Iron Fist (novel)
|1 August 1998|
|Preceded by||Wraith Squadron|
|Followed by||Solo Command|
Iron Fist (1998) is a novel set in the Star Wars expanded universe. It is the sixth novel in the Star Wars: X-wing series, and was written by Aaron Allston. It continues the exploits of Wraith Squadron begun by Allston in Wraith Squadron.
After Wraith Squadron's first successful mission against Admiral Trigit, the squadron is transferred back to Coruscant. During a visit to one of the many bars on the planet, an anonymous cyborg, similar to Phanan, attacks them and starts a large bar fight. New Republic Military Police officers quickly arrive and break up the fight and arrest the members of Wraith Squadron. While being marched off, Face Loran hints that this may in fact be a trap, and the other members escape, subduing their captors.
At the debriefing, it is revealed that the New Republic MPs were in fact covert agents working for Warlord Zsinj. For security reasons, Wraith Squadron is to be confined to the base. They also receive replacements pilots: Castin Donn, Dia Passik, and Shalla Nelprin. While at the base their new mission is to predict what Zsinj may be planning next. Meanwhile, Phanan recognizes that one of the officers who had debriefed them was Atton Repness, the corrupt officer who blackmailed Tyria into keeping quiet about his black market operation. Phanan and Kell devise an elaborate plot to bait Repness and expose him. Phanan and Face recruit Lara Notsil, who is actually Gara Petothel in disguise and offer her a spot in Wraith Squadron if she agrees to help bring down Repness.
After submitting their predictions of Zsinj's plans, Wraith Squadron is sent to the Halmad system, an Imperial world with a large amount of resources. Their mission is to pose as a band of pirates and stage raids in an attempt to catch Zsinj's attention. They manage to sneak into an Imperial base and steal six TIE Interceptors. As the "Hawk-bats", the Wraiths begin staging pirate raids on freighters and ground targets.
Meanwhile, at the pilot academy, Lara Notsil continues trying to bait Repness and succeeds. Using her Imperial Intelligence skills, she manages to hack into Repness' computer and anonymously sends the data to New Republic Intelligence. She then publicly rejects Repenss' offer to join his operation. Repness attempts to keep her quiet, but fails and is arrested. Lara is given Repness' old X-Wing and transferred to Wraith Squadron just in time to assist with a joint mission with Rogue Squadron. During the mission, Lara has the opportunity to shoot Wedge's X-Wing in the back, but can't bring herself to do it. After the mission, Wraith Squadron resumes the guise of the Hawk-bats and prepares for a massive raid on two Imperial airbases. Face begins to realize Phanan's deep depression, and Lara is covertly contacted by Warlord Zsinj, disguised as a job offer from the real Lara's brother. Lara is forced her to decide whether to join the New Republic or the Empire. Myn Donos passes by and provides some comfort, and offers to accompany Lara to see her "brother", fearing that it may be a trap set by Zsinj.
The Wraiths start their massive raid, but are quickly foiled when Zsinj ambushes them. Phanan's fighter is shot down and Face tries to rescue him. Unfortunately, Phanan is mortally wounded from the crash and dies. Shocked at the death of his best friend, Face returns to the Wraiths, where he finds out that Zsinj has offered the Hawk-bats to join his fleet. Meanwhile, Lara and Donos arrive at the rendezvous. Lara meets her "brother", along with an Imperial Intelligence agent. Lara refuses to join them, and before they can do anything, Donos shoots both of them dead with his sniper rifle. Lara then lies to Donos by saying that both men tried to abduct her.
Taking up Zsinj's offer, Face, Kell, and Dia go to meet Zsinj and obtain some intelligence on him. Castin smuggles himself on board their shuttle, believing that his tracer program will help destroy Zsinj. Unfortunately, Castin is killed trying to implant the program. Zsinj questions Face about the issue, and Dia is forced to "kill" Castin in order to prove their loyalty. (Zsinj staged it so that it looked as if Castin's body was still alive.) Dia suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder for her actions, but Face manages to calm her down. The romantic ties between Face and Dia begin to reveal themselves.
After reviewing the data that Zsinj provided, Wedge figures out that Zsinj wants to attack Kuat and steal a new Super Star Destroyer, the Razor's Kiss. Shalla is sent as the Hawk-bat's combat specialist to "assist" Zsinj's commando force, while the rest of Wraith Squadron will pose as the Hawk-Bats, and will aid Zsinj's forces in the assault on the Kuat shipyards. Shalla manages to install Castin's tracker program into the Razor's Kiss' computers, and sabotages the shield generators. A New Republic task force led by Han Solo ambushes Zsinj's forces at the rendezvous after the successful capture of the Razor's Kiss, destroying Razor's Kiss and severely damaging the Iron Fist.
Face, after suffering severe injuries during the battle, returns to the Wraiths. They discover that he had removed his trademark scar. Face admits that Phanan forced him to, since his will stated that if Face did not undergo the operation, Phanan's considerable wealth would be given to Face's rival actor, Tetran Cowall.
Star Wars Insider
- One of the more prominent points of the book is the death of Ton Phanan, Wraith Squadron's medic. When Star Wars Insider published a list of the "25 greatest EU moments", they cited this scene, saying that it was one of the few times in the EU when a minor character's death had a powerful emotional impact.