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ships away from here. But I didn't expect him to get the location from Hoffner this quickly."

Leia shivered. She'd undergone an Imperial interrogation herself once. Years later, the memory was still vivid. "I wonder if there's anything left of him."

"Save your sympathy," Karrde advised. "In retrospect, it seems unlikely that Thnvn needed to bother with anything so uncivilized as coercion. For Hoffner to have talked so freely implies the Grand Admiral simply applied a large infusion of cash."

Leia gazed out at the battle, the dark feeling of failure setting over her. They'd lost. After all their efforts, they'd lost.

She took a deep breath, running through the Jedi relaxation exercises. Yes, they'd lost. But it vas just a battle, not the war. The Empire might ha'e taken the Dark Force, but recruiting and training crewers to man all those Dreadnaughts would take years. A lot could happen in that time. "You're right," she told Karrde. "We'd do best to cut our losses. Captain Virgilio, as soon as those TIE fighters have been neutralized I want a landing party sent to the Katana to assist our tech team there."

There was no reply. "Captain?"

Virgilio was staring out the bridge viewport, his face carved from stone. "Too late, Councilor," he said quietly.

Leia turned to look. There, moving toward the besieged Imperial ship, a second Star Destroyer had suddenly emerged from hyperspace.

The Imperials' backup had arrived.

"Pull out!" Aves shouted, his voice starting to sound ragged. "All ships, pull out! Second Star Destroyer in system."

The last word was half drowned out by the clang of the Z-95's proximity warning as something got entirely too close. Mara threw the little ship into a sideways skid, just in time to get out of a TIE fighter's line of fire.
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