The calm before the storm in Star Wars novels is about to come to an end. This coming May sees the release of Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen, and now we are getting our first look thanks to an excerpt from StarWars.com.
In the excerpt, we learn a little bit more about that fabled “business on Cato Neimoidia”. Early on in the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan goes there to survey the planet after an incident. During the mission, he meets someone by the name of Asajj Ventress. Things remain civil as they investigate what happened, but time will tell how this first meeting between the two Clone Wars legends falls out and becomes the heated dynamic we’ve come to know and love.
Here is a piece of the excerpt:
“This is interesting,” the woman said. She stood up, her cloak flowing back down to rest, and she presented the device in front of the gathered Neimoidians. “I’ve never seen such elaborate plating on a scanning device.”
“It was custom. A gift from a friend. Consider it,” Obi-Wan said, “a bit of a lucky charm.”
She tapped a finger against the underside where the alloy case attached before coming back to Obi-Wan, holding it up as they met face-to-face. “It’s very pretty. I didn’t know Jedi cared for such flamboyant things.”
“A sentimental Jedi.” The woman smiled, the harsh lines of her tattooed face bending in unnatural ways. “I think we’ll be friends.”
“Perhaps you can have it when I’m done with my investigation.”
“It would be a lovely accessory. And look, it’s even my color.” She put the device back into the crate, then clamped the lid shut. “The Jedi is clean,” she announced, her long cloak whipping out to reveal a hint of a skirt underneath as she turned on her heel.
“Come, emissary,” said Minister Eyam. “We will send your belongings to your quarters. This shuttle” — he gestured to a small transport craft on a connected smaller platform, one likely used for city-to-city vehicles—“will take us to the disaster area.”
They walked in silence, though Obi-Wan noticed the mystery woman matched his exact pace stride for stride. “I’m sorry,” Obi-Wan said, “I didn’t catch your name.”
“Ventress,” she said. “Asajj Ventress. A pleasure to finally meet a Jedi. Count Dooku speaks so highly of your Order.”
They started with the formalities — a basic tour of the government offices and the most notable landmarks of Zarra: the brightly lit mix of business and artistry, from the hanging towers below the capital’s biggest stone archway to the open-air Grand Theatre of Judgment where trials and debates took place. The cityscape looked truly gilded from the air, designs and architecture unique to the culture and unlike anything else Obi-Wan had seen in his journeys across the Republic—elegant and sophisticated in ways far different than, say, Naboo, while still taking advantage of the planet’s unique natural wonders, structures jutting out in directions simply impossible elsewhere. The tour itself was short-lived, and soon they soared through the rolling fog of Cato Neimoidia, a long descent that revealed just how high up the rocky spires of this world were. Though he had watched holos showcasing the topography of the planet, none of it did justice to the overwhelming girth—no wonder they had the ability to anchor entire cities.
“It’s quite majestic, isn’t it? Have you ever seen anything like it?” Obi-Wan said, a strategic question to goad the mysterious Ventress into revealing more about herself.
“Not in person.”
“I have not either. I’ve traveled to planets with all forms of environmental oddities but nothing quite like this.”
She shook her head with a breath, then straightened up. “Let’s dispense with the pleasantries. You wish to ask me something, Kenobi?”
Her direct line of questioning caught Obi-Wan’s diplomatic sensibilities off guard. Perhaps that was by design, given her demeanor. “I’m trying to be polite.” Obi-Wan tilted forward in his seat. Around them, the Neimoidians remained silent, though he was certain they listened. “Unless you feel you have something to hide. Something,” Obi-Wan said, suddenly all of that experience strategically arguing with Anakin proving fruitful, “that makes you untrustworthy?”
Ventress’s head tilted as she bit her bottom lip, a huff of amusement coming out just enough for Obi-Wan to hear. In fact, the other passengers may have missed it. “While my Master has great respect for your Order, he also understands that it is the political tool of the Republic. If you recall”—she gave a knowing nod—“that is one of the reasons he left it.”
She referred to Dooku as “Master.” Was that an intentional representation of hierarchy within the Separatist leadership? Or a slip revealing something further?
“Because of that, he has sent me to oversee your investigation and interactions with the Neimoidians—” She sucked in a breath, holding it as if to tease him. “—to ensure that there is no evidence of corruption.” Her eyes locked with his, a menacing leer that felt as much a dare as a threat.
Fortunately, Obi-Wan had dealt with worse. He did, after all, see Anakin through some very turbulent teenage years. “Well then,” he responded with a tense calm, presenting an equally lengthy pause. Then his tone retreated, going back to the standard diplomat’s voice as if he were simply talking to another politician on Coruscant. “I look forward to working with you,” he added, putting his hand out to shake, “in good faith.”
She looked at his outstretched hand, then back up to read his face. He responded in kind with a polite smile and waited without any movement, like an AI holo awaiting input before animating its canned response. “Likewise,” she finally said, taking his hand.
If you’re in the mood for more book content, we recently got a first look at Shadow of the Sith. You can check that out here.
Star Wars: Brotherhood is releases on May 10th and is available for pre-order now.