An excerpt from the upcoming Alphabet Squadron book sequel Star Wars: Shadow Fall has been released.
The excerpt shows a conversation between pilots Nath and Chass while they wait for a battle to begin. The pair outline their predictions for the battle over a game of sabacc and discuss Shadow Wing for a bit. There’s even a brief cameo from General Syndulla herself, who also appeared in the original Alphabet Squadron novel.
“Bombers in position?”
“Waiting for the fun to start,” Nath Tensent said into his comm, though it struck him as he said it that this was the least fun he’d had in weeks. He called out his coordinates to the Lodestar, leaning back as the Y-wing rumbled around him. “How about you, Chass?”
“You know I’m in position. You can see me floating to starboard,” she answered. “I’m the speck that doesn’t handle well in wind.”
Nath’s display blinked and he read T5’s commentary. His astromech droid had a foul imagination. He grinned and refrained from sharing the message for the sake of the flight control officer. “Just let us know when you’ve got work for us. We’ll keep our eyes on the shield,” he said, and ceased transmitting to the ground.
By now, Wyl and Quell were streaking toward the capital, low enough to slip below the energy shield and make for the generators. Until the shield was down, though, there wasn’t much for Nath or Chass or Hail Squadron to do—their assault craft didn’t have the speed or agility to follow the A-wing and X-wing, and the enemy wasn’t stupid enough to send forces out from cover.
So they waited.
“You picking your songs?” Nath asked.
He heard the petulance in Chass’s voice: “How long do you think it takes me?”
“So you’re not busy, then? I’ve got a pack of cards—”
“You got a week’s pay to bet?”
“Sure,” Nath repeated.
His week’s pay wasn’t the same as Chass’s, but she didn’t need to know that. Caern Adan was still lining Nath’s pockets, as he had been since the founding of the working group.
Originally, Adan had treated Nath as his personal agent, offering regular deposits of credits in return for the occasional side job. Now that Adan had a whole division working for him, both men understood the new deal without speaking openly of it: Adan’s payments were meant to keep Nath silent as much as keep him on the squadron.
Nath had learned things about Yrica Quell that Adan was choosing to keep quiet. Nath was fine with that. He could use the extra cash.
Nath pulled a deck from under his seat. He and Chass played a slow, awkward hand of full open sabacc, occasionally pausing when someone announced progress on the ground. “What do you say about a side wager?” he asked. “Suppose the governor’s got a surprise waiting for us down there?”
Chass laughed loud enough for the cockpit speaker to crackle. “‘Course he does. No bet.”
Nath shrugged and scratched beneath his helmet’s chin strap. Chass wasn’t the brightest member of the squadron, but she wasn’t an idiot. “What’s your prediction? For the whole battle?”
“My prediction is that Wyl and Quell fly into a firestorm. They scrape by, take out the shield generators anyway, and by the time we get down there it’s all easy flying. Still a meatgrinder for the ground troops, obviously.”
“Obviously.” Nath liked the troops of the Sixty-First, but he’d learned before ever joining the military that infantry didn’t survive long. It was why he’d picked the navy instead of the army. “Guess in a few hours, the planet will be ours. Maybe Quell or Adan will share their plans for us, then.”
He noticed the uncertainty in her silence even before her awkward reply. “Right.”
Now that’s interesting.
“You figure they’ll keep holding back?” he asked. It wasn’t a question he especially cared about, but it was a probe fired off into the night.
“Probably,” Chass said.
Nath turned the conversation over in his head and grinned. “You don’t want to see Shadow Wing again, do you?”
For the full excerpt, head on over to starwars.com.
Star Wars: Shadow Fall is due to arrive on June 23, 2020.