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.
Greetings, traveler. What brings you here to our remote corner of space? There’s little of value here if you’re after money, and little action for a thrill-seeker. After all, what significance does a dusty Outer Rim world have to the big galaxy out there? No, we’re a simple folk here on Yanibar, content to mind our own business and let the galaxy minds its own. Now, what did you say you wanted? Stories? Ah, you want to know if the scattered myths of three hundred years ago are true, if the legends of a great power that once lived here are more than old wives’ tales. They are. Once, this world was home to a great people-nothing special by themselves, but united, capable of great things. They lived and died here, all those years ago, as surely as you and I are standing right here. So, pull up a chair, grab something to drink, and I’ll tell you some of the old Yanibar tales.
When a ruthless enemy sweeps across the galaxy seeking to destroy, conquer, and enslave, the Yanibar Guard realizes it cannot stand idly by while civilizations are destroyed. By 27 ABY, it is apparent to them that action is needed. To fight against the menace in their own small way, they have carefully developed an elite unit fielding a weapons system that might prove a useful tool against their foes. However, at some point, the new battle walker and its pilots must undergo a baptism of fire that will test not only their skills, but their dedication, resilience, and allegiances as well.
A few seconds later, as he sideslipped yet another stream of plasma fire, the Avatar pilot was convinced that Eyes had a death wish for him. Every instinct in him screamed to break contact even as Eyes directed him down a debris-strewn slope into a dried-up riverbed, still dodging plasma fire. His fellow pilots had been apparently directed to radio silence, as they didn’t acknowledge his hails. In fact, they weren’t even on sensors. When he got back to the Quinlan Vos, he was going to punch Colonel Harrinos in the face. If he got back. The Avatar lurched as its stern caught another plasma projectile, slamming him painfully against the restraints.
Gritting his teeth, he miserably realized that he was in a long, narrow, straight riverbed, one with no room to hide. Perhaps Eyes meant for him to use his repulsors to jump to the banks and rain down fire on the walker from above. However, if that was his intent, then the order was not forthcoming. Instead, Eyes ordered him to make his way up the dry riverbed, maneuvering evasively. At last Steel could take it no longer.
- Lieutenant Akira "Aleph" Arkani, Yanibar Guard Army
- Colonel Zid "Eyes" Harrinos, Yanibar Guard Army
- Lieutenant Sneath "Ghost" Lapik, Yanibar Guard Army
- Lieutenant Terneh "Thunder" Oegonar, Yanibar Guard Army
- Captain Jon "Steel" Rieves, Yanibar Guard Army
- Located at Blaze of Glory
It is 28 ABY and the Yanibar Guard Army is testing a new weapon developed to counter the growing threat of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion sweeping across the galaxy. Four elite pilots operating in an experimental unit called the Pathfinders are set to land on Falleen and perform an aggressive reconnaissance against the Yuuzhan Vong. One of the Pathfinders, Akira “Aleph” Arkani, has misgivings about the justification of committing an act of war, but she is overruled. The Pathfinders pilot their experimental Avatar walkers onto Falleen’s surface and engage the Yuuzhan Vong. A group of aerial threats are easily dispatched, but a giant Yuuzhan Vong warbeast poses more of a threat until their commanding officer coordinates an ambush to destroy it.
After locating a sizeable Yuuzhan Vong encampment and fending off an infantry assault, the Pathfinders see evidence of the aliens’ savagery, which persuades Arkani of the moral reasoning of their involvement. The Pathfinders then designate targets for an airstrike that pulverizes the base. One of the Yanibar Guard starfighters is shot down and the Pathfinders are dispatched to destroy the debris to prevent its study by the enemy.
After doing so, they discover a hidden path. While investigating, the ground collapses under them, plunging them into an underground Yuuzhan Vong facility. The Pathfinders fight through several more Yuuzhan Vong living vehicle analogs and discover that the Yuuzhan Vong are growing dozens more of the telepathic yammosk war coordinators that have been so crucial to the aliens’ advance. While their weapons are insufficient to destroy the yammosks and the facility is buried too deeply for an aerial strike, two of the pilots volunteer to self-destruct their Avatars, using the reactor explosions to collapse the cavern and flood it with lethal radiation. The remaining Pathfinders extract their comrades and quickly escape the cavern in their remaining walkers before the reactors detonate. Heading back to space and homeward bound, they are congratulated for their successful strike against the Yuuzhan Vong.
Behind the scenes
Blaze of Glory was released in August 2011 as the sixteenth entry in the Yanibar Tales. At approximately 15,100 words long, it is approximately median length for the Yanibar Tales. Blaze of Glory is one of several Yanibar Tales to be set after the original trilogy and the second to occur in the New Jedi Order era.
The storyline contained within Blaze of Glory was originally slated to be within Force Exile V: Warrior to show the perspective of ground-level soldiers. During the prewriting process for Force Exile V, author Atarumaster88 realized that the novel was already more expansive than he had anticipated. Addition of storylines involving Akleyn Kraen, Bryndar Knrr, and Jasika Kraen Knrr, as well as expanding other story arcs to give them more comprehensive coverage created a much larger novel. As such, he decided to move the Pathfinder story arc to a separate short story which served as a prequel for Force Exile V: Warrior. The story also provided a vehicle to explain the vacancy in Paladin Squadron introduced in Force Exile V, which was at the time being written.
While Atarumaster88 began writing the short story in mid-2010 before working on Force Exile V, he was dissatisfied with the first six or seven pages, feeling that the story alternately contained too much emphasis on the pure action or the technical descriptions. Feeling that the story needed more from its characters, he delayed work on it while coming up new concepts to drive the characters. It was during this stage that Atarumaster88 wrote the opening scenes in the exercise room followed by the debate over the appropriateness of the Yanibar Guard combating the Yuuzhan Vong. Having fleshed out the characters' personalities in more detail, he was then free to continue the rest of the story on Falleen, making sure to emphasize the pilots and their idiosyncracies. Blaze of Glory was ultimately released approximately a year after Atarumaster88 first began work on it and was the only Yanibar Tales release of 2011 while Atarumaster88 focused on Force Exile V. As part of its development, the story underwent numerous title changes.
The story was heavily influenced by the Battletech universe and its giant mecha, with Atarumaster88 drawing combat characteristics and even limited story concepts from that series. The actual appearance of the Avatar walkers was imagined to be very similar to the Mad Dog/Vulture BattleMechs from that franchise and many of the same weapons and concepts used in Battletech have analogs on the Avatars, such as a point-defense laser system, heat management, reconnaissance drones, and configurable hardpoints.
As is common in Force Exile stories, Atarumaster88 used a number of references to both canonical works and other media. The descriptions of the rakamats drew heavily from Aaron Allston's Enemy Lines duology. The ubiquitous "I suddenly have a very bad feeling about this" line also makes another appearance. The line of "Keep up your visual scanning" by Steel is a reference to A New Hope. The shield burst ability on the Avatars originated from a similar ability on Garm Bel Iblis' hero unit in Star Wars Empire At War: Forces of Corruption.
Outside of canon, as mentioned, the Battletech universe played a major role in influencing the concepts, vehicles, and combat used in Blaze of Glory. The first fight against the rakamat shares numerous similarities and some dialogue with an opening video from the MechCommander video game, as does the role of Commander Harrinos. Harrinos' name is an anagram of "Harrison," the name of the MechCommander in that video. The Avatar pilot designations are also drawn from Battletech video games. "Blaze" and "Thunder" are callsigns used in MechCommander, while "Steel" and "Ghost" appear in MechCommander 2. Some of the armament and combat also were inspired by Transformers, in particular the arm-mounted vibroblades. The caltrop defense system was drawn from a similar weapon in Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight.
Recognition and reception
Blaze of Glory currently has no awards or featured work status.
Notes and references
|Force Exile Series|