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.
The crew of the cruiser-carrier Aayla Secura assemble one last time for its final voyage in 35 ABY. Many of them have been with the ship for years on end and their devoted service spans decades of time in the Yanibar Guard. But now, they must face the end of the ship's service and draw on the lessons that it has taught them. Only then can they accept what that fate will mean for each of them.
“Still here, Captain?” a voice called from across the bridge. The captain, an aged Zelosian whose once-bright emerald eyes were now rheumy and clouded, turned at the sound. He was wearing his Yanibar Guard Fleet dress uniform and the carefully-pressed fabric rustled with the motion as he swiveled to face the new arrival.
“Commander Darik,” the Zelosian returned in greeting. “I might ask you the same question.”
The stocky Human female, also in a Yanibar Guard Fleet dress uniform, strode across the bridge to stand beside the captain, who was content to gaze at his surroundings. It was a strange sight for them both. Normally, the bridge of the Niman-class cruiser-carrier was crowded with a dozen crewmembers and humming with activity. The room would have been filled with ceaseless racket emanating from the myriad computers, displays, and bridge officers. Displays and holograms would have flickered and alternated as they received and processed information, splashing a kaleidoscope of color onto the otherwise stark white fluorescent lighting of the overhead glowpanels washing down over the steel gray walls. Now, however, the bridge was bereft of activity. The consoles were inactive and only the two officers stood in the chamber.
“Feels so empty in here, sir,” Darik noted. “Did you hear that echo?”
“Indeed,” the captain agreed, his own rasping voice a hushed murmur. “I never thought I’d see her like this.”
- Commander Alana Darik, Yanibar Guard Fleet
- Chief Crewmember Asdux Evins, Yanibar Guard Fleet
- Senior Crewmember Salyeh Gau, Yanibar Guard Fleet
- Aertijn Tamble, farmer
- Commander Nyla Tenelly, Yanibar Guard Fleet
- Captain Destra Starkellos Zel, Yanibar Guard Fleet
- Located at The Final Voyage
In 35 ABY, the Yanibar Guard Fleet decides to decommission the Niman-class cruiser-carrier Aayla Secura. As it is towed to the shipyard for decommissioning and salvaging, a handful of its officers gather on the ship one last time, to reminisce about their experiences on the ship and relive the memories formed there. Commander Alana Darik, a starfighter coordinator, recalls how the Aayla Secura saved her life during the Battle of Rishi in the Yuuzhan Vong War, defending her starfighter from hostile forces and saving her from dying alone in space. After the battle, she decided to join the crew in honor of the ship that had been her salvation. Senior Crewmember Salyeh Gau, a gunner by training, recalls a confrontation between the Aayla Secura and a New Republic warship that nearly turned into a shooting conflict and how it taught her the necessity of trusting in her ship and shipmates as family. Commander Tenelly, a medical officer, relived the catastrophic collision between the cruiser-carrier and a comet that had caused devastating casualties. In that time of crisis, the captain's drastic orders to preserve the ship had clashed with her own set of ethics and medical training. Ultimately, the captain's measures had paid off and she had learned that the ship and fleet were paramount—but that her own judgment was also important to contribute to the decision-making calculus.
As they move through the ship, the officers and crewmembers hear from Chief Crewmember Evins, an engineer, as he points out the location in the ship where he was nearly killed during the Battle of Yanibar. While he had survived, his partner hadn't, and the memory had solidified the Aayla Secura as a place of sacrifice in his memory. Before they can leave, they are confronted by an ex-Yanibar Guard Marine, Aertijn Tamble, who was dismissed from the service after a skirmish on a distant world led to his insubordination and pursuing of a personal agenda over that of the Yanibar Guard. However, Tamble has made a new life for him and has returned to the Secura to honor the ship that was a place of such drastic transition for him. Finally, after Tamble has left, the party of crewmembers moves to the ship's memorial room, a shrine to honor the fallen and its Jedi namesake. There, Captain Destra Starkellos Zel reveals a story of risking his own life to save that of a Balosar girl named Zisa during a relief effort. That effort, and the ship he had commanded for decades, serve as a reminder that both he and the Aayla Secura are bearers of the noble ideals of the Yanibar Guard. To honor those ideals and the ship that carried them into the galaxy for thirty-eight years, the assembled crewmembers partake in a toast to honor its memory on its final voyage.
Behind the scenes
The Final Voyage was released in May 2012 as the seventeenth entry in the Yanibar Tales. At approximately 17,700 words long, it is above median length for the Yanibar Tales. The Final Voyage is one of several Yanibar Tales to be set after the original trilogy and the first to be set in the Legacy era. As it was released on the fifth anniversary of the Force Exile Series, Atarumaster88 chose to pattern it after a typical 100th episode for a television series, using a series of reflections and recollections tied together thematically.
The story behind The Final Voyage was originally conceived to center on the reminiscing of a starfighter pilot who had been in command of Paladin Squadron (featured in Force Exile V: Warrior and Rogues and Paladins) for many years. As the Force Exile Series evolved, author Atarumaster88 had decided to write a story about the crewmembers of a particular ship in the Yanibar Guard Fleet since he had already written about its starfighter pilots. To facilitate this, he injected the mention of the captain, Destra Starkellos Zel, into Force Exile IV: Guardian and planned to revisit the captain's character later in what became The Final Voyage.
In writing the story, Atarumaster88 drew heavily from themes and dynamics seen in the Star Trek and Stargate franchises, where teams of individuals with different specialties had to work together to overcome a variety of obstacles and challenges. Common science fiction career specialties were also used, including captain, pilot, weapons officer, engineer, and medical officer. An important area of focus was to not have all the recollections tell of combat experiences in order to emphasize the other aspects of Yanibar Guard Fleet service. While the original draft for the story had only five characters present, Atarumaster88 added the story arc of Aertijn Tamble to serve as a juxtaposition with the personality and priorities of Captain Zel as well as provide an alternate viewpoint on the Yanibar Guard. When writing this particular anecdote, the author had to curtail Tamble's dialogue to avoid the appearance of commentary on real-world geopolitical realities.
As is common in Force Exile stories, Atarumaster88 used a number of references to both canonical works and other media. The "shield trios" mentioned in Darik's tale featured heavily in the New Jedi Order series. The repeated uttering of "Stand by" is a nod to the closing sequences of A New Hope. Captain Zel's reflections on the necessity of sending people to their deaths are also paralleled in the thoughts of Wedge Antilles in novels such as X-wing: Solo Command. Colonel Phivenyne's name is a reference to other "numerical" names used in canon, such as Obi-Wan.
Outside of canon, as mentioned, the Star Trek universe played a major role in influencing the characters, roles, and some scenarios in the story. The captain's dialogue in his anecdote about a device that transforms matter to energy and transports it and a hypothetical regulation forbidding a captain from risky missions on alien planets are direct references to the Star Trek universe. Captain Destra Starkellos Zel was patterned off of Wedge Antilles, but also Star Trek captains James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard. Captain Zel's line about the good of the many is a direct reference to a similar statement by Spock. Chief Evins had some amount of Montgomery Scott reflected in his character. In contrast, Aertijn Tamble's character and the scenario he described were more influenced by the Halo series as well as real-world special forces operations. The role of various navies, such as the United States Navy, in providing relief to disaster areas was also an important aspect that Atarumaster88 felt needed to be paralleled in the Star Wars universe. The mention of a "force for good" pays homage to the USN's motto of "A global force for good."
Recognition and reception
The Final Voyage currently has no awards or featured work status.
Notes and references
|Force Exile Series|