||A very well told story, with two very
interesting characters, and an exciting situation.
There is nothing that really stands out
about this story, but it moves along steadily as Obi-Wan and the X'Ting
named Jesson make their way towards their goal. They provide much better
interaction than the other characters from The Cestus Deception. This
story is sort of a missing chapter, taking place about halfway through
that book. I don't recall hearing about Obi-Wan's journey through the
Hive to get to the royal eggs, but then, I was frustrated and
uninterested in what was happening at around this point in the book.
In the hopes of restoring unity to the
community of X'Ting, the Council asks Obi-Wan to try where others have
failed, to gain the eggs hidden by the royal family just before they
were all killed by the plague that swept the planet long ago. They left
the eggs so well guarded, however, that nobody can get through the
traps, and all records about how to get through have been destroyed by
the ages. They do believe, however, that the eggs would be destroyed if
somebody failed three times to gain access to them. This does beg the
question about how many times anybody would try. This might only be the
council's third attempt to gain the eggs, but how do they know that
their enemies haven't tried before? Apparently at least one X'Ting
gained access to the chamber and died.
Obi-Wan and Jesson the warrior make
their way through a couple of hollow statues, past a swarm of X'Ting who
have become cannibals, and over a plain filled with carnivorous worms.
They find Jesson's sibling hanging from his lift-cable so that he would
not lose his footing and fall victim to the worms as he became
exhausted. Only a carapace was left. Each obstacle provides them with
challenges, and they prove themselves to each other. Jesson doesn't like
outsiders, for what they did to Ord Cestus, and Obi-Wan doesn't trust
Jesson to turn the eggs over to the council. Slowly they come to
appreciate each other.
I kind of liked the twist on the last
challenge, where the computer tells Jesson that he had the wrong
answers, even though he was correct, only to detect the scent of his
fear and exasperation. "Egg termination has begun" only deepened his
fear, which allowed the computer to determine his true and selfless
motives. To his surprise and relief, the eggs are given into his care.
The last lines of the story give us a
little more satisfaction, as they find that one of the hollow statues they
climbed down depicted Yoda, the Jedi who came secretly to Ord Cestus and
help the X'Ting in the past. Once Obi-Wan started wondering who the
mysterious Jedi could be, there was really no doubt about his identity,
but the statue in the Hall of Heroes was a nice touch.
This was a rather short e-book compared
to others, but it was remarkably well pieced together. Uncomplicated,
this was more about characters. It managed to give us a good plot along
with good character development with a minimum of clichés and
contradictions (though those did show up a couple of times anyway). This
was so much better than the book it supplements; I wish that book had
dealt more with this kind of thing.