Welcome, my friend, to a galaxy far, far away. Enter the realm of Jedi and bounty hunters, soldiers and droids, rulers and beggars, aliens and humans. From Stackpole’s Corellians to Traviss's Mandalorians, immerse yourself in a universe with the exotica of Zahn, the wit of Allston, the grimness of Stover, the daring of Ostrander, the imagery of Luceno, the detail of Wallace, and most importantly, the vision of George Lucas, to whom we owe it all. And if you listen close enough, you’ll hear the sweet sounds of John Williams’ score in the background. Welcome to Star Wars.
Before the dark times and before the Empire, the Jedi Knights were guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. Their presence sustained the Republic for centuries, but even they could not stop or foresee their own downfall. In the waning years of the Republic, Jedi, soldiers, and explorers strove to find their path, fought for causes dearly held, and discover themselves. Little did they know that these experiences would shape and try them to face the coming storm of exile—or worse. These are the origins of the exiles.
A hyperspace mishap leaves a group of explorers stranded on an incredibly hostile alien world. They are alone, friendless, and faced with daunting odds if they hope to survive the harsh conditions, but their chances of rescue dwindle even faster than their supplies and health. This is a story of survival and what strange furnaces destiny can use to refine the character and shape the fate of individuals placed in the most trying circumstances.
“Brace for impact. Gonna be rough,” Jebvui warned them. Samtel tightened his seat restraint, even though he’d already done so about ten times during re-entry. He began counting the seconds until they hit from her announcement, getting to about eight and a half before they hit.
As unpowered crash landings went, it wasn’t bad, in that it didn’t kill the entire crew instantly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anything remotely close to good. The jarring impact tore Samtel’s over-tightened strap and hurled him from his seat, sending him flying around the crew lounge along with a motley assortment of other ship fixtures, slamming painfully around as the ship scraped along the surface of the planet. The last thing he remembered was the port bulkhead rushing up at his side much too quickly for his liking. Then there was a sharp pain in his left arm and side, then unconsciousness.
- Located at A New Course
In 49 BBY, a small ship of hyperspace explorers is charting a new route deep in Wild Space. However, their ship suffers a catastrophic mishap while flying through a nebula. The captain crash- lands the ship on a nearby world but perishes in the attempt, leaving only two crewmembers, Samtel Kraen and Lena Quee, alive. They quickly discover that the world is extremely inhospitable to Human life, with their injuries sustained in the crash exacerbated by venomous insects, allergen-laced air, and shocking temperature extremes. Each day brings numerous challenges that they must overcome to survive. Finally, with food supplies running low, they decide to make a desperate attempt to contact any rescuers that might be near.
Venturing out in an attempt to plant a communication beacon leads them to an encounter with hostile wildlife, which severely injures Samtel. Faced with the prospect of his possible death, Lena confesses the feelings that she has developed for Samtel since their crash-landing. A second try to plant the beacon is successful and they make contact with another ship belonging to a pair of Jedi Knights, who rescue the two stranded spacers and take them back to civilized space, where Samtel and Lena decide to live their lives together.
Behind the scenes
A New Course was released in December 2010 as the 15th in the Yanibar Tales and the earliest in in-universe chronology. At approximately 22,700 words long, it is the second-longest of the Yanibar Tales. It is also the only work in the Force Exile Series to be set before any of the six Star Wars films. It, along with the other prequel movie-era stories, was moved to Origins of the Exiles in July 2020.
The major influences behind A New Course were films like Castaway and the classic novel Robinson Crusoe which dealt with people stranded on remote locations. Another prompt for the story was a phrase in the New Jedi Order novel Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream talking about the possible outcome for two characters if they were ever stranded on a desert planet together. One of the characters mentioned was Danni Quee, who is the great-niece of Lena Quee.
The story underwent several title changes during its writing, including Our Own Course and Dawn's Reckoning. The final title A New Course was settled upon based on its similarity to A New Hope. Several alterations were made to the prose as a consequence of its review process. Samtel was originally going to mention the name of his deceased girlfriend. This was cut after being deemed extraneous. In 2020, the story was moved to Origins of the Exiles as part of a larger reorganization of the earliest parts of the series.
As is typical with Force Exile Series works, A New Course has numerous references and homages contained within its prose. Many of these references are to other canonical Star Wars works. Samtel's comment about hoping that the worms don't hunt in packs was inspired by a similar statement in The Last Command. Lena's plea to Samtel to come back to her is a nod to a similar action performed by Jag Fel to Jaina Solo in Force Heretic II. Samtel's comment "For good luck" after kissing Lena mirrors the same line spoken by Leia Organa in A New Hope.
Outside of Star Wars references, Quick Step is the name of a ballroom dance, while Sunflash was inspired from a Redwall-series character of the same name. The razorape creatures are based on trolls in the Artemis Fowl series. Finally, Lena's statement of "It is a good dream" is a nod to the theatrical version of The Two Towers, where Arwen utters the same line to Aragorn.
Recognition and reception
A New Course was chosen as a featured work on 1 May 2011 after a 5-month nomination process. The successful nomination of A New Course marked author Atarumaster88's fifth featured work. It was featured on the Main Page from May through July 2010. The short story also won "Best Movie Era" in the Summer 2011 short story contest and tied for runner-up in the overall "Best Short Story" category.
Notes and references
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