In an excerpt from "First Duty," author Cavan Scott takes us back to Starlight Beacon.
They first appeared on the pages of Star Wars Insider, short stories from Starlight Beacon that added to the books and comics that arrived as part of Phase I of the Star Wars: The High Republic initiative.
Now with Phase II of Star Wars: The High Republic unfolding in books and comics, those short stories have been collected for the first time ever in one hardcover volume, Star Wars: The High Republic: Starlight Stories, ready to transport readers back to the golden age of the Jedi Order.
StarWars.com is thrilled to give you a peek inside the new collection, published by Titan Comics and written by The New York Times’ best-selling authors Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, and Justina Ireland, with supporting original illustrations by Louie De Martinis. From Part I of "First Duty," Scott weaves the tale of Administrator Velko Jahen...
Velko Jahen was pleased that no one could hear the conversation that was running through her head as the shuttle dropped out of hyperspace.
The tall, silver-skinned Soikan had spent much of her life in the muddy trenches of her home planet, dodging blasters and evading remotes. She’d seen horrors that would stay with her forever, and bravery beyond compare, and here she was, a veteran of the Soikan conflict, dumbstruck by the sight of a gleaming space station.
Granted it was the most beautiful space station ever created, from its luminescent central disc to the majestic Jedi spire topped with the gleaming lantern that gave the facility its name: Starlight Beacon.
Velko had seen holos of Starlight, even studied the schematics, but had never realized how much the station looked like a gleaming lightsaber revolving regally in the star-filled expanse of the frontier.
“You’re a long way from home, Vel,” she said quietly to herself as the shuttle swept through the vast hangar doors. Of course, putting as many parsecs between her and Soika had largely been the point of applying to the Republic administration corps, to run from the ghosts of her past. No. That wasn’t entirely true. She was here to serve the Republic, and where better than the symbol of light and hope on the fringes of the known galaxy?
That didn’t stop Velko from being taken aback as the shuttle hatch opened. There were so many people. So much noise. She gripped hold of the ramp’s safety rail, trying to center herself the way Dagni had shown her, although her surroundings couldn’t have been more different from that of Soika battle command. The smell was better for a start, everything so new and lustrous. Her crisp Republic uniform was smarter than her old insurgent fatigues and her long white hair, usually pulled roughly into a ponytail, swept up into a tight triple bun that had taken her most of yesterday to master. And then there was the atmosphere. Not the air itself, although that was fresh enough; no, it was the sense of excitement that anything was possible.
Velko turned at the sound of the voice. A green-skinned Ovissian was pushing through the throng, her smile almost as broad as the yellow horns that stretched from her head. “Welcome to Starlight. The Controller asked me to fetch you.”
Velko felt herself straighten at Rodor Keen’s title, a callback to her training. Even the Soika Liberation Force had respected the chain of command.
“Is the Controller in the operations hub?” Velko asked.
The Ovissian laughed, an infectious trill. “He wishes. He’s in the medcenter.”
Velko’s eyes flicked down towards the scrubs her new companion was wearing, as pristine as the hangar’s walls. “Is he well?”
“Oh, absolutely. The pressure hasn’t got to him yet.” The Ovissian’s smile faltered for a moment. “That’s not to suggest that he isn’t up to the job. It’s just… well, you’ll see when we get there.”
They hurried out into an equally packed corridor.
“I’m Okana, by the way.”
“You’re a medic.”
“Junior nurse. Been here three days. Feels like three weeks.”
“Oh, no. Not at all. It’s just been a lot.” Okana’s cheeks flushed emerald. “Sorry, I’m not putting you at ease, am I? My bedside manner isn’t usually this bad, I promise.”
Velko flashed what she hoped was a reassuring smile. “You’re doing fine. I must admit, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed myself.”
They slipped into a waiting turbolift and the doors closed smoothly behind them. Okana jabbed a button and the car started up the shaft.
“Don’t worry. That passes soon enough, or so I’ve been told.”
Star Wars: The High Republic: Starlight Stories is available for pre-order now and arrives December 6, 2022.