Pellaeon felt a tight smile twitch at his lip. It had only been two weeks since the top Fleet and army commanders had been let in on the secret of the Mount Tantiss cloning project, and Covell was one of those who still hadn't adjusted completely to the idea.

Though the fact that three of the companies he was about to lead down to the surface were composed entirely of clones might have had something to do with his skepticism.

On the tactical hologram the first waves of drop ships and TIE fighter escorts had exited the Chimaera and Stormhawk, fanning out toward their assigned targets. Clones in drop ships, about to carry out Imperial orders. As the clone crews in the cloaked cruisers had already done so well.

Pellaeon frowned, an odd and uncomfortable thought suddenly striking him. Had C'baoth been able to guide the cruisers so well because each of their thousand-man crews were composed of variants on just twenty or so different minds? Oreven more disturbingcould part of the Jedi Master's split-second control have been due to the fact that C'baoth was himself a clone?

And either way, did that mean that the Mount Tantiss project was playing directly into C'baoth's hands in his bid for power? Perhaps. One more question he would have to bring to Thrawn's attention.

Pellaeon looked down at C'baoth, belatedly remembering that in the Jedi Master's presence such thoughts were not his private property. But C'baoth wasn't looking at him, knowingly or otherwise. He was staring straight ahead, his eyes unfocused, the skin of his face taut. A faint smile just beginning to crease his lips. "Master C'baoth?"

"They're there," C'baoth whispered, his voice deep and husky. "They're there," he repeated, louder this time.

Pellaeon frowned back at the tactical hologram.

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