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Star Wars: Choices of One par [Zahn, Timothy]
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Longueur : 450 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
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CHAPTER ONE

The last hyperspace jump had been a tricky one, starting as it did in one minor star system barely on the charts and ending in another even more obscure one. But the ISD Chimaera’s officers and crew were the finest in the galaxy, and as Commander Gilad Pellaeon looked over the repeater display he confirmed that they’d made the jump precisely.

He strode down the command walkway, gazing at the Chimaera’s long prow, wondering what in space they were doing here. The Chimaera was an Imperial Star Destroyer, a kilometer and a half of heavy armor and awesome weaponry, the very symbol and expression of Imperial power and authority. Even the arrogant anarchists of the Rebellion hesitated before going up against ships like this.

So with that same Rebellion boiling ever more loudly and violently across the Empire, with Lord Vader himself tasked with tracking down and destroying their leadership, what in the name of Imperial Center was the Chimaera doing on passenger transport duty?

“This is insane,” Captain Calo Drusan muttered as he came up beside Pellaeon. “What in the galaxy is Command thinking of?”

“It does seem a bit odd,” Pellaeon said diplomatically. “But I’m sure they have their reasons.”

Drusan snorted. “If you believe that, you’re a fool. Imperial Center has gone top-heavy with politicians, professional flatterers, and incompetents. Reason and intelligence went down the garbage chutes a long time ago.” He gestured at the starlit sky in front of them. “My guess is that someone’s just trying to impress everyone with his ability to move fleet units around.”

“Could be, sir,” Pellaeon said, a small shiver running up his back. In general, Drusan was right about the way the Imperial court was going, though even a ship’s captain shouldn’t be discussing such things out loud.

In this case, however, Drusan was wrong . . . because this particular order hadn’t come from some flunky at Imperial Center. That was how it had looked, and how it was clearly intended to look.

Unlike the captain, though, Pellaeon hadn’t taken the order at face value, but had taken the time to run a backtrack. While it had indeed come through proper channels from Imperial Center, it hadn’t originated there. It had, in fact, come from an undisclosed location in the Outer Rim.

According to the top-secret dispatches Drusan had shared with his senior officers, that was where Grand Admiral Zaarin was right now, quietly touring the edge of Imperial space aboard the ISD Predominant.

Which strongly implied that the Chimaera’s orders had come from the Grand Admiral himself.

“Incoming ship, Captain,” the sensor officer called from the starboard crew pit. “Just jumped into the system. Sensors read it as a Kazellis-class light freighter.”

Drusan whistled softly. “A Kazellis,” he commented. “That’s a rare bird--they stopped making those years ago. We have an ID yet?”

“Yes, sir,” the comm officer called from the portside crew pit. “Code response confirms it’s the Salaban’s Hope.”

Pellaeon cocked an eyebrow. Not only had their mysterious passenger arrived, but he’d arrived within minutes of the Chimaera’s own appearance. Either he had a highly developed sense of timing, or he was remarkably lucky.

“Vector?” Drusan asked.

“Directly starboard,” the sensor officer called. “Range, eighty kilometers.”

Not only practically on top of the Chimaera in time, but in position, as well. Pellaeon’s estimation of the freighter’s pilot went up another couple of notches.

Of course, not everyone saw it that way. “Kriffing fool,” Drusan grunted. “What’s he trying to do, run us down?”

Pellaeon took a few steps forward and peered out the starboard viewport. Sure enough, the glow of a sublight drive was just barely visible out there against the background stars.

Except that the glow shouldn’t have been visible. Not at that distance. Not unless the pilot was hauling his sublights for all they were worth, and then some.

And the only reason someone would do that . . .

“Captain, I recommend we go to full alert,” Pellaeon said urgently, turning back to Drusan. “That ship’s running from something.”

For a moment Drusan didn’t reply, his eyes flicking past Pellaeon’s shoulder to the approaching freighter. With an effort, Pellaeon forced himself to remain silent, letting his captain work through the logic in his own unhurried, methodical way.

Finally, to his relief, Drusan stirred. “Full alert,” the captain called. “And reconfirm that identity code. Just in case he’s not running from anyone, but is thinking of ramming us.”

Pellaeon turned back to the viewport, hoping he’d been able to keep his bewilderment from showing before the captain could see it. Did Drusan honestly believe anyone would be stupid enough and suicidal enough to try such an insane stunt? Even the lunatics of the Rebellion knew better than that. Still, as long as Drusan’s paranoid assumption got the shields up and the turbolasers charging--

“Incoming!” the sensor officer snapped. “Six unidentified ships jumping in, bearing in sweep-cluster pattern behind the Salaban’s Hope.”

“Come about,” Drusan said, his voice taking on an edge of eagerness. The captain loved it when he had a chance to fire the Chimaera’s turbolasers at something. “All turbolasers to full power.”

Pellaeon grimaced. As usual, Drusan was following standard combat procedure.

Only in this case, standard procedure wasn’t going to work. By the time the Chimaera was ready to fire, the attackers would have caught up with the Salaban’s Hope and be swarming it.

But if the Chimaera threw power to its sublight engines and headed straight toward the freighter, they might scare off the attackers, or at least give them a moment of pause. Closing the distance would also mean getting to the turbolasers’ effective range a little sooner. “Captain, if I may suggest--”

“No, you may not, Commander,” Drusan cut him off calmly. “This is no time for your fancy theories of combat.”

“Captain, the Salaban’s Hope is hailing us,” the comm officer called. “Lord Odo requests your immediate attention.”

Pellaeon frowned. Lord Odo was the sort of name that belonged in the Imperial court, not way out here in the Outer Rim. What would a member of the court be doing this far from Imperial Center?

“Put him through,” Drusan ordered.

“Yes, sir.” There was a click--

“Captain Drusan, this is Lord Odo,” a melodious voice said from the bridge speaker. “As you may have noted, I’ve come under attack.”

“I have indeed, Lord Odo,” Drusan said. “We’re charging the turbolaser batteries now.”

“Excellent,” Odo said. “In the meantime, may I request you shunt all other available power to the tractor beams and pull--”

“Not a good idea, my lord,” Drusan warned. “At this range, a full-power tractor beam could severely damage your hull.”

“That you shunt all power to the tractor beams,” Odo repeated, a sudden edge to his voice, “and pull the two endmost attackers toward you.”

“And if we breach--” Belatedly, Drusan broke off. “Oh. Yes. Yes, I understand. Ensign Caln, tractors on the two endmost raiders--lock up, and reel in.”

Pellaeon turned back to the viewport, a lump in his throat. The engine flares of the attacking ships were visible now, blazing against the stars as they drove hard on the Salaban’s Hope’s stern. Drusan had been right about the dangers of full-power tractor beams at this range. Clearly, that was what Odo was hoping for, that the Chimaera’s tractors would be strong enough to crack or even shatter the raiders’ hulls.

But if the attackers’ ships were stronger than Odo thought, all the maneuver would accomplish would be to pull two of the raiders forward into close-fire range faster and easier than they could manage on their own.

At which point the Salaban’s Hope would have enemy lasers behind it and on both flanks, and it was unlikely that it would have enough shield capacity to handle all three. Hissing softly between his teeth, Pellaeon watched.

Abruptly, the two pursuing ships on the ends began corkscrewing violently, their drive trails spinning like children’s windsparklers. “Tractors engaged,” the tractor officer called. “Attackers locked and coming toward us.”

“Any signs of hull fractures?” Drusan asked.

“Nothing registering, sir,” the sensor officer reported.

“Acknowledged,” Drusan said. “So much for that,” he added to Pellaeon.

“Well, at least they can’t fire on the Salaban’s Hope,” Pellaeon pointed out. “Not with that helix yaw.”

“Difficult to get a stable targeting lock that way,” Drusan agreed reluctantly. “But not impossible.”

And then, suddenly, Pellaeon got it. Odo wasn’t just hoping the Chimaera’s tractors would tear the attacking ships apart. He was letting the Imperials pull the raiders up alongside him, banking on the helix yaw to interfere with their own firing long enough--

He was still working through the logic when the Salaban’s Hope’s lasers flashed to either side, blasting the two tractored raiders to scrap.

And as the expanding clouds of debris twisted free of the tractors’ grip, they naturally and inevitably fell backward past the still-accelerating Salaban’s Hope, and directly into the paths of the four raiders still chasing it.

“Captain, turbolasers online,” the weapons officer reported.

“Target the remaining attackers.” Drusan snorted. “That is, if there’s anything there still worth targeting. And alert the hangar bay duty officer that he has a ship coming in.”

He looked at Pellaeon. “If this Lord Odo is a member of the Imperial court,” he murmured, “at least he’s a competent one.”

“Yes, sir,” Pellaeon said. “Shall I take over here while you go down to welcome him?”

Drusan made a face. “Fortunately, I’m too busy cleaning up this mess to bother with visitors,” he said. “You go. Get him aboard, get him settled--you know the routine. Tell him I’ll be down to greet him as soon as we’ve made the jump to lightspeed.”

“Yes, sir,” Pellaeon said. “Maybe I can get him to tell us where exactly that encrypted course setting we were sent is taking us.”

“Don’t count on it, Commander,” Drusan said. “The Imperial court loves its secrets as much as anyone else.” He waved a hand. “Dismissed.”



Pellaeon had never before had the dubious honor of welcoming an actual member of the Imperial court aboard his ship. But he’d heard all the stories about the nobles’ arrogance, their love of all things rare and expensive, and their colorful and sycophantic entourages.

Lord Odo proved to be a surprise. The first person to emerge into the hangar bay from the docking tunnel was an old, frail-looking human dressed not in lush and expensive colors but in plain, drab pilot’s garb. The second was another human--Pellaeon assumed he was human, anyway--dressed in a gray-and-burgundy hooded robe, black gloves, boots, and cloak, and the black metal full-face mask of a pantomime-mute actor.

There was no third person. If Odo had an entourage, he’d apparently left it behind.

Pellaeon waited, just to be sure, until the pilot signaled for the boarding hatch to be sealed. As it closed with a thump, he stepped forward. “Lord Odo,” he said, bowing at the waist and hoping fervently that the visitor would forgive any unintentional lapses in proper court etiquette. “I’m Commander Gilad Pellaeon, third bridge officer of the Imperial Star Destroyer Chimaera. Captain Drusan asked me to greet you, and to inform you that he’ll pay his own respects as soon as his duties on the bridge permit.”

“Thank you, Commander,” Odo said in the same melodious voice Pellaeon had heard on the bridge, now muffled slightly by the mask. There was no mouth opening, Pellaeon noted, nor were there even any eye slits. Either Odo could somehow see right through the metal, or else there was a compact heads-up display built into the inside. “Are we on our way?”

“Yes, sir,” Pellaeon said, glancing at the nearest readout panel just to make sure. “I believe the encrypted course data that arrived with your boarding authorization said it would be a ten-standard-hour journey.”

“Correct,” Odo confirmed. “I trust you’ll forgive my appearance. My reason for this visit must remain private and my identity unrevealed.”

“No explanation necessary, sir,” Pellaeon hastened to assure him. “I understand how things are done in the Imperial court.”

“Do you, now,” Odo said. “Excellent. Perhaps later you can instruct me on its more subtle aspects.”

Pellaeon felt a frown crease his forehead. Was Odo merely having a joke at a lowly fleet officer’s expense? Or did he really not know the nuances of Imperial court procedure and behavior?

In which case, he was obviously not a member of the court. So who was he?

“I trust you have quarters prepared for us,” Odo continued. “The journey was long and fraught with danger.” The masked and hooded head inclined slightly. “Speaking of which, may I also thank you for your assistance against those raiders.”

“Our pleasure, my lord,” Pellaeon said, wondering for a split second if he should point out that the main tactical thrust of the engagement had in fact been Odo’s.

Probably not. It wouldn’t do for the Imperial fleet to admit that a visiting civilian had come up with a better combat plan than they had. “And yes, quarters have been arranged just off the hangar bay for you and your pilot.” He looked at the pilot and raised his eyebrows. “Your name?”

The pilot looked at Odo, as if seeking permission to speak. Odo made no move, and after a moment the pilot looked back at Pellaeon. “Call me Sorro,” he said. His voice was as old and tired as the rest of him.

“Honored to meet you,” Pellaeon said, turning back to Odo. “If you’ll follow me, my lord, I’ll escort you to your quarters.”



Exactly nine and three-quarter standard hours later, even though it wasn’t his watch, Pellaeon made sure to be on the Chimaera’s bridge.

It was a waste of effort. The Star Destroyer emerged on the dark side of a completely unremarkable world, with an unremarkable yellow sun peeking over the planet’s horizon and an unremarkable starscape all around them.

“And we aren’t likely to see anything else, either,” Drusan growled. “We have orders to hold position right here until Lord Odo returns.”

“There he goes,” Pellaeon said, pointing at the glow of the Salaban’s Hope’s drive as the freighter emerged from beneath the Chimaera’s long prow. The freighter headed toward the planetary horizon ahead, its image fogging briefly as it circled past the edge of atmosphere, and then vanished.

“What do you think about that mask of his?”

With an effort, Pellaeon dragged his mind away from the mystery of where they were to the mystery of who Odo was. “He definitely doesn’t want anyone knowing who he is,” he said.

“Who or what,” Drusan said. “I had Environmental Services do a scan of the air outflow from his quarters. I thought--”

“You what?” Pellaeon interrupted, aghast. “Sir, the orders made it clear we weren’t to question, interfere, or intrude upon Lord Odo’s activities.”

“Which I haven’t,” Drusan said. “Keeping tabs on my ship’s systems is part of my job.”

Présentation de l'éditeur

2011 marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, the #1 New York Times hardcover bestseller that relaunched the entire Star Wars publishing program. To celebrate this historic event, Zahn returns to Star Wars with a brand-new novel of adventure, action, and intrigue starring the young Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and the beloved Mara Jade!

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1713 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 450 pages
  • Editeur : Cornerstone Digital (31 mars 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B007BLOCL4
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5 217 commentaires
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Zahn for the win 18 mai 2016
Par Gabe - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
When in doubt, pick up a Timothy Zahn book.

After being introduced to the Hand of Judgment in Allegiance, I couldn't wait to get more of them and of course Mara Jade. Choices of One comes through.

Let's start with our heroes. A lot of the antics Luke, Leia, and Han get into are somewhat business as usual. Han and Luke get themselves into pickles, and Leia rolls her eyes at them. Something unique is that Han is in the process of proving himself to the leadership of the rebellion in order to get more responsibility. This storyline gives us a look at another, more serious side of Han which is fun. The rebellion is looking for a new base which is their primary storyline, and as usual in a Zahn book, you can tell something is not quite right. This track starts off a bit slow with a lot of politics talk, but fear not, it takes plenty of turns and keep your fingers turning the pages.

Now, for the villains. Mara Jade is sent to investigate a governor on a remote planet (same as the rebels planet) and enlists the help of the Hand of Judgment. During her investigation she learns things are not as simple as they appeared, and we get to see that Mara is not just an assassin but a shrewd investigator truly trying to do what she thinks is the right thing. All of the personalities in the Hand of Judgment lend to plenty of interesting dialogue and some comic relief as usual. We also get plenty of battle scenes and clever tactics from this group which is a lot of fun.

Lastly, the bad bad guy. Without reveling too much, Nuso Esva turned out to be a pretty interesting bad guy. The events leading up to his arrival, and his tactical prowess lead to an exciting finale to the story. The thought of another mysterious, unknown evil initially felt a bit stale, but turns out to be very compelling.

There was one other thing...hmm...oh yeah. Thrawn is in this book. Enough said.

Bottom Line: Although I enjoyed Allegiance a bit more, Timothy Zahn rarely disappoints, and he did not disappoint here. This book is a great addition the the EU and is well worth a fan's time.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Timothy Zahn does it again 17 septembre 2011
Par David Pruette - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Mr. Zahn is best known for his eight previous Star Wars books, and I have always found his work to be extremely good, especially the novels with the Imperial officer Thrawn. Choices of One is another excellent effort and is great fun to read. It takes place in the period after A New Hope but before The Empire Strikes Back. We have Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and Mara Jade in lead roles. What could be better?

The plot revolves around Rebel efforts to find a new base eight months after the battle of Yavin. Governor Ferrouz of Candoras Sector offers an alliance that would provide the Rebels with sanctuary. In return, the Rebels would offer protection against the alien warlord Nusso Esva. New characters in the Star Wars world. That's a good thing. Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are given the mission of evaluating the deal. This requires a trip to Candoras to see if the alliance is indeed possible.

Of course, very little is simple in Mr. Zahn's books. It turns out that our heroes are not the only ones headed in that direction. Mara Jade, known as the Emperor's Hand, and the five renegade stormtroopers known as the Hand of Judgment are headed in the same direction to stop Ferrouz and ambush the Rebels. From there, one betrayal leads to another, and things are not always what they seem to be. Mr. Zahn excels in character development and in descriptions of action scenes. His portrayal of Han Solo back in those days is just classic. Sarcastic, questioning, cocky - but at the same time, extremely capable. The byplay between Han and Leia is great fun as the two strong-willed characters deal with each other.

Timothy Zahn's classic book Heir to the Empire from twenty years ago is given credit for reigniting the world of Star Wars publishing. It is a wonderful book. LucasBooks has now released a 20th Anniversary Edition of Heir to the Empire, complete with annotations by the author, exclusive commentary from Lucasfilm and Del Ray, and a brand-new novella starring Grand Admiral Thrawn. The hardcover edition looks great, and I cannot wait to read it.

Mr. Zahn's books are always worth reading, and Choices of One is no exception.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 choices of none 2 août 2012
Par Arnold - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
Timothy Zahn's Star Wars books are the only ones I read nowadays. I was excited for Choices of One because the concepts of the Rebellion's search for a new base and Thrawn facing an alien warlord sounded like a surefire combination for a book. Unfortunately, something about this book just didn't gel for me. The two plot threads seem forced together, as if Zahn felt like he couldn't write a book just about the Rebels looking for a new base or just about Thrawn facing an alien warlord. There's too much going on, and as such the book feels shallow.

First, the plot of the Rebels looking for a base. Ideally this could have been a great chance to explore the characters of key Rebel characters in between ANH and ESB. Zahn handled Han, Luke, and Leia so beautifully in the Heir to the Empire series and I loved some of the character development in Allegiance, particularly the early flirtation between Han and Leia. Allegiance also used General Carlist Rieekan to good effect.

Choices of One started off well in this regard. We see Han feeling left out of command decisions and wanting to take a greater role in the Rebellion. Zahn handles Han's motives deftly, throwing in a combination of impressing Leia, wanting the respect of his officers, and pure inertia. Han really does grow in this book and I feel like I finally understand why he stuck around with the Rebels after the Battle of Yavin. Also, the dynamic between Rieekan and Han is wonderful, something I wish Zahn explored a bit further.

Unfortunately, the other characters don't get their due. Leia and Chewbacca are almost non-entities in this book. At least in Allegiance, Leia was used as the chief negotiator. Here, that role is taken up by a professional diplomat. There's a good reason for this - which I won't spoil here - but it means Leia's thrown into a bunch of odd situations, including as gunner for a snowspeeder, where she doesn't quite fit.

Luke really suffers in this novel. I know he isn't yet the confident Jedi Master we see after ROTJ, but even so he comes across as naive and almost doddering. He barely knows how to use a lightsaber and doesn't even seem to be able to use the force to improve his accuracy with a blaster. In several scenes he practically just stands around unsure of what to do. The Hand of Judgement stormtroopers and Mara both even comment on his apparent ineptitude. Fans of Luke will be sorely disappointed with this book.

Perhaps even more surprising, Zahn's very own Mara Jade has several moments of ineptitude and silliness as well. Mara and Luke are in the same room fighting a bunch of thugs, but Mara doesn't seem to sense that Luke is Force sensitive. Moreover, she knows his last name is Skywalker, but doesn't even think to check if this is the same Force sensitive Skywalker who blew up the Death Star. For the Empire, Luke around this time was like Osama bin Laden in October 2001 and to think that Mara would not have even checked into his identity, much less do everything possible to capture him, strains belief.

The other part of the story focuses on a confrontation against an alien warlord, Nuso Esva. Nuso Esva is the Moriarty to Thrawn's Sherlock Holmes. I love the idea of Thrawn nearly meeting his match in an alien warlord. Nuso Esva does remind me of Moriarty, resorting to kidnapping, extortion, and bribes to get others to do his bidding. Zahn plays off our expectations with Thrawn to good effect and around three-quarters of the way into the novel we get an absolutely brilliant plot twist.

While I generally enjoyed this part of the book, the motivations of some of Nuso Esva's underlings are a bit unclear. Despite the title of the book, many of the characters seems to make foolish choices, trusting the vague promises of an alien warlord. I can't say more without spoiling the plot, but I'll just say that there are one or two points where the plot doesn't seem well thought out.

Unlike a lot of fans, I thought the Hand of Judgment in the first book brought a fun new dimension to Star Wars. Getting to know the stormtroopers made the Empire seem more real and the Empire's treatment of loyal men with a conscious shows the roots of its corruption. Choices of One gives the Hand of Judgment an even larger and more interesting role. We see the stormtroopers grow to respect aliens. I also love Zahn's depiction of the team during the heat of battle. Because we don't know the fate of these men, readers can actually worry about the fate of these characters. It's refreshing.

I've been a bit harsh on this novel partly because I still have faith in Zahn as the best writer in Star Wars. I absolutely love his willingness to explore the years in between ANH and ESB. Zahn also writes the best Han Solo of anybody in the EU. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, Choices of One suffers from uneven characterization and overly complicated plot with not enough payoff. Despite that, the book is still worth reading for fans of the Original Trilogy and Mara Jade. There are some fun moments. Just don't expect a classic.

Overall, 3.5 stars. That's low for a Zahn book, but still better than 90% of the Star Wars books out there.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best Star Wars novel I ever read 8 juin 2017
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Without a doubt for me Timothy Zahn writes the best Star Wars novels. I instantly feel transported back to the good years of Episode IV-VI, the true Star Wars movies. And while I already read quite a few of his novels this one is even better than all the others so far. But well, I'm quite happy that there are still a few more novels by Zahn waiting for me.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 but I did not enjoy this book very much 16 octobre 2014
Par Jason E. Brown - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I am a fan of Timothy Zahn's previous work, but I did not enjoy this book very much. It may be that this story takes place between EPIV and EPV, and Luke is (correctly so) next to useless. Thrawn is here, but nowhere near enough for my liking and no great strategic exploits transpire. The main antagonist is shrouded in mystery, and is a disappointment when finally revealed. Mara Jade and the rogue squadron play roles . . . maybe that was the problem, Mr. Zahn may have tried to involve too many characters so we just get little tidbits from all of them, each playing out their sub-plots and mini dramas in the story. Also, the one sub-plot involving Palleon and a Star Destroyer suffers from a lack of believability. Overall this book fell flat for me, no real challenges or surprises. Unlike much of his previous work, this work contributes nothing to the expanded universe.
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