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Hero of Cartao Excerpt


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As we all know Tim Zahn will be returning to SW literature with books regarding the Outbound flight, and the creation of Spaarti cloning cylinders. Such tales will include characters that only were mentioned in his books. One of them is Kinman Doriana, Palpatine's aide.

Here's an excerpt of a story that'll appear in the SW Insider of June.... Read and enjoy.



Hero of Cartao: Episode I Hero's Call by Timothy Zahn. An excerpt of exclusive fiction appearing in Star Wars Insider #68.


"Ah-Doriana," the stolid face hovering above Doriana's holoprojector greeted him. "You have news?"

"The plant is ready, Commander Roshton," Doriana said. "You may land at your convenience."


"Excellent," Roshton said approvingly. "And in less than one day. You do admirable work."


"I do what the Supreme Chancellor commands," Doriana said with just a hint of warning. In these days of turmoil and suspicion, it never hurt to remind people as to where his loyalties lay. "No more; no less."


"Of course," Roshton agreed calmly. "As do we all."


"Yes," Doriana agreed, glancing out the office canopy at the darkening skylight halfway across the room. "It's nearly nightfall, which is when the Cranscoc do all their serious work. How soon can I expect your people?"


"The first transport's on its way, with the chief techs and operational schematics aboard," Roshton said. "They'll be there in an hour."


"Good," Doriana said. "I'll make sure the Cranscoc are ready. They've already been informed they'll be doing a compete retooling tonight."


"Are you sure a two-thousand-unit contingent will be enough?" Roshton asked, his forehead wrinkling slightly. "I've been doing some research myself, and it looks to me like the plant usually requires over six times that number."


"We're supposed to be a caretaker unit," Doriana reminded him. "It wouldn't look right if we completely repopulated the plant."


"Yes, but --"


"Besides, the majority of those thirteen thousand workers are involved with maintenance, shipping, and raw material movement," Doriana cut him off. "If the Supreme Chancellor decides to extend the operation, we can bring in personnel to handle those aspects. For now, let's concentrate on our mission: to create and stockpile the cloning cylinders we need to create more troops."


"Yes, sir," Roshton muttered. "You'll have your schematics in an hour, with the rest of the transports following at thirty-minute intervals."


"I'll look forward to seeing them, Commander," Doriana said. "Doriana out."


He broke the connection, lowering the holoprojector into his lap as he again looked out of the office. It was an eerie feeling, sitting alone in the middle of such a huge room. Rather like being the last living cell in a dead body, he thought.


Across by the area's control platform, a small motion caught his eye. A group of Cranscoc were wandering around, their footsteps seeming to stutter as they walked. Still beating out their silent music, he decided, perhaps humming along on auditory wavelengths humans couldn't hear.


Strange aliens. Strange technology. But apart from that, a very straightforward job. Lifting his holoprojector again, he punched in a new code.


The connection this time took considerably longer to make. Doriana forced himself to wait patiently, watching the panes of the distant skylight fading toward black.


And then, with a suddenness that somehow always startled him, the ghostly hologram image appeared. "Report," the hooded figure ordered quietly.


"The Spaarti Creations plant has been cleared, Lord Sidious," Doriana said. "The first Republic techs will be landing in an hour, with the rest of the techs, workers, and troops arriving during the night."


"How many troops will there be?"


Doriana hesitated. "I'm not sure," he admitted, bracing himself. Darth Sidious didn't like it when his people didn't have all the answers to his questions. "Palpatine gave that part of the planning to Commander Roshton, and he's been very secretive about his contingent's exact makeup. It can't be more than a thousand clone troopers, possibly as low as five hundred, with Roshton and a few other officers in command."


To his relief, Sidious merely nodded. "Roshton has ambitions of his own, and thinks he knows how to play the game," he said contemptuously. "No matter. Even a thousand troops will not be a problem. What of the owner and the Jedi?"


"They're not happy, but they've bowed to the inevitable," Doriana said. "The only problem may come if Torles decides to check with the Jedi Council directly to confirm the order. They weren't enthusiastic about the idea in the first place, as I told you, and if he catches Yoda or Windu at a bad moment, one of them might decide to unilaterally reverse the decision."


"Even if they so dared, all Torles can do at this point is make noise," Sidious assured him, a malicious edge to his voice. "No, all is going according to plan. You have done well."


"Thank you, my lord," Doriana said, feeling the warmth of relief and pride trickling through him. "Any new orders?"


"Not yet," Sidious said. "Continue as you are, and allow the plan to work itself out." He smiled sardonically. "Report again when things become interesting."


"I will, my lord," Doriana promised.


The hooded head nodded, and the image vanished.


Taking a deep breath, Doriana stood up, sliding the holoprojector back into its belt pouch. So the chance cube had been thrown, and the game was in motion. The next move would be the Republic's.


He paused in the office doorway, listening to the heavy silence and thinking, as he always did at moments like this, about the incredibly thin tightrope he had chosen to walk. Palpatine had no idea that his trusted aide and advisor was in fact the agent of a Dark Lord of the Sith, working in the shadows to destroy everything the Supreme Chancellor stood for. If Palpatine ever discovered the truth . . .


He shook his head firmly. No, that would never happen. Sidious was too powerful, and Doriana himself too clever, to ever allow such a useful relationship to be ruined.


He headed across the empty floor, his footsteps echoing from the high ceiling. Binalie would be waiting at the plant's main entrance for the incoming Republic force. The honored representative of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine should be waiting with him.

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Should be good. I think it's funny though that Doriana is betraying Palpatine in order to serve Darth Sidious. Funny indeed.

Lost a planet Master Obi-Wan has, how embarrassing. - Yoda


Do not count a human dead until you've seen his body, and even then you can make a mistake. - Bene Gesserit saying

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