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.
It is 10 ABY and Sarth and Cassi Kraen are away from Yanibar to attend the Droid, Cybernetics, and Artificial Intelligence Exposition on Hosk Station. Their intent is to relax and spend time together, but what they don't know is that a famed New Republic Intelligence group, Wraith Squadron, is also on Hosk Station helping an Imperial scientist defect. Nor do they know that their peaceful trip will soon be interrupted abruptly by the misfortunes and antics of the Wraiths in a meeting that may change the destiny of a most unlikely candidate.
Taking a seat on the ground beside Cassi, Sarth sat cross-legged and closed his eyes. Slowly, he shifted his mind into a mental state that was vaguely familiar to him, one that left his perceptions open to the Force. He cleared his thoughts of the distractions of the days, felt Cassi becoming similarly open. Her mind touched his in a gesture of reassurance and support, and Sarth reciprocated. The two of them slowly drifted silently until they were both floating on a still surface of mental calm, in harmony with the Force and each other. Tiny ripples in the Force washed over them, allowing them to sense their surroundings. Faint whispers of voices from the other people on Hosk Station, seemingly vocalized emotions whipped past their mental senses, almost too fast to decipher. Images, hazy and silhouetted flitted around them as the Force acted like a virtual news feed. Sarth stiffened as he visualized a group of people being beaten to the ground by two others.
- Sarth Kraen, corporate executive and engineer
- Cassi Trealus Kraen, teacher
- Garik "Face" Loran, Wraith Leader
- Shalla Nelprin, Wraith Squadron
- Dia Passik, Wraith Squadron
- Tyria Sarkin, Wraith Squadron
- Kell Tainer, Wraith Squadron
- Elassar Targon, Wraith Squadron
- Rali Tsouros, Wraith Squadron
- Located at Cloak and Datapad
Sarth and Cassi Kraen are visiting Hosk Station in 9 ABY for a technical conference, which Sarth finds engrossing while Cassi is there simply to keep him company. However, the New Republic's elite Wraith Squadron is also there facilitating the defection of an Imperial scientist, Dmelte Volyken. The Wraiths have all gathered at the station, posing as waitresses, entertainers, maintenance crew, and security staff. To distract the security staff, they attempt to use a drone to deliver a sedative gas. However, their plans are complicated by the appearance of an Imperial Intelligence team.
The Wraiths deal with the Imperials and rendezvous with Volyken, but the quick incapacitation of the Imperials is sensed by Sarth and Cassi, who use the Force to subliminally suggest station security investigate the incident. The heightened security flushes out Rali, the Wraith who was inserted into the security staff. He escapes with a blaster graze, while another Wraith, Tyria Sarkin, ends up separated from her unit. Needing a place to lie low for a minute, the Wraiths break into Sarth and Cassi's room, thinking it is unoccupied since Sarth and Cassi are practicing their Force camouflage technique. After recognizing Dr. Volyken the two Force exiles quickly retrieve their lightsabers and appear with them at the ready, threatening the Wraiths. The Wraith leader, Garik "Face" Loran, attempts to negotiate his way out, but Sarth and Cassi force the truth from them. Learning that they are New Republic agents facilitating a defection, Sarth and Cassi agree to let them go, after obtaining a copy of the doctor's research. As a final boon, Cassi helps treat Rali, while Sarth uses the Force to summon the Force-sensitive Tyria Sarkin. As the Wraiths leave Hosk Station, Sarth slips her a token that will let her find Yanibar if she should ever decide to develop her latent talents.
Behind the scenes
Cloak and Datapad was released in December 2008 as the ninth entry in the Yanibar Tales. At approximately 20,900 words long, it is above median length for the Yanibar Tales. Cloak and Datapad is one of several Yanibar Tales to be set after the original trilogy.
The title of Cloak and Datapad is a play off of the espionage euphemism "cloak and dagger." Force Exile author Atarumaster88 had long wanted to do a Sarth and Cassi Kraen-focused story after Force Exile IV and had likewise hoped to involve Wraith Squadron in Force Exile as well. Atarumaster88 wanted to show the start of Tyria Sarkin's pursuit of the Jedi path.
In the original draft, Rali had a larger role and more eccentric personality, but this was reduced after negative comments from Atarumaster88's beta-reader. Another shift from the original plan was that the story shifted from a story about the two groups being entangled in a criminal operation to a defection. Due to a word limit that the author imposed on himself, the ending of Cloak and Datapad was curtailed; originally, there was supposed to be about ten pages with more interplay between the Wraiths, Sarth, and Cassi. During the beta-review of the story, the lack of involvement of Sarth and Cassi was noted, leading to more interaction being added after the initial draft.
As is common in Force Exile stories, Atarumaster88 used a number of references to both canonical works and other media. Aaron Allston's three Wraith Squadron novels heavily influenced the writing of the stories. A reference was also made to Grand Moff Wilkadon mentioned in Tatooine Ghost and the Magrody Institute introduced in Children of the Jedi. The musical number and the arrangement described along with it was influenced by the descriptions in Rebel Bass. Elassar Targon's complaint of "I have a very bad feeling about this" is a very common repeated phrase in canon. The mention of the "bent diamond" formation is a reference to The Last Command where it was introduced by Timothy Zahn. Face's mention of the various pranks inflicted on him and Janson stemmed from descriptions in Wraith Squadron and Solo Command.
Outside of canon, Sarth and Cassi also reference the events of Deception on R'alla and Force Exile II: Smuggler. Dia's internal thoughts about the lock being amusing and easy to bypass are homage to spoken dialogue in Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident. Face's greeting of "Dr. Volyken, I presume" is a reference to the greeting used for the famous missionary and explorer in Africa, Dr. David Livingstone. Face's attempt to create commonality between him and Sarth and Cassi based on the fact that Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles used to fly together is a nod to a similarly ethereal relationship mentioned between Lone Starr and Dark Helmet in Spaceballs. Dia's dialogue line of a "Wraith awaiting launch orders" is a Starcraft reference.
Recognition and reception
Notes and references
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