Force Exile IV: Guardian is the fourth novel of the Force Exile Series, and the sixth overall Force Exile story written by Atarumaster88. Set during the Galactic Civil War, the novel continues the story of Selusda Kraen and the Yanibar refugees.
- 1 Preface
- 2 Author's summary
- 3 Excerpt
- 4 Dramatis personae
- 5 Sections
- 6 Plot summary
- 7 Behind the scenes
- 8 Disclaimer
- 9 Notes and references
Welcome, my friend, to a galaxy far, far away. Enter the realm of Jedi and bounty hunters, soldiers and droids, rulers and beggars, alien and human. From Stackpole’s Corellians to Traviss's Mandalorians, come to 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.
Force Exile IV: Guardian occurs nearly twenty years after the events of Force Exile III: Liberator, as the Yanibar refuge finds itself torn in its allegiances during the Galactic Civil War. Will it side with the Rebellion for the good of the galaxy, or alongside the Empire, or with other groups even more sinister? Against the stark backdrop of galactic war, Selu, Milya, Sarth, Cassi, and Spectre will see their loyalties tried in ways never before imagined by any of them and meet obstacles they had never thought existed. Selu must come to grips with the nature of the Rebellion and its leadership, while Spectre faces his own personal shortcomings and weaknesses. Meanwhile, Sarth and Cassi embark on a quest that all-too-quickly goes awry, but for Milya is left the most perilous fate: to defend not only her own life, but that of her only daughter.
The sharp wind blew through the brown grass as he walked through the endless steppe, his back turned to all that lay behind him. He paid no heed to the temporary swathe his progress made in the fields, nor did the shoulder-high grass bother him. He was used to it, having explored these fields for years in his youth. His mind knew every inch of the land, knew its feel as he walked bare-footed through the grass, knew its smell, that dank aura of decay and dreariness, knew the sounds of the rustling blades of grass.
He had seen much hardship already, despite his own talents. Young and diminutive, he was already stern-faced, even for his kind. This latest hand he had been dealt by cruel fate was merely the culmination of a series of unfortunate events, albeit the most painful for him personally. Now, he was cast out from all he had known. True, the latest incident had been his fault-though he hadn’t meant to cripple that trainee like that in that sparring match-but the root cause lay much deeper, on something entirely beyond his control. It was something he had been born with and could not explain, but it made him different. And now, he regarded it as the largest blessing and curse that anyone could ever have. It had made him the envy of others his age when he could outperform them all, but it had also isolated him. His peers saw him as a freak, and now it had come to the point where he was completely cut off from his people. Now, his only belongings were the clothes on his back and a simple metal knife- a poor way to start the life of a complete exile, but he would survive or die.
He looked at the sun, squinting his eyes against its glare. He would have to travel far tonight before he reached anywhere with decent shelter against the cold nights than the tall kholm grass around him. Reaching out to lightly run his hand along one of the grass stalks, Morgedh clan Kel'nerh sighed as he trudged on, a tiny figure amidst the sheer vastness of the endless grasslands of ruined Honoghr.
- Admiral Delvardus, Imperial Navy
- Commander Wedge Antilles, Starfighter Corps
- Captain Tycho Celchu, Starfighter Corps
- Lieutenant Wes Janson, Starfighter Corps
- Lieutenant Derek Klivian, Starfighter Corps
- Ana Vondar Kraen, nurse
- Cassi Trealus Kraen, teacher
- Jasika Kraen, student
- Lena Kraen, housewife
- Rhiannon Kraen, student
- Samtel Kraen, legal consultant
- Sarth Kraen, corporate executive and engineer
- Sheeka Tull Kraen, transport pilot
- Elite Hasla Almani, Yanibar Elite Guardians
- Master Daara Sherum, Yanibar Elite Guardians
- Director Milya Tayrce Kraen, Yanibar Guard Intelligence
- Sergeant Nate Kraen, Yanibar Guard Army
- Supreme Commander Selusda Kraen, Yanibar Guard
- Senior General Spectre Kraen, Yanibar Guard Army
- Taelros Bac, holopera director
- Urai Fen, Zann Consortium
- Morgedh clan Kel'nerh, exile
- Annita Daowot Knrr, shipping magnate
- Jorgesoll Knrr, shipping magnate
- Silri, Zann Consortium
- Tyber Zann, Zann Consortium
- Chapters 1-2
- Chapters 3-4
- Chapters 5-6
- Chapters 7-8
- Chapters 9-11
- Chapters 12-14
- Chapters 15-17
- Chapters 18-19
- Chapters 20-22
- Chapters 23-26
As the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance do battle across the galaxy in 4 ABY, the Force exiles of the Yanibar refuge established twenty years earlier by Jedi Knight Selu Kraen are in a fight of their own. A group of ships belonging to the Yanibar Guard undergoing a mission to salvage an Imperial battlecruiser when they are surprised by an Imperial warship. Working together, they engage the larger ship, culminating in its boarding by Selu and his adopted brother, Spectre Kraen. They quickly subdue the bridge crew, but during the fight, Spectre's own Force-senses nearly fail him. He reveals to Selu that his own powers have diminished recently.
Selu and Spectre return home to Yanibar, sharing a meal with their family—Selu's brother Sarth Kraen and Sarth's wife Cassi, Selu's and Sarth's parents Samtel and Lena Kraen, Selu's wife Milya and daughter Rhiannon and Spectre's wife Sheeka and daughter Jasika. Spectre shares his concern with them, and in response, Sarth mentions that his old mentor Nasdra Magrody was once studying on brain-wave patterns related to Force-sensitivity. He and Cassi offer to seek out his help to assist Spectre.
Light years away, on the desolate world of Honoghr, a young Noghri warrior named Morgedh clan Kel'nerh sets out across the plains, having been exiled from his people. Little do he or his people know that his oddities are caused by latent Force-sensitivity.
Spectre, Selu, Sarth and Cassi continue to test Spectre's failing Force-sensitivity, which is inconsistent. They encourage him to seek out the ancient nexus where he received his power. Shortly thereafter, Milya has a vision of an alien who is taken by Darth Vader and turned into a tool that brings darkness to Yanibar. Sensing urgency, Selu and Milya decide to go investigate this being, postponing a trip that Milya had planned with her daughter Rhiannon.
Elsewhere, the crime lord Tyber Zann, leader of the Zann Consortium, plots with his lieutenant Urai Fen about how to best expand the influence of his criminal organization. He accepts an offer by another crime lord to raid Bespin, but plots to frame his rival for the deed. The raid is successful and his mercenaries both raid Bespin and frame the rival Black Sun group for it. During the process, Zann's men are briefly held up by a business defended by destroyer droids and soldiers, which is affiliated with the Yanibar Guard. Realizing that they could have weapons to help increase his own stock of destroyer droids, Zann stops the attack and approaches the business owners, Jorgesoll and Annita Knrr, and asks to negotiate with them for obtaining more droids and weapons.
Meanwhile, on the distant world of Tierfon, an Arkanian Rebel pilot named Seirla Trasani serves the Rebellion as a B-wing starfighter pilot. However, despite her own Rebel sympathies, she is actually an agent for Yanibar whose real name is Hasla Almani, sent to study, learn, and ultimately steal technical and manufacturing information about the B-wing. Her piloting skills earn her the attention of the famous Rogue Squadron pilots, but though she befriends several of them, she remains aloof—her mission is soon to end. She was supposed to depart the Rebellion when her squadron was sent on a raid to Abridon, but defies her orders to stay with the Rebellion, feeling that they need her. Returning to Tierfon, she continues to fly with the Rebellion.
On Eriadu, Imperial Admiral Sander Delvardus finds himself increasingly hampered by the bureaucratic twaddling of his superior, High Admiral Vey. Nevertheless, he accepts an assignment from Vey and Vey's superior, Grand Moff Ardus Kaine, to take a task force in pursuit of Zann Consortium activities in the sector.
Selu and Milya journey to the library world of Obroa-skai in disguise, looking through its archives to find information about the alien from Milya's vision, but they meet with little success. Their search is halted when they sense a Force-user nearby, whom they soon discover is the Jedi Master Quinlan Vos on a mission of his own. Selu is surprised to see Vos again, whom he had known years earlier, and when Vos learns of their mission, he reveals that the alien they seek is a Noghri from the world of Honoghr. After dealing with an Imperial agent that was following Vos, they part ways, with Selu and Milya heading to Honoghr. They land there, guided by the Force to find Morgedh. He is initially suspicious of them, but when confronted with the truth about the Empire's past betrayals and that the Empire is using his people and will eventually use him, is eventually swayed to leave Honoghr for Yanibar.
As Sarth attempts to contact his old mentor, he finds he is unable to. He and Cassi decide to go in search of Doctor Magrody on Corulag. Arriving there, they are unable to find him, but with the help of a student named Alris and another teacher, they learn that Magrody has disappeared. The two academics are skeptical of them, particularly after Sarth deduces their Rebel sympathies, but Sarth and Cassi convince them of their sincerity of seeking to find Magrody, obtaining his address. They find forensic evidence there, but are unable to interpret it. Instead, they head to Bespin to obtain help from Annita, a former law enforcement investigator.
While Sarth, Cassi, Selu, and Milya are away, Spectre is sent to negotiate with Tyber Zann on behalf of the Yanibar refuge. He travels to Nar Shaddaa to meet with Zann. Disgusted by the sordid nature of the planet and the establishments controlled by the underworld there, he nevertheless follows his orders from the Ruling Council and secures a trade agreement the consortium after tense negotiations with Zann, agreeing to send weapons to the criminal empire. However, the sleazy, nefarious nature of Zann's empire and his mistreatment of the people there anger Spectre, and he comes up with a sabotage plan to punish the Zann Consortium. Elite Yanibar Guard soldiers, including Spectre's stepson, Sergeant Nate Kraen, are sent to raid Consortium businesses on Nar Shaddaa along with sabotaging the weapons shipments after they arrive.
Sarth and Cassi arrive over Bespin just as the Rebel Alliance attacks the floating city to obtain valuable Tibanna gas. Hasla is part of the raid and covertly aids Sarth and Cassi as they slip through the battle, but is shot down. She makes her way to Jorge and Annita's business, where they tell her that it's time for her to return to Yanibar. She refuses, saying that the Rebellion needs her more. Jorge and Annita are sympathetic, but Sarth and Cassi surprisingly help sway them to allow Hasla to continue flying with the Rebellion and Jorge and Annita help her return to them. Sarth and Cassi also learn that the forensic evidence they found on Corulag leads them to the planet Mandalore, making that their next destination.
Selu and Milya returned to Yanibar, where they meet with Spectre, who details the new business arrangement between Yanibar and the Zann Consortium. Milya then departs for Eriadu with Rhiannon to enjoy the Pan-Galactic Symphony. They have a great time, up until they are approached by a holo-opera director named Taelros Bac and his Imperial advisor, Colonel Hagrek. Having heard Rhiannon's own beautiful singing voice as mother and daughter walk around after the performance, Bac hopes to have Rhiannon replace a singer in one of his holooperas upcoming on Coruscant after the previous singer dropped out. Milya immediately refused his entreaties, but Hagrek's intervention compelled Rhiannon to demonstrate. Knowing that Rhiannon would enjoy the opportunity and feeling the pressure from Hagrek, Milya concedes to Rhiannon's participation. She and Rhiannon travel to distant Coruscant and begin preparing for the concert.
Meanwhile, Admiral Delvardus learns of a Zannist rendezvous being planned at Carida and sets up a trap for them. However, Admiral Vey undercuts him, revealing that the Zannists are in possession of an ancient Sith artifact desired by the Empire, and so informs Delvardus that his fleet will engage Zann's at Carida—but under the command of the alien admiral Thrawn. The Imperial and Zannist fleets clash over Carida, but Thrawn leaves after securing the artifact, rushing off to a secret mission and leaving a furious Delvardus to fight it out against his adversary. Little do either of them know that Zann wanted the artifact to be re-captured and taken to a secrete Imperial vault he plans on raiding. The battle ends in a draw and an angered Delvardus.
On Tierfon Base, Hasla finds herself increasingly attracted to a dashing Rogue Squadron pilot named Wes Janson, though she tries to hide her feelings, knowing that Yanibar will eventually call her back. As the Rebellion prepares to attack the second Death Star, Hasla is decorated for valor, but feels undeserving, knowing that she isn't truly a Rebel pilot. Janson finds her and comforts her, helping her through what he believes are nerves, lost comrades, and unresolved feelings. She welcomes his presence and ultimately succumbs to her feelings for the pilot.
Back on Yanibar, Selu and Spectre start to train Morgedh clan Kel'nerh. Spectre eventually takes the time to visit the ancient nexus, speaking with the spirits of ancient Jedi. There, he learns that his weakness with using the Force in battle is due to a mental reverberation when in proximity with other clones of Jango Fett like himself. Realizing that his weakness is not permanent or likely to worsen, he returns to Yanibar.
On Mandalore, Sarth and Cassi are approached by local Zannists, who recognize them as the heads of Kraechar Arms and offer to help them with their search, as they were now considered allies of the Consortium. The Zannists provide them the location of the Magrodys and Sarth and Cassi free Elizie and Shenna Magrody, Nasdra's wife and daughter, in a daring raid on a house guarded by Imperial Intelligence operatives. However, there is no sign of Nasdra. Sarth and Cassi send the two Arkanians to their ship and make their own escape on speeder bikes. While they're able to deal with the Imperial pursuit, the Zannists suddenly ambush them, taking them prisoner. They attempt to extort control over Kraechar Arms from Sarth and Cassi, but they refuse, even under torture.
The Rebel fleet, including Hasla, launches their desperation attack on the second Death Star. Selu is told about their effort, but refuses to send aid, knowing the battle is a trap. However, the Rebels prevail, destroying the Death Star and killing Palpatine. Hasla survives the battle with thanks to Janson, but is injured.
Zann by now has made his way to Coruscant to track down the hidden vault, accompanied by Urai Fen and the Nightsister Silri. Their hunt is successful and they retrieve what Zann wanted, the access codes to a mammoth warship under construction. On their way out, they found themselves in need of a diversion while Urai acquired transport. Silri crashes into the Galactic Opera just as Rhiannon is singing, threatening her life. Milya instantly reacts, leaping onto the stage with her lightsaber at the ready. The two women do battle on the stage in front of thousands of people. Both are injured, but Rhiannon is taken to safety. Silri eventually flees, leaving a wounded Milya behind. At that moment, news of the Emperor's death reaches the opera house and pandemonium ensues. Milya retreats backstage in search of Rhiannon and found that Taelros has kept her daughter safe. Her wounds are treated by Taelros, who then thanks her for Rhiannon's amazing singing and the subsequent battle, which amazed the unsuspecting audience. The director then arranges for one of his friends, a former senator and Rebel sympathizer, to get Milya and Rhiannon offworld, where they then make their way back to Yanibar.
As Hasla recovers, she meets Jorge and Annita, who have brought a transport full of medical supplies from Bespin to help the Rebels with their many casualties. Her next mission is to escort their transport back to Bespin, a mission which results in her being 'captured,' and taken back to Yanibar, much to her anger. The Rebellion is led to believe she is dead, leaving Janson in a sorrowful state despite their victory. His fellow pilots eventually help him mourn her loss, and Hasla knows that because of how she was taken from them, she can never return, as they won't trust her. At Yanibar, she vents her anger at Selu, who tells her that it was necessary, that she needed to come back, or she would be lost to them forever. He also reveals that he has set up a large battle at Kuat, where the Zannists, Rebels, and Imperials will clash in a vicious bloodbath. Hasla is dumbstruck that he would knowingly bring about Rebel casualties, even though he tells her that Rogue Squadron will not be there. Selu is unrepentant, telling her that the damage that will be done to the Zannists and Empire will be worth it.
Admiral Delvardus takes his fleet to Kuat to stop the Zannists even as the Empire starts to fragment after the disaster at Endor. The Rebels and Zannists combine to raid the shipyards, but after Zann steals a mammoth warship, he turns on his erstwhile allies and escapes. Heavy losses are inflicted on all sides and after the battle, Delvardus decides that he is tired of serving an Empire that is leaderless and rotting from within. Returning to Eriadu, he eliminates Admiral Vey and declares himself one of the first of the Imperial warlords.
On Nar Shaddaa, the Yanibar Guard commandos launch one final strike against the Zann Consortium after having destroyed most of the weapons shipments, freeing a group of slaves and taking them back to Yanibar. Little do they know that one of the slaves is a Zannist agent, who spies on Selu, Spectre, and the others, learning of their duplicity against the Consortium. The spy transmits the conversation and Yanibar's location to Tyber Zann, even taking Rhiannon hostage before Selu, Milya, and Hasla stop her. Upon realizing that Yanibar is compromised, Hasla agrees to fight for Yanibar once more.
Having learned of Yanibar's betrayal and his valuable prisoners, Tyber Zann brings Sarth and Cassi to his flagship and coerces information out of Sarth, lest Cassi be abused further. Meanwhile, Silri has taken information obtained from the Empire to journey to a distant world and revive an ancient army of Sith troopers. Zann's fleet arrives over Yanibar and clashes with the Yanibar Guard, resulting in an inconclusive space battle. Zann lands thousands of troops and advances on the refuge, which is defended by more Yanibar Guardsmen. Silri's fleet arrives as well, landing inside the refuge and forcing the defenders to divide their forces.
Selu is called upon by Silri to surrender, or else she threatens to bombard nearby cities. He goes to meet her three representatives, ancient Dark Jedi. He ends up dueling them and defeats all three, but is injured. Meanwhile, Milya senses a threat to her family and races back to her house to defend Rhiannon from Silri, as the Nightsister had followed her there. Morgedh clan Kel'nerh helps stall Silri and Milya ultimately prevails over her. This leaves Spectre in command when a message arrives from Sarth and Cassi, letting them know where the two prisoners are. Spectre takes the Hawk-bat, Selu's ship, and a squad of commandos including Nate on a secret mission to free Sarth and Cassi and destroy the enemy flagship.
Spectre is successful in freeing Sarth and Cassi as well as sabotaging the ship, but they are ambushed by Zann and Urai Fen on their way back to the Hawk-bat. Spectre slays Urai and Zann is wounded, but a grenade explosion mortally wounds both Spectre and Nate, who has just become a father only a few weeks earlier. Sarth, Cassi, and the other commandos escape while Spectre and Nate perish aboard the Zannist flagship, which explodes and takes out most of the nearby ships clustered around it. The Yanibar Guard is then able to clean up both space and terrestrial fleets, leaving no survivors. However, they have taken heavy losses and much of the Yanibar refuge has suffered from the fighting. The deepest casualties are the people that are lost though, a truth that Selu realizes first-hand when he is forced to tell Sheeka, Ana, and Jasika about Spectre's and Nate's deaths.
Behind the scenes
Force Exile IV: Guardian was released in July 2009 as the fourth entry in the Force Exile Series and the fourth with regards to in-universe chronology. At approximately 193,000 words, it is the third-longest of the Force Exile novels. Guardian is the only novel to be set in the Rebellion era, roughly corresponding to the timeframe of Shadows of the Empire and Return of the Jedi.
Force Exile IV did not exist as a stand-alone novel in earlier outlines of the Force Exile Series. Instead, it was a large part of Force Exile III. Elements retained from that earlier draft include the theft of the B-wing fighter, the introduction of Morgedh clan Kel’nerh and the use of the Zann Consortium as the primary antagonists. When Atarumaster88 expanded out elements of the series such that the first three novels all occurred prior to the Galactic Civil War, he created Guardian as a Galactic Civil War epic. Despite being a Galactic Civil War epic, none of the characters listed in either the Rebel Alliance or Imperial sections of the dramatis personae are shown dying. Atarumaster88 wanted to write the story of Guardian as a war within a war, highlighting the battle between the Zannists and the Yanibar Guard within the larger narrative of the galactic conflict.
Initially, Atarumaster88 did not have the story arc about Spectre's waning Force-sensitivity, but he wanted to create an incentive to have Sarth and Cassi search for Nasdra Magrody. The decision to include the Magrodys was due to the potential to resolve an issue in canon from Children of the Jedi. Force Exile IV: Guardian was deliberately written with a number of reversals of role in mind. Sarth and Cassi, normally the more diplomatic pairing, were placed in far greater danger and acted more impulsively than they were used to doing. Also, Selu Kraen was written as being more unsympathetic in his interactions with Hasla, being more pragmatic and manipulative.
Quinlan Vos wasn’t originally planned to be in Guardian, but Atarumaster88 needed a plausible means for Selu and Milya to reach Honoghr, which Vos provided. The Battle of Bespin as portrayed in Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader initially only involved Rogue Squadron and Rebel transports. Atarumaster88 explained that as game mechanics and involved other Rebel units to increase the realism.
Force Exile IV also incorporated elements of another fan-creation, the Alternative Star Wars Saga. While Atarumaster88 had previously incorporated another fan-created character and story in the form of Jack Nebulax in Force Exile III, for Guardian, he conceptualized a character that could incorporate elements both from George Lucas and the fan author Brandon Rhea. As a result, Atarumaster88 collaborated with Rhea to obtain use of the character's surname, Bac, an important name in the ASWS. Rhea also provided the character's first name, Taelros.
Several plotlines considered from earlier outlines did not make it into the final draft. One was a conflict between Thrawn or Delvardus and the Yanibar Guard. Initial outlines of Force Exile IV also planned on directly showing the Battle of Kuat and the Battle of Bakura. Both were removed from the story for pacing reasons. Morgedh clan Kel’nerh was also supposed to have a larger role in the story, but Atarumaster88 found that Hasla and Nate had more interesting storylines that he wanted to explore further. Other characters originally planned for inclusion in Force Exile IV: Guardian did not make it into the final drafts of the novel. These include canonical characters Winter Retrac and Sair Yonka, as well as original characters Akleyn Kraen and a Verpine engineer. Another plotline that Atarumaster88 considered exploring further but didn’t was providing more resolution to the plotline of Taelros Bac and Rhiannon. The lack of further detail was due to pacing.
Force Exile IV was first announced in August 2008 after the completion of several Yanibar Tales. The novel’s details were slowly revealed on the Star Wars Fanon Wiki over the next year, with the first segment finished and posted in October 2008. Guardian was the first novel to benefit from having a beta-reader read over it through its writing process, providing a number of improvements that included clarifying and streamlining some of the action scenes. Atarumaster88 ended up toning down two scenes in between the alpha draft and the beta draft of the story—the murder of Seshaak and the attempted rape of Cassi Trealus Kraen. Both of them were deemed too graphic and were thus edited for content prior to being beta’d.
As is common in Force Exile stories, Atarumaster88 used a number of references to both canonical works and other media. Numerous canonical works are referenced in Force Exile IV. Included among them are Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, Dark Force Rising, Truce at Bakura, Shadows of the Empire, Star Wars: TIE Fighter, Darksaber, X-wing: Rogue Leader, Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, Star Wars 15: Star Duel, and Children of the Jedi. Force Exile IV, like all the other Force Exile novels, opens on an Imperial or Republic Star Destroyer, as do all the Star Wars movies and Timothy Zahn's books.
The reference of Selu to Spectre going to the Old Spacers’ Home is a reference to a similar line made by Han Solo in The Han Solo trilogy. Selu’s comment about not signing up for a galactic revolution in Chapter 1 is another reference to a statement by Han Solo, this time from A New Hope. Spectre’s line of “He didn’t try and shoot me, which I took as a good sign” is a reference to a similar line in X-wing: Solo Command. The disguise used by Selu and Milya to infiltrate Obroa-skai was an allusion to a similar scheme employed by Rogue Squadron pilots Corran Horn and Erisi Dlarit in Wedge’s Gamble. Annita’s line about “damn foolish idealistic business” is a reference to a similar line made by Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, while her comment about Mandalore being sparsely populated is a reference to a similar line in The Phantom Menace. Selu’s statement of “I’m so sorry” to Hasla is a copy off of a line used by Obi-Wan Kenobi to Padmé Amidala in Revenge of the Sith.
Tycho Celchu’s mention of the speed of an A-wing and TIE fighter reflect the fact that he flew both types of craft during that era. The story of Hasla Almani and her tenure with Ice Squadron was influenced by another infiltrator operating inside a Rebel squadron, Lara Notsil from the X-wing series. Hasla’s line of “This is a joke, right? One of Janson’s schemes?” is an almost exact quote made by a Wraith Squadron pilot in X-wing: Wraith Squadron. Hasla’s code word of “Black Bantha” is a reference to a holodrama made by Garik Loran. Janson’s line “I suggest that we sleep together since we might tragically perish tomorrow” is a reference to a similar line spoken by Corran Horn in X-wing: Isard’s Revenge. Janson’s role as a counselor to Hasla Almani is reminiscent of his future counseling of Myn Donos in X-wing: Solo Command.
Thrawn’s line of “An excellent recommendation, Admiral. And noted. Thank you” is a reference to a similar statement uttered by Thrawn in The Last Command. Thrawn’s line “You may fire when ready,” is homage to an identical line uttered by Palpatine in Return of the Jedi. The author’s introduction of Zaarin’s insurrection serving to distract Thrawn from the Battle of Carida was his explanation for Thrawn’s departure from the battle.
Tyber Zann’s line of “What a surprise. It was a trap after all.” is a play off of Ackbar’s line “It’s a trap!” in Return of the Jedi. The Battle of Carida and aftermath of the Battle of Kuat were specifically borrowed from Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, and the exact dialogue from those battles was used where applicable. Similarly, Atarumaster88 drew from Forces of Corruption when writing the raid on Bespin.
The mention of the Rebel doctor who was nearly killed in the Battle of Endor alludes to Ton Phanan. Taelros Bac’s line about the whole planet of Coruscant being “one big city” is a reference to an identical line spoken by Ric Olíe in The Phantom Menace. The concept of the mental echo adversely affecting the use of the Force by clones is a concept first introduced by Timothy Zahn in The Last Command. The speeder chase in which Sarth and Cassi experience is a reference to a similar event in Return of the Jedi. The Nightsister blood trail used by Silri to track Milya was not originally planned for use in Guardian, but after it was introduced canonically by Troy Denning in Invincible, Atarumaster88 thought it might be useful.
Slayke’s line of “Helm, get us out of here at flank speed. Maintain formation. And somebody vent that smoke!” is a reference to a similar statement made by Ninora Birt in Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream. Milya’s stand-down code for J7-A0, “Dorn-Three-Nineteen” is a reference to Doornik Three-Nineteen, a shipyard mentioned in the Black Fleet Crisis. Spectre’s line of “From water we're born . . . fire we die. We seed the stars” was quoted from The Cestus Deception as an ARC credo.
Outside of canon, the name of Admiral Vey was a reference to a hero in Heroes of Might and Magic 3. Sarth Kraen’s “Skart Kraest” persona was influenced by Rodney McKay of Stargate: Atlantis in that he’s brilliant but obnoxious. The names of Silri’s three minions are anagrams of the three lead female characters in the latest Charlie’s Angels film. Atarumaster88 despised that film, which led to their names being employed for Dark Jedi. The arrival of Zann’s fleet in Sector Seven is a reference to an organization of the same name in the 2007 Transformers movie. The inclusion of Captain Starkellos Zel and his self-sacrifice of his ship was inspired by the self-sacrifice of the elder Captain Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek film, albeit in a less tragic manner. Selu’s thoughts on the cumbersome cape reflect those of the author regarding impractical dress, as well as those of a character on the movie The Incredibles. Spectre’s line of “Say we went out with a bang” is a reference to a similar line spoken by Sgt. Avery Johnson in Halo 3. Sarth’s voice-activated cryoban grenade is a reference to a similar trick employed with a sonic grenade in Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code.
The Battle of Yanibar included use of the traditional four elements of earth, fire, water, and air by the Yanibar Guard. The storm invoked air, the mudslide and rockslide, along with the flood, used earth and water, while the orbital bombardment was representative of fire. The use of weather control was a weapon was a concept borrowed from the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, where players can summon a lightning storm. Spectre’s alias, “Matrik Tenzor” is derived from the mathematical terms “matrix” and “tensor.” Milya’s duel with Silri on Coruscant with the chorus in the background is an intentionally ironic reference to the epic nature of movie soundtracks during climatic duels.
The Torgutan dancer Seshaak and particularly her death was an homage to similar character present in an early draft of a fan-novel by Jedi Master 76 called Knights of Alderaan. Her name is a mishmash of several other Togrutan names, including Ahsoka and Shaak Ti. Revan’s mention of a Master Tor’Chal is a reference to the fan-created character Tor’Chal in Jedi Master 76’s Knights of the Old Republic: Convict’s Dawn.
The character of Taelros Bac was created as part of an homage to the Alternative Star Wars Saga, a fanon project that includes a family with the surname Bac. A leading member of that project, Brandon Rhea, gave permission for use of the surname and provided the first name for Taelros. The character was inspired by the depiction of George Lucas in George Lucas In Love as well as caricatures of ASWS characters and Brandon Rhea. Taelros Bac’s line of “For these sorts of things, interpretation is key” is a reference to a quote from the alternate universe fan-novel Star Wars Episode I: The Chosen One.
The name of the Cresh Squad medic, Jabri, was drawn from the username of a theforce.net user, Gabri_Jade. Guardian thus more than any other work references other fan-authors. Three individuals and/or their work are referenced: Brandon Rhea, Jedi Master 76, and Gabri Jade.
Recognition and reception
Force Exile IV: Guardian currently has no awards or featured work status.
The cover for Force Exile IV features, from left to right and top to bottom, Sarth Kraen, Tyber Zann, Selusda Kraen, Morgedh clan Kel'nerh, and Rhiannon Kraen. Using images provided by the author, the cover was created by Solus and laid out similarly to the covers for the other Force Exile novels.
This work aims to not conflict with canon, as established by Lucasfilm, Ltd. As with all Force Exile works, all terms copyrighted by Lucasfilm, Ltd. are their sole intellectual property, and the author does not seek to infringe on those copyrights. All comments should be left on the author's talk page or on the novel's talk page. Also, edits to the novel should be confined to spelling and grammar corrections. This work contains sci-fi action violence, mild profanity, some implied sexuality, and scenes that may not be appropriate for children. User discretion is advised.
Special thanks to Brandon Rhea for providing certain elements of Guardian by allowing the author to borrow from the Alternative Star Wars Saga, of which Rhea is a founding member, as well as contributing the first name for Taelros Bac.
Notes and references
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