captain, Imperial Star Destroyer
Reprisal
(human male)

K
ORLO
B
RIGHTWATER
; scout stormtrooper

L
EIA
O
RGANA
; Princess and Rebel (human female)

L
UKE
S
KYWALKER
; Jedi and Rebel (human male)

M
ARA
J
ADE
; Emperor’s Hand (human female)

M
ON
M
OTHMA
; Supreme Commander, Rebel Alliance (human female)

P
ALPATINE
; Emperor, Galactic Empire (human male)

S
ABERAN
M
ARCROSS
; stormtrooper

S
HAKKO
; captain, pirate ship
Cavalcade
(human male)

T
ANNIS
; pilot, pirate ship
Cavalcade
(human male)

T
AXTRO
G
RAVE
; stormtrooper sharpshooter

T
HILLIS
S
LANNI
; director of planning for Shining Hope (Ishi Tib male)

V
AK
S
OMORIL
; senior officer, Imperial Security Bureau (human male)

V
ILIM
D
ISRA
; chief administrator, Shelsha sector (human male)

Y
DOR
V
OKKOLI
; head of Freedonna Kaisu (Mungra male)

Y
EERU
C
HIVKYRIE
; head of Republic Redux (Adarian male)

Chapter One

T
HE
I
MPERIAL
S
TAR
D
ESTROYER
R
EPRISAL
S
LIPPED
silently through the blackness of space, preparing itself for action against the Rebel forces threatening to tear the galaxy apart.

Standing on the command walkway, his hands clasped behind him, Captain Kendal Ozzel gazed out at the planet Teardrop directly ahead, a mixture of anticipation and dark brooding swirling through him. As far as he was concerned the entire planet was a snake pit, crawling with smugglers, third-rate pirate gangs, and other dregs of society. If
he’d
been in command of the Death Star instead of that idiot Tarkin, he mused,
he
would have picked someplace like Teardrop instead of Alderaan for the weapon’s first serious field test.

But he hadn’t been in charge; and now both Tarkin and the Death Star were gone, blown to shrapnel off Yavin 4. In a single, awful moment the Rebel Alliance had morphed from a minor nuisance to a bitter enemy.

And Imperial Center had responded. Less than three days ago the word had come down to show no mercy to either the Rebels or their sympathizers.

Not that Ozzel would have shown any mercy at any rate. Eliminating Rebels, and Rebel sympathizers, had become the best and fastest way to success in the Imperial
fleet. Perhaps all the way to an admiral’s rank bars. “Status?” he called behind him.

“Forty-seven standard minutes to orbit, sir,” the navigation officer called from the crew pits.

Ozzel nodded. “Keep a sharp watch,” he ordered. “No one gets off that planet.”

He glowered at the faintly lit disk ahead of them. “No one,” he added softly.

“Luke?” Han Solo called from the
Millennium Falcon’
s cockpit. “Come on, kid—move it. We’re on a tight schedule here.”

“They’re in!” Luke Skywalker’s voice came back. “Ramp’s sealed.”

Han already knew that from his control board readouts, of course. If the kid stuck around, he’d have to learn not to clutter the ship’s atmosphere with unnecessary chatter. “Okay, Chewie, hit it,” he said.

Beside him Chewbacca gave a rolling trill of acknowledgment, and the
Falcon
lifted smoothly off the hard-packed Teardrop ground.

Apparently not smoothly enough. From behind, Han heard a couple of muffled and rather indignant exclamations. “Hey!” someone shouted.

Han rolled his eyes as he fed power to the sublight engines. “This is
absolutely
the last time we take on passengers,” he told his partner firmly.

Chewbacca’s reply was squarely to the point and a shade on the disrespectful side.

“No, I mean it,” Han insisted. “From now on, if they don’t pay, they don’t fly.”

From behind him came footsteps, and he glanced back as Luke dropped into the seat behind Chewbacca. “They’re all settled,” he announced.

“Great,” Han said sarcastically. “Once we make hyperspace, I’ll take their drink orders.”

“Oh, come on,” Luke chided him. “Anyway, you think
this
bunch is stiff, you should have seen the ones who got out on the earlier transports. These are just the techs who were in charge of packing up the last few crates of equipment.”

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