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I left Wayland, Grand Admiral Thrawn. I no longer need you to care for my sensitivities."

He drew himself up to his full height; and when he spoke again, his voice boomed and echoed throughout the room. "I am C'baoth; Jedi Master. The Force which binds the galaxy together is my servant."

Slowly, Thrawn rose to his feet. "And you are my servant, he said.

C'baoth shook his head. "Not anymore, Grand Admiral Thrawn. The circle has closed. The Jedi will rule again."

"Take care, C'baoth," Thrawn warned. "Posture all you wish. But never forget that even you are not indispensable to the Empire."

C'baoth's bushy eyebrows lifted:and the smile which creased his face sent an icy shiver through Pellaeon's chest. It was the same smile he remembered from Wayland.

The smile that had first convinced him that C'baoth was indeed insane.

"On the contrary," the Jedi Master said softly. "As of now, I am all that is not indispensable to the Empire."

He lifted his gaze to the stars displayed on the room's walls. "Come," he said. "Let us discuss the new arrangement of our Empire."

Luke looked down at the bodies of the Imperial troops who had died in his sudden decompression of the Katana's bridge anteroom. Understanding at last why they'd felt strange to his mind. "I don't suppose there s any chance of a mistake," he heard himself say.

Beside him, Han shrugged. "Leia's got them doing a genetic check. But I don't think so."

Luke nodded, staring down at the lies laid out before him. Or rather, at the single face that was shared by all of the bodies.


"So that's it," he said quietly. "Somewhere, the Empire's found a set of Spaarti cloning cylinders. And has gotten them working."

"Which means it's not going to take them years to find and train crews for
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