SW Insider #66
Elusion Illusion: A Tale Of The Clone Wars
by Michael A. Stackpole
Published by Paizo Publishing
Scott's Rating: 3.5 out of 4
This short story was published in the Star Wars Insider magazine. It takes place seven days after the Battle of Geonosis. It is a "Tale of the Clone Wars".
Mace Windu sends Aalya Secura and Jedi Knight Ylenic It'kla, a Caamasi, to the planet Corellia. Garm bel Iblis has declared the planet neutral in the Clone Wars so it has become a haven for many refugees. Their mission is to smuggle refugee Ratri Tane off of the planet. Tane stole plans for valuable circuitry from the Techno Union and the Jedi want it for the Republic.
To handle the situation quietly, Secura and Ylenic pose as traders. However, keeping a low profile is easier said than done. They eventually have run-ins with Separatist agents of Dooku, CorSec officer Rostek Horn, and local Jedi Master Nejaa Halcyon. But who can Aalya Secura trust when even her fellow Jedi hide the truth from her?
It's a great treat to see Michael A. Stackpole writing Star Wars stories again, and a Clone Wars one to boot. I enjoyed his X-Wing series and I, Jedi, so I thought it was a really good move to bring him back for this short story. Appropriately enough, he also writes characters that have a history from his original stories. Rostek Horn and Jedi Master Nejaa Halcyon both have roles in this tale. As you may remember, they are tied Corran Horn, hero of the New Jedi Order series. It's cool to see Stackpole tie together characters from Episode II, the Dark Horse Comics, and the Expanded Universe novels. It all comes together to make a great story.
Stackpole is able to pack a lot into one short story. He discusses the seeming conflict of interest of a pacifist Caamasi being a Jedi Knight. He describes Aalya's self-doubt and bad memories from the Battle of Geonosis. He even manages to throw in a healthy dose of action amid everything else. Altogether it's a good story that should satisfy fans of the Expanded Universe.
I really hope all these short stories from the Insider are collected into some sort of paperback collection. I should also mention that the art by Jan Duursema looks great.
My only gripe about this short story is that everyone seems to be in on what's going on except for Aalya Secura. When they finally reveal what's going on, their attitudes come across as rather pompous. "Elementary, my dear Secura!"
Same as last issue: You have to wade through the rest of the otherwise unentertaining Insider to get this story.