Dark Disciple

Quinlan Voss Jedi Master,  skilled at espionage, teams up with Asajj Ventress, Dark Assassin, in order to carry out the Jedi Councils most controversial mission ever.  Can two enemies find common ground in order to forge an alliance?

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The Clone Wars have been raging for three bloody years.  Countless planets have been ravaged in the conflict.  Count Dooku’s droid army has struck another blow against the Galactic Republic, on the planet of Mahranee, and to further drive home his victory he gives the order for all of the inhabitants to be killed.  

Upon receiving news of this, the Jedi Council is thrown into turmoil.  They desire a quick end to the war and Master Mace Windu has a controversial suggestion.  Since the war and all it’s conspiracies are tied together in one person Windu suggests a direct approach.  He believes the Separatists will turn on each other after that is done.

Yoda voices Windu’s plan more clearly.  Assassination.  Obi-Wan Kenobi immediately objects, but after consideration they decide to proceed with the plan.  Quinlan Vos (aka Tal Khar) is selected because he has spent many years infiltrating criminal organizations in order to bring them down.  

This decided, Obi-Wan makes his own controversial suggestion.  Quinlan should seek out someone with experience dealing with Dooku and a desire to eliminate him.  Asajj Ventress!  Kenobi informs Quinlan that he will have to convince her to go after Dooku without revealing that he is a Jedi.

Master Vos finds Ventress on the moon of Pantera, tracking a bounty and creating an opportunity to make contact.  Posing as a hunter Quinlan is able to convince Ventress to work with him because he knows how to find the target.  She reluctantly agrees.

Quinlan is able to find the man through his unusual force power, psychometry.  He leads Ventress to the target and they are able to capture him.  They take the bounty to her ship and Vos is able to convince Ventress to let him be her partner.  After working together on several jobs they develop a great deal of respect for each other.

Having become an effective team they are put to a test when they take a job to rescue the family of a Pyke Crime Lord.  The family is held on the planet of Mustafar by the Black Sun Crime Syndicate.  They are able to rescue the children by sneaking in,  but are discovered before they are able to find the mother.  They return again posing as envoys of the Pyke to negotiate terms.  When they see that the mother is alive they rescue her and escape.

They return the family, but while they are flying out, a Black Sun strike force approaches to attack the Pyke Compound.  Seeing the inevitable destruction of the innocent children and mother effects Vos deeply.  It is now that he reveals himself to Ventress as a Jedi,  and she claims to have already known.  Quinlan then explains the Jedi Order’s plan to assassinate Count Dooku.

Ventress agrees to help him, but explains that he will have to leave behind almost everything that makes him a Jedi to do so. Quinlan says he is willing to do whatever it takes to stop Dooku and put an end to the war.  Ventress agrees to help him, but is reluctant due to her burgeoning feelings towards Quinlan.

They travel to Dathomir, Ventress’ home planet, to begin Vos’ training.   During this time their feelings for each other grow from respect to passion.  They embrace each other as Vos’ works to develop his connection to the dark side.  His training culminates in a trial where he must summon an ancient creature, The Sleeper, from the depths of the pool of life.  He must use the force to dominate it’s mind and make it submit to his will.  Then he must kill it.

One of Ventress contacts informs them of an upcoming event that Dooku will attend.  Ventress’ contact gets them the needed invite to the gala event.  While they watch Dooku speak they see General Grievous in attendance and come up with a plan to neutralize the droid general.

Ventress approaches Dooku in the middle of the party to challenge him to a duel and Quinlan slips away to find Grievous. They know Grievous will be contacted by Dooku as soon as Ventress left the Count’s side. Vos is able to intercept and trap Grievous.

Ventress and Dooku begin the duel, but Vos joins the fight almost immediately.  They battle back and forth,  but take to long.  Dooku is able to knock Ventress out for a moment and Grievous joins the fight.  The two are separated in the fight and Dooku captures Vos.  Ventress, seeing that their is no way for her to save him, escapes the planet.

Devastated that her lover’s been captured by the man she despises most, she hatches a plan to rescue him with the assistance of Boba Fett and his team of bounty hunters; Bossk, Embo, Highsinger, and Latts Razzi.  They plan to attack a supply shipment when it lands at Dooku’s stronghold in order to create a distraction while Ventress goes after Vos.  The plan turns disastrous as soon as she finds Vos kneeling in his cell with the lightsaber of his former master, Tholme, which Ventress had delivered to Dooku.  

Vos attacks her with the full power of the dark side.  He is consumed with hatred and Ventress is barely able to escape.  As Ventress and Boba Fett’s team are fighting to leave she see’s Dooku with Vos standing at his side.  She has lost the man she loves to the man she most hates.

With nothing left to do she travels to Coruscant to meet Obi-Wan in Vos’ place.  Obi wan is surprised, but listens to her story and believes her.  He takes her to the Jedi Council, who decide to attempt to capture Vos.  Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are to work with Ventress to assault the ship that Vos is commanding.  Boarding the ship, they find Quinlan in the Brig instead of on the bridge. They get away with him, but Ventress is convinced that he is still consumed by the darkside.

Vos is accepted back into the Jedi and Ventress goes her way.  Vos performs his tasks as he should but without his previous jolly attitude.  After a few missions Vos is given a little more freedom.  Once he is free he meets up with Ventress.  He tells her that he has a few more things to do to help defeat Dooku but then he is done and he wants to be with her.

Yoda is able to determine through the force that Vos is still consumed by the dark side even though he is concealing it.  The council decides that execution may be the only option but Kenobi proposes that they test Vos.  They decide that by assigning him the task of assassinating Dooku again, he might be redeemed back to the light.

With this task, Vos recruits Ventress to help him again.  With the Council’s approval and latest intel, they board the Banshee for the planet Christophsis.  In orbit, they find Dooku’s fleet engaged in battle with the republic.  Vos had Ventress edge her ship just far enough into the hanger for him to jump out.  After Ventress pulls her ship away a captured Separatist ship carrying Kenobi and Skywalker sets down.

Skywalker has use of a droid he is controlling remotely and asks where Dooku is. They sneak into Dooku’s observation room to see how things play out with Vos.  When Vos arrives he pulls his lightsaber back to himself and attacks Dooku.  Quinlan is able to defeat the count, and tries to get Dooku to reveal who his master is.  Dooku suggests they partner in order to eliminate his master.  Vos agrees, but Kenobi and Skywalker leap out of hiding and capture them both.

When they make it to a republic ship. Obi Wan leaves the prisoners with two Jedi Knights and some troops while he argues against the execution of his prisoners.  Dooku and Vos break free, kill the Jedi, and escape.  Vos calls Ventress to rescue them but she is furious when she sees that Dooku is with him.  

They are shot down and crash land on Christophsis and begin to make their way to one of Dooku’s bases.  They contact Sidious who sends a separatist ship to get them, but before it does, republic forces lead by Kenobi and Skywalker arrive. They retreat to a small bunker while waiting for their ship.

Vos reveals to Ventress that he has been playing Dooku to get near his master, Sidious.  Ventress tells him he is making a mistake and that he is still consumed by the dark side.  He will be destroyed by it and she can’t let that happen.  Dooku overhears this and tries to use force lightning on Vos,  Assajj Ventress dives in front of the vicious attack and saves his life at the cost of her own.

Vos knocks Dooku out and let’s the Jedi in.  He then hold Ventress as she dies.  While the Jedi watch Quinlan’s return to the light before their eyes.  Dooku comes to and slips out to the separatist forces and escapes. Vos is grief stricken but the dark sides hold on him is broken.  He takes Ventress back to Dathomir and lays her to rest with her family, the Night Sisters.  Letting go of his attachment to her he returns to the Jedi order.

Other Characters, Places, Creatures, and items of note:

Hookah is canonized in this novel!
Jedi General Chubor
Plo Koon – Kel Dor
Saesee Tiin – Iktotchi
Shaak Ti – Togruta
Kit Fisto
Oppo Rancisis
Depa Billaba
Sheb Valaad  – Koorivar‘s horn is a Koorivar’s pride
Thurg Gamorrean
Otor’s Hub
Bounty Hunter’s Guild
Marrok – Embo’s pet Anooba
Ky Narec
Pantora – primary moon in orbit around Orto Plutonia
Pluma Sodi
Lassa Rhayme – The Blood Bone Order
Fife – Marg Krim‘s Majordomo
Moregi Volpai
Rang Clan
Oba Diah planet for the Pyke’s
Otua BlankBelugan
Lava Fleas
Tezzka KrimVram and Laalee – Pyke’s
Ziton Moj
Kurg Utal* Lieutenant for Ziton Moj first seen here

Author:  Christie Golden