This book tells the tale of the stormtroopers of the Empire of the Hand
that boarded the expedition to see Outbound Flight in
Survivor's Quest. It is
a quick tale, which essentially tells of how an alien native of a planet the
501st was working on became a member of their squad.
What ever happened to the Empire of the Hand, anyway? I don't remember
hearing about it all throughout the Yuuzhan Vong war, and neither the Chiss
nor the Imperial Remnant seemed to mention it during the
Swarm War or the
Legacy of the Jedi series (that I recall).
Regardless, here they have been called upon to dislodge a warlord from
Eickaries' homeworld. The natives are given remarkable history and culture in
the 60 pages of this ebook, and I quite enjoyed them. The stormtrooper squad,
made up of Twister, the lead, Watchman, Cloud and Shadow, encounter a group of
Eickaries as they approach the warlord's fortress. The natives show the
troopers a secret way in, but ask that they free Eickarie prisoners of war
before they capture the warlord. Twister can make no promises.
On the way, as the warlord's mercenaries block the way, the leader of this
band of Eickaries, Su-mil, feigns changing sides, which is an obvious ploy
that the reader can spot easily, even though Su-mil has been set up as a
potentially untrustworthy figure. I liked the way he assumed Twister was
intelligent, however, playing with the left- and right-handed comments (lies
and truth, respectively), and suddenly let Twister and his backup ambush the
Su-mil then showed his leadership skills by listening to orders about the
booby traps and how to disable them. When his people (the former prisoners of
war) surged in to help destroy the sentries, they lost many bodies to weapons
fire, but they still understood what they were doing. Then Su-mil showed that
he understood how to follow orders even when he didn't understand them. His
people wanted vengeance, but he held them at gunpoint to keep the warlord
The warlord ends up being an unknown species, which is a little
disappointing. I don't remember if Survivor's Quest revealed his nature.
Regardless, the story is a very interesting account of Su-mil, who eventually
becomes a stormtrooper when his world joins the Empire of the Hand.
I liked the way this story unfolded. It kept everything simple, but managed
to give the characters some depth and the aliens some culture. In such a short
story, I found that remarkable.