The Unseen Queen
|Cover artist||Cliff Nielsen|
|Series||The Dark Nest Trilogy
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Publisher||Del Rey Books|
|September 27, 2005|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Preceded by||The Joiner King|
|Followed by||The Swarm War|
The Unseen Queen is a science fiction novel set in the Star Wars Star Wars expanded universe. It is the second book in the Dark Nest Trilogy by Troy Denning. It is set 35 years after the Battle of Yavin (35 ABY). In the chronology of the Star Wars novels, it is set after the first book of the Dark Nest trilogy, which is The Joiner King, and before the third book of the Dark Nest trilogy, which is The Swarm War.
A year after the events of the previous novel, Luke Skywalker, his wife Mara Jade, Han and Leia Organa Solo, Saba Sebatyne, and their charges arrive in the Killiks' inhabited sector of space, the Utegetu Nebula, and land on the world of Woteba to meet up with UnuThul. As they pass through the village to meet the Colony's leader, they notice that the Killiks are suffering some kind of affliction. When they all meet UnuThul, he explains that the affliction that they are suffering has been dubbed the "Fizz," and the cause of it is unknown. Han and Leia question UnuThul about the suspicions that the Galactic Alliance has of the Killiks hiding pirates and smugglers in the Utegetu Nebula. In response, the Colony's leader suggests the accusation that this could be in addition to the Galactic Alliance having deliberately selected the worlds of the nebula because they were meant to kill the Killiks with the Fizz for the trouble they caused at Qoribu. UnuThul then moves on to other business by informing everyone with him that the Gorog are back. Luke agrees to take Han, C-3PO, and R2-D2, to explore Woteba in order to find and clear out the lingering Dark Nest threat, as well as to confirm or deny the Galactic Alliance's accusations of the Killiks hiding pirates and smugglers. Leia and Saba, with a sample of the Fizz, take the Millennium Falcon back to Ossus in order to find out what the Fizz is. Mara goes with the Jedi women back to Ossus, and after this, Luke, Han, and the others come into contact with Alema Rar. Alema tells Luke to leave the Dark Nest alone, and in return, they will release new footage of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala from R2-D2's memory files every week. In fact, Alema and her Gorog comrades do this, and Luke feigns acceptance. However, as soon as she and her fellow Gorog leave, he tells Han that he doesn't intend to honor that promise.
Meanwhile, Jacen Solo takes his cousin, Ben Skywalker, from a camping trip on the Sanctuary Moon of Endor to Hapes in response to Tenel Ka Djo's call. When they secretly arrive in Tenel Ka's room, they discover that she has a baby daughter, and it is shared with Jacen. As it turns out, Tenel Ka slowed the child's growth in her womb in order to avoid suspicion as to the baby's paternity. The four of them are then attacked by Gorog, but with the help of Ben's nanny battle droid, they kill the assassins, and then Jacen and Tenel Ka hypothesize why the Gorog would be interested in attacking them. They come to the conclusion that it was thanks to Tenel Ka's grandmother, Ta'a Chume. Later, Jacen interrogates Ta'a Chume and finds out that she indeed sent those Gorog to kill Tenel Ka's daughter. The reason for this is because the Gorog came to Ta'a Chume for navigation technology, and in return, Chume sent them to kill Tenel Ka's baby; this way, Ta'a Chume could find a way to reclaim power as Queen Mother again so a Jedi won't rule the Hapes Consortium ever again. In response, Jacen tortures Ta'a Chume into a permanent coma from which she'll never recover. After this, he has an apocalyptic vision of an eternal war between man, Chiss, and Killik that will ultimately consume the galaxy.
Back on Woteba, Luke, Han, and the others come across a gang trading credits for spice from the Gorog. A battle breaks out between the smugglers and Gorog against Luke and Han. The former group is killed in the confrontation, and Luke and Han find that the Fizz consumes the corpses of their enemies. They return to UnuThul, where Luke explains that the Fizz is most likely a biological agent that protects the environment of Woteba from harm via dangerous enemies. UnuThul thanks Luke and Han for this and gives them Killik-made replicas of the X-wing Luke flew at the Battle of Yavin 36 years earlier and of the Millennium Falcon. Then Alema appears and takes UnuThul and his following Killiks under complete control of the Dark Nest. The Killiks then place Luke, Han, and the others in a prison so that they will spend enough time to become part of the Colony's hive mind. Han comes up with a plan after he figures out that the Killiks are shipping their replicas throughout the galaxy, and correctly hypothesizes that Jae Juun and Tarfang are working for them in this manner. He calls for them to come over, and to pass the time, Luke plays a holorecording that R2-D2 took when Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader, had carried out Order 66 in the Jedi Temple. Juun and Tarfang come over, and Han shatters his replica of the Millennium Falcon, which turns out to be Gorog assassins in disguise. They kill the assassins, and come to the horrifying conclusion that with the false replicas transported even to the Galactic Alliance military, the galaxy is in serious trouble.
In the Galactic Alliance, Chief of State Cal Omas becomes impatient with the New Jedi Order's progress in dealing with the Killik problem, so he takes advantage of Luke's absence from the Order and appoints Corran Horn as its temporary leader. Omas tells Corran to hold the Jedi off as he sends an Alliance fleet to form a blockade around the Utegetu Nebula. Meanwhile, Cilghal tells Leia and Saba that the Fizz was part of the explosion that created the nebula, and it infected every one of the nebula's worlds so that while the plant life could flourish, no other kind of life could live there for long. Leia and Saba then go back to the nebula to tell the Killiks that they can't inhabit any of the nebula's worlds, but they run straight into the Alliance blockade. While Leia and Saba are captured, Mara remains on the loose. In response, half the Jedi turn to Kyp Durron in an effort to save Luke and the others. Jacen takes advantage of the schism to collect his Jedi colleagues from the Mission to Myrkr and the Battles of Qoribu and attack the Chiss space station of Thrago Depot. Jacen tells his friends that the Chiss are planning a preemptive attack on the Killiks, and that raiding Thrago Depot will delay their invasion of the Colony. In reality, however, the Chiss have no intention of restarting their conflict with the Killiks, and Jacen intends to persuade the Ascendancy through this Jedi attack to start a war that will most likely exterminate the Colony. The Jedi Knights' attack on Thrago Depot ensues successfully without casualties from either side as Kyp Durron and his Jedi supporters go to the Alliance blockade around the Utegetu Nebula.
On Woteba, Luke, Han, and the others, with the help of Jae Juun and Tarfang, manage to escape their prison, and they make it off of Woteba. They later get into a brief battle against smugglers, and then sneak aboard a Gorog nest ship just before it goes into hyperspace. When it comes out, it rendezvous with other Killik nest ships right at the Galactic Alliance blockade. When this happens, just after Leia and Saba escape from their prison cells, the replicas that the Killiks gave the Alliance military pop open with Gorog assassins, and begin taking over the ships they're on. Leia, aboard the ship Admiral Ackbar, convinces Admiral Nek Bwua'tu to abandon ship as the Killiks spark the battle of the Murgo Choke (the Murgo Choke is where the bulk of the blockade is). But before Leia evacuates, she gets into a second lightsaber duel with Alema Rar, further wounds the Dark Jedi, and emerges victorious, although Alema escapes death once again.
As the Battle of the Murgo Choke rages, Luke, Han, and the others actually enter the Gorog nest ship to at least disable it, if not altogether destroy it. There, they confront Lomi Plo, who uses her powers to manipulate the doubts of others so that they can't see her; hence, she is the titular unseen queen of the novel. Despite her invisibility, Luke is able to combat Plo while Mara, in her StealthX, manages to destroy the Gorog nest ship's hyperdrive core. Plo escapes while the heroes regroup with Admiral Bwua'tu aboard the Mon Mothma as the Battle of the Murgo Choke draws to a close. But with all of the events that have occurred, war is certain.
The Swarm War has begun.
Battle of Murgo Choke
The Murgo Choke is a group of four blue-white stars near the Utegetu Nebula. The intense gravity wells exerted by the four stars prevent any sort of hyperspace travel, hence the name "Murgo Choke". The Killiks had built fifteen hive ships, with which they were going to leave Utegetu and attack both the Chiss and the Galactic Alliance. The Fifth Fleet, under the command of the Bothan Admiral Nek Bwau'tu, had blockaded the Choke because of an attempted Jedi mediation mission to the Utegetu Nebula. They wished to capture the Jedi on the mission. Leia Organa Solo and Saba Sebatyne were being held on the Admiral Ackbar (Bwau'tu's flagship) at the time because they were trying to rescue the Jedi on the mission, but were captured. Their team of Jedi in StealthX's, Mara Jade and Kyp Durron among them, had no choice but to put themselves in Jedi trances and wait for rescue. Bwau'tu wanted to capture these StealthX pilots. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Jae Juun, and Tarfang were meanwhile trying to find and kill Lomi Plo, the Queen of the Gorog. To achieve this end, they stowed away on the Gorog nest ship. Earlier on, the partnership of Juun and Tarfang had delivered Killik spinglass busts of Bwua'tu to the Admiral Ackbar. Unbeknownst to them, the busts each contained a number of tiny Gorog assassin bugs, which were released at about the same time as the Killik hive ships made their move on the blockade. The blockade largely consisted of the Admiral Ackbar, the Mon Mothma, and the capital ships's starfighter squadrons. With his ship being invaded and the Killiks trying to break his blockade, Bwua'tu ordered the StealthX pilots onto his ship for refueling, then to go out and fight. Although Bwua'tu and his crew, aided by Leia Organa Solo and Saba Sebatyne, fought bravely, they could not hold the Ackbar, and had to abandon it. The Killiks seized the Ackbar, and left the Choke with it to go and attack the Chiss. Meanwhile, Luke and his team had to face down Lomi Plo on the surface of the Gorog nest ship. They managed to send Plo into retreat, but Luke was hurt. The battle ended with four Killik nest ships and the Ackbar escaping the Choke. Which side gained victory is questionable. The Galactic Alliance managed to hold their blockade (partially) and keep eleven nest ships at the Choke, but the Chiss now thought that the Galactic Alliance had actually given the Ackbar to the Killiks to use against them.