A novel by Karen Traviss (2009,
The Clone Wars, book 3 Set 20 years before Star Wars: A New Hope
When a field agent is stuck in hostile territory, a Republic
captain must decide if rescuing her could be a conflict of interest.
Read January 11th to 20th, 2016
A descent story about a rescue of a field
agent and the conflict of personal attachment. Unfortunately, the
author’s prejudice against the Jedi shines through way too bright,
obviously stemming from the other anti-Jedi novels she has written.
This author likes to explore the individuality of the
clone troopers, and that’s a worthwhile exploration. In
Hard Contact, we
meet a young clone who finds himself in unexpected situations, and a
young Jedi who pairs up with him, finally realizing that he is unique,
even if he does share the same genetic material as all his brothers. In
the follow-up novels, the author explores the idea of a culture, and
brings it to bear through Mandalore, because that’s where Jango Fett was
from. But at some point, she decided that the Jedi were bad, that they
all treated the clones worse than droids, and didn’t think of them as
living creatures. Even the main Jedi characters in those novels forsake their Jedi
heritage and go rogue, doing Jedi stuff, but not answering to the Jedi
Council. I can’t believe that at all. In the Clone Wars TV series, just
about every Jedi we meet treats the clones with respect; everybody is
doing their job, and is doing it well.
This book continues the anti-Jedi
sentiment from Order 66, though it precedes it in the timeline. Back in
Order 66, the author introduced an alternate Jedi sect, led by Master Altis, and to whom Calista (from
Children of the Jedi) was a member.
That group reappears here, and causes both Anakin and Ahsoka to get
confused and rethink their views, even though we never get a sense of
this reflection in the TV series or in Revenge of the Sith, especially
in the scene where Anakin seeks Yoda’s help on his attachments.
The entire story is about
attachment, whether it’s Anakin to Padme, Anakin and Ahsoka to Rex and
the other clones, or Pellaeon to Hallena, the spy who they are supposed
to go rescue. In that way, attachment is heavily explored in the context
of war and the Jedi beliefs –at least those espoused by the Jedi
Council. At one point, Pellaeon wonders if Yoda is right (Yoda takes a
lot of the blame for the concept of attachment leading to the Dark Side
(where does that come from?) –I wonder if he was spurned by an ex-lover
at some point 900 years ago), because he wonders often if he is risking
his crew for his own personal feelings. Would he go through the actions
again for somebody else? Yes, he decides.
The story is made more
entertaining by the fact that Pellaeon is out with a skeleton crew on an
experimental ship that keeps malfunctioning, but of course they are the
only ones within range to help with the rescue (when according to
Empire Strikes Back, it only takes a few seconds to get “to the other
side of the galaxy by now!”). Anakin is off with Padme, so he ships Ahsoka out with Rex to stop her from asking questions. It’s clear here
that Rex knows about Anakin’s love for the senator, and I think Ahsoka
suspects so, too.
Rex, in addition to babysitting
Ahsoka, has a few new clone recruits to train. When they decide to do
their extraction of Hallena, one of them dies, which affects everyone on
the team, including Hallena, Ahsoka and Altis, none of whom think of the
downed soldier as an expendable asset.
Hallena, for her part, did what
she could to determine the roots of the insurgence on JanFathal, but she
was sent in too late. She made contact her first day on new shadow-job,
and became part of the insurgence immediately. But when the Separatists
began their attack, she could do nothing, and her comlink betrayed her,
so she was taken captive. She has sad thoughts about her captors when
the clones kill them, but I assume that’s due to the prisoners’
syndrome, though in a war zone, everybody is fighting either for or
against change, depending on their beliefs –it doesn’t make them bad
The clones successfully extract Hallena, but their ship
is being pursued, and Pelleaon’s ship is under attack, so he jumps
temporarily out of the system. Unfortunately, the central computer is
not working properly, so they jumped way off course. Fortunately, more
of Altis’ Jedi show up, and using the Force, they direct the ship to the
correct coordinates after effecting some repairs.
Meanwhile, Anakin arrives, and helps the clones get back to the surface
to wait out the return of Pellaeon and their ship out of there. They use
subterfuge tactics to commandeer a more powerful escape ship, and get
out by the time their ride comes back.
Callista is here shown to have an
affinity for computers, which would link in with Children of the Jedi,
where she actually merges her consciousness with one of the Empire’s
ultimate weapons. By the end of this story, she gets the weapons online
by sending her mind through its systems, and almost succumbs to the joy
of it. I guess she’s prone to that sort of attachment…
The final battle allows Pellaeon
to escape, and marks the question of how many people should die to bring
one spy back alive? I asked the same question in
Attack of the Clones,
where so many Jedi died just trying to rescue Anakin, Obi-Wan and Padme.
There are no answers, but Hallena goes her own way, leaving Pellaeon to
wonder if relationships are such a good idea, after all.