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Star Wars: Shadow Fall by Alexander Freed

Star Wars: Shadow Fall by Alexander Freed

Author:Alexander Freed
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Random House
Published: 2020-06-24T23:00:00+00:00


II

Chass na Chadic floated with the rest of the Cerberon system’s garbage. She was sprawled across the B-wing’s console with her face pressed to the canopy bubble and her legs and feet tangled loosely in her seat harness. The transparent metal felt solid and cool against her cheek as she took in the glittering darkness, and she occasionally thumbed her audio system, restlessly switching from one song to the next but never really listening.

She had survived again. She’d survived a battle no one else had. By now, she should have been used to it.

It was over three hours since the battle above Catadra, and no ships had appeared on her scanners. She’d picked up no transmissions. However the fight had ended it hadn’t been good for the New Republic—maybe hadn’t been good for Shadow Wing, either, though she had no way to guess. As the minutes had ticked by she’d gone from frustration to rage to despair, and then—after she’d slammed her head against the canopy—gone into a state of boneless dispassion.

She thought about Wyl and Nath and Quell, all of whom were likely dead (except Quell, maybe, the only one whose death Chass might actually enjoy). The thought was a stone in her throat but she knew the hurt wouldn’t last. She’d put Wyl and Nath away the same way she had Fadime and Yeprexi and Quaysail, the dead of Hound Squadron whom she rarely thought of anymore; or even Batriok and Snivel, of the Cavern Angels.

You loved Snivel. You loved Snivel. When’s the last time you thought of him?

It would be the same with Alphabet Squadron.

She smashed her forehead into the canopy again to drive sensation into her skull. Her mouth hung open as she tried to breathe and she heard herself laughing. Little dancing blotches of light orbited the asteroids outside.

She thought about Jyn Erso, the woman who’d given her life to stop the Emperor’s first Death Star. The woman whose sacrifice had inspired Chass to follow in her footsteps to ruined Jedha; inspired her to join the Cavern Angels. Chass had heard more than her share of martyr tales as a child, been lectured over and over about the reincarnation of Howeth Zaubra and Father Kashevon’s Day of Atonement, but those had been lies meant to manipulate the credulous. Jyn had been real.

Chass was the antithesis of everything Jyn Erso was. Where Jyn died, Chass lived. Where Jyn brought life, Chass left the burnt corpses of friends in her wake.

Jyn had fought an impossible war against an overwhelming enemy. Chass was finishing an easy war from a position of strength—even if the New Republic was having a bad day.

She heard a buzzing sound over the soft music and, in her haze of pain and self-pity, thought it was an insect. She slapped at the console expecting to feel the chitinous shell of something beneath her palm. When she realized the sound was one of the ship’s alarms, she slithered back into her seat and scanned her readouts.



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