New Excerpt Released for ‘Star Wars: Victory’s Price’, Final Book in the ‘Alphabet Squadron’ Trilogy
The road to the final book in Alexander Freed’s Alphabet Squadron trilogy of books is almost coming to an end, and the promotion for it is ramping up. Star Wars: Victory’s Price released a small excerpt a couple of weeks ago, and now, a new one is here. Released by io9 yesterday, the text is available both in audio form and in plain text.
The book will pick up right after the events of last year’s Star Wars: Shadow Fall, bringing the story started two years ago to an epic conclusion. The plot of the first novel followed a group of five pilots, each flying a different class of starfighter, shortly after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and before the Battle of Jakku (the final battle in the war between the Rebellion and the Empire). The team was assembled by the beloved General Hera Syndulla, from the animated show Star Wars: Rebels, who is also featured in this brand-new excerpt for the book.
Check it out here (or the audio form, here):
“This is Colonel Soran Keize of the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing and the carrier Yadeez. In response to the Yomo Council’s treasonous actions—its defiance of Grand Admiral Sloane’s order to direct assets to the D’Aelgoth sector, its refusal to acknowledge the Empire’s rightful regent on Coruscant, and its alliance with the Shiortuun Syndicate, among others—we have been sent to bring retribution to your world.”
The speaker’s dark hair framed an angular, thin-lipped face, and his voice had the timbre of a coroner reciting an autopsy report. Hera Syndulla barely watched him. She’d seen the holorecording three times already, and what mattered was how the rest of the room reacted to its horrors.
Seated around the dark conference table were Wyl Lark, Kairos, Chass na Chadic, and Nath Tensent—the remaining members of what Caern Adan had called the New Republic Intelligence working group on the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing. Each was silent, face lit by the holo’s blue glow. Hera peered at them as if the intensity would allow her to penetrate their skulls—to understand why Wyl and Nath sat so far apart; why Chass na Chadic clenched her jaw so tight while staring blankly into space; why Kairos’s outstretched hand twitched, as if she were a blind woman tracing the contours of Keize’s face.
She didn’t doubt they were disturbed, but she needed to know whether they were ready.
The recording pronounced its final threat and the holo flashed out of existence. The lights of the Deliverance
’s conference room rose. The pilots shifted and straightened, and Hera broke the silence. “That recording is now three days old,” she said. “It was repeating on a channel we accessed through that Imperial convoy we found—like someone left it as a warning. We haven’t received word on the status of Fedovoi End, but we can only assume Shadow Wing has come and gone.”
She went on, suppressing the outrage she felt and keeping her voice level. “At last count, Fedovoi End housed half a million troops and their families. It was primarily a military outpost, it’s true—but we haven’t seen slaughter of this sort since Operation Cinder.”
Nath grunted, as if none of it surprised him. Kairos flattened both hands a centimeter above the tabletop.
“The Empire is eating its own,” Chass said.
“Yes,” Hera agreed. “The loyalists have gone to war with the breakaway factions—civilians caught in the crossfire be damned.”
“Soran Keize,” Wyl said. “We’ve heard that name before.”
He wasn’t grieving. He was focused. Good, she thought. I know it’s hard.
“We have,” Hera began, but Nath raised a finger and she prompted him with a nod.
“Intelligence sent over the files about an hour ago,” Nath said. “Soran Keize, Colonel Shakara Nuress’s second-in-command. Ace pilot, been in the game close to twenty years, trained most of the Shadow Wing lifers. Last we’d heard he was Major Keize, but . . .”
“. . . but we also thought he was dead,” Wyl finished.
Nath grunted again. “That’s what Quell told us. Back at Pandem Nai he definitely wasn’t around—taking out Nuress really did leave the unit headless. What we didn’t know was that Adan had a lead suggesting Keize was alive and elsewhere.”
Suggesting Yrica Quell lied about her mentor, the same way she lied about participating in Operation Cinder. The thought came to Hera with a pang of frustration and resentment, along with the weight of grief. Whatever Yrica Quell’s failings—and they had been many—she had been Hera’s charge, and Quell’s involvement in the genocide of Nacronis had been revealed only hours before her death. Hera didn’t know what she’d have done if she’d been on the scene—whether she’d have embraced the woman, imprisoned her for her crimes, or both.
And if that’s what you’re thinking, imagine how the others feel.
“Adan knew?” Kairos asked, barely loud enough to hear.
“He had people looking into Quell’s background,” Nath said, “and they stumbled onto Keize. Apparently, he left Shadow Wing after Nacronis, around the same time Quell did. They traced him to a mud heap of a world called Vernid, I think. He’d changed his name, took up work on a dig-rig . . . we never figured out what he was up to. When Intelligence caught up with him, he killed a pair of agents and disappeared.”
Nath shifted his bulk, folding his arms across his chest. “We don’t know when he rejoined Shadow Wing, but Nasha Gravas and her people have been sifting through evidence from Troithe. Street cam footage, bio traces, anything from when Shadow Wing was grounded. Put it all together and it’s pretty clear Keize was in charge at least that far back.”
Chass arched her brow. “So we can blame Keize for everything that happened? Blowing up the Lodestar, shooting my ship?”
“Seems like,” Nath agreed.
“So we can also blame Adan for leaving us in the dark? About Keize? About Quell?” Chass’s eyes glinted. “Or maybe we just blame Quell for not mentioning that her mass-murdering boss was still around?”
“Chass—” Hera began. Scolding the woman would only make tempers flare, but she didn’t like the direction the briefing was headed.
Wyl cut in. “On Vernid, could he have deserted? Was Keize trying to go straight?”
Chass laughed. “He sure isn’t now.”
“Suppose it’s possible,” Nath said, “but I agree with Chass. Vernid was a while ago, and at the moment—” He waved a hand, as if to sum up the holo’s message.
The conversation dissolved into chaos. Nath leaned back in his seat and speculated about Keize’s connections to the main Imperial fleet. Chass sneered about Quell’s secrets and those of New Republic Intelligence. Wyl asked how Keize’s presence might change the 204th’s tactics even as he surreptitiously pulled up data on Fedovoi End and its population centers.
“It’s happening again,” Kairos said, and no one seemed to hear but Hera. Nath and Chass kept talking.
“It’s happening again,” Kairos repeated, this time in a hoarse shout.
The others fell silent.
Hera nodded slowly. “They’re killing worlds again. Yes.”
Star Wars: Victory’s Price is being released on March 2, 2021. You can already pre-order it here.
Miguel Fernández is a Spanish student that has movies as his second passion in life. His favorite movie of all time is The Lord of the Rings, but he is also a huge Star Wars fan. However, fantasy movies are not his only cup of tea, as movies from Scorsese, Fincher, Kubrick or Hitchcock have been an obsession for him since he started to understand the language of filmmaking. He is that guy who will watch a black and white movie, just because it is in black and white.