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up his back. "I'm not sure I like that sir."

"I don't much like it myself, Captain," Thrawn agreed, turning his head to look out the viewport. "It may be time," he added thoughtfully, "to reconsider our arrangement with Master C'baoth. To reconsider it very carefully."

Chapter 28

The Katana's turbolasers flashed, disintegrating the center of the Imperials' drop ship formation, and one of Wedge's X-wing pilots gave a war whoop. "Will you look at that?"

"Cut the chatter, Rogue Seven," Wedge admonished, trying to see through the cloud of flaming debris. The Imperials had gotten a bloody nose, but that was about all. "They've got lots more TIE fighters in reserve.


Wedge switched channels. "I'm here, Luke."

"We've decided not to leave the ship," Luke said. "We'd run right into the Imperials, and you know how well transports fight. You might as well get your group out of here and go whistle up some help."

The surviving drop ships, Wedge saw, were reconfiguring into an evasion pattern with the TIE fighters moving ahead to clear a path for them. "You'll never be able to hold out," he told Luke flatly. "There could be three hundred troops aboard those drop ships."

"We'll have a better chance against them than you will against a Star Destroyer," Luke retorted. "Come on, get going."

Wedge clenched his teeth. Luke was right, and they both knew it. But to abandon his friends here-

"Rogue Leader, this is Gold Leader," a new voice abruptly came on the comm. Requesting permission to join the party."

Frowning, Wedge threw a glance out the back of his canopy. They were there, all right: the Quenfis's two X-wing squadrons, coming up behind his group for all they were worth. "Permission granted," he said. "I didn't think Councilor Fey'lya was going
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