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had the satisfaction of knowing that even in death the Z-95 would take a minor bit of revenge on the Empire's war machine. Not much, but a little.

She pulled down on the loop, and an instant later was slammed hard into her seat as explosive bolts blew the canopy clear and catapulted her out of the ship. She got a quick glimpse of the Star Destroyer's portside edge, an even quicker glimpse of a TIE fighter whipping past-

And suddenly there was an agonized squeal from the ejection seat's electronics, and the violent crackle of arcing circuits : and with a horrible jolt Mara realized that she had made what might very well be the last mistake of her life. Intent on aiming her crippled Z-95 at the Star Destroyer's hangar bay, she had drifted too close to the giant ship and ejected directly into the path of the Dreadnaughts' ion beam bombardment.

And in that single crackle of tortured electronics she had lost everything. Her comm, her lights, her limited maneuvering jets, her life support regulator, her emergency beacons.


For a second her thoughts flickered to Skywalker. He'd been lost in deep space, too, awhile back. But she'd had a reason to find him. No one had a similar reason to find her.

A flaming TIE fighter roared past her and exploded. A large piece of shrapnel glanced off the ceramic armor that wrapped partially around her shoulders, slamming her head hard against the side of the headrest.

And as she fell into the blackness, she saw the Emperor's face before her. And knew that she had again failed him.

They were approaching the monitor anteroom just behind the Katana's bridge when Luke abruptly jerked. "What?" Han snapped, looking quickly around down the corridor behind them.

"It's Mara," the other said, his face tight. "She's in
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