*So, let’s move on into the Dawn of the Jedi era with a short story. This story was originally published online and then it was printed in the paperback edition of Into the Void. So, that’s where you can find it.
*So, this story features Lanoree Brock, apparently our main character for this era, and fellow Jedi Ranger Hawk Ryo, a Twi’lek.
*Yeah, that’s right, I called them “Jedi” Rangers. Okay, I get it; this is 25,000 years ago, etc. etc. I refuse to type “Je’daii” every time. Because what’ll happen is I’ll accidentally type Jedi and then have to go back and fix it every single time. So, no, I’m just calling them Jedi. Sorry, anal retentive fans.
*So, anyway, Lanoree and Hawk are attempting to mediate a dispute between mine workers and mine owners. When the story starts, the workers and owners have come to an agreement; the son of a worker will marry the daughter of an owner and thus everyone will be brought closer and understand each other and . . . you know, whatever.
*However, just after this was decided, the daughter vanished. Lanoree is at a meeting, attempting to keep everyone from losing their ****; of course, the owners think the workers kidnapped the girl, the workers think the owners did it, etc. Hawk is out looking for the girl.
*Hawk spots some guys in a part of town that’s been evacuated because a volcano is about to erupt.
*Yeah, that’s the only reason this story is called Eruption, by the way. Because a volcano that in no way relates to the plot erupts at one point without affecting anything in the story.
*So, Lanoree uses a slugthrower, fires it into the ceiling to get everyone’s attention. And the Jedi actually use swords. So I’m guessing that neither blasters nor lightsabers exist at this point. That’s cool.
*Anyway, Hawk figures out that the girl was kidnapped by this Twi’lek crime lord that works for a rival mining company. They don’t want the workers and owners to come to an understanding, right? So, this Twi’lek kidnapper happens to be Hawk’s brother. I’m assuming this’ll be explored more later.
*Okay, I found this really, really interesting. We get some insight into the ancient view of the Dark Side and it surprised me. I’ll just quote from this bit where Hawk is getting ready to go in and rescue the girl.
*As he prepares, “he let the balance within him slip into the dark side . . . right now he needed to use aggression . . . which meant channeling the dark side.” Then he kills a guy and he feels some dark pleasure as he watches the guy die and it is “tempting to just stay in the dark side.”
*That’s . . . really interesting. It’s a new take on it. The Dark Side is there to be used when it’s necessary; when a Jedi is forced to use violence, he or she will be more effective by using the Dark Side. That makes sense to some degree. Just new to me. Not at all like the other perspectives I’m familiar with, which argue that the Dark Side is to be eschewed at all times, even in moments of violence and aggression.
*Okay, so this action sequence of Hawk taking out these bad guys is frigging awesome. It’s just very visceral and detailed and yet visual at the same time. I love this image of Hawk just leaping straight up and popping up over the edge of the roof right in front of a guy and just cutting his throat, then landing and using the Force to DRAG the other guy across the roof to impale on Hawk’s sword. This is just good stuff.
*I was really excited because I thought this was written by the same guy who wrote the novel I’ll be reading next. But no; this one’s from John Ostrander. So of course the action’s good.
*Meanwhile, a servant hired by the bad guys tries to poison Lanoree at the meeting, but she’s too smart.
*So, just when everything seems wrapped up neatly, there’s a stumbling block. The daughter doesn’t WANT to get married. Lanoree neatly comes up with a solution. The son and daughter in question won’t get married but will engage in a sort of family swapping thing, whereby the worker boy will live with the owner’s family six months out of the year and the daughter will live with the worker’s family six months out of the year as well. This satisfies everyone.
*So, all we have left to do is ominously foreshadow Into the Void. And, yup, here it is. Lanoree has a message from the Jedi Council calling her back to Tython; she hasn’t been there for four years.
*I thought Lanoree and Hawk were partners or something, but they’re not. They just happened to both get sent to work on this deal. As the story ends, Hawk leaves to fly off to Furies Gate, whatever that is, and Lanoree sets out for Tython.
*Presumably Hawk will be back in some of the later stories, though I note that he isn’t in Into the Void, unless the Dramatis Personae is lying to me. Too bad; I liked the guy.
*I quite enjoyed this little story. Lanoree and Hawk aren’t exactly Shakespearean characters, but I felt like the story gave us a glimpse at the ways that they each work and their personalities. I liked the different perspective on the Force. And, as I said, the action was great. And it was only ten pages. Quick and easy and very entertaining.
*I think I can safely say I’m definitely looking forward to Into the Void specifically and also the rest of this era in general. It shouldn’t take long to blow through this era. I have Into the Void and then three trades and that’s all, if I recall correctly. This should be fun.
*CANONICAL STATUS: It is rather surprising that this brief tale of the Je’daii Rangers should be judged to be as accurate and reliable as it is, given its great age. However, it does seem to be entirely accurate. No corruptions or obvious falsehoods have been found. The events depicted here probably happened exactly as depicted. This work is RECOMMENDED as a historical resource.
*** ½ out of **** stars.
*Next time? Well, heck, let’s keep moving here. Next time, Tim Lebbon takes us Into the Void!