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(Star Wars) Treason by Timothy Zahn Read Online (FREE)

(Star Wars) Treason by Timothy Zahn Read Online

Read Treason (Star Wars: Thrawn, #3) by Timothy Zahn

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….



The Imperial Star Destroyer floated lazily over the blue-green planet below it, a hint of those colors reflected faintly against its hull in the shadows created by the distant sun. The warship reached the end of its patrol sweep and, apparently satisfied that there was nothing amiss in the vicinity, angled away toward deep space. It continued its leisurely course until it reached the edge of the planet’s gravity well, then in a flurry of flashlines made the jump to lightspeed.

Seated in her command chair on the bridge of the Chiss Defense Fleet warship Steadfast, wrapped in darkness alleviated only by the stars outside and the handful of indicator lights still active, Admiral Ar’alani scowled. The accidental interloper was finally gone. The crucial question now was whether the Steadfast’s forced descent into full dark mode had given their quarry the time and distance it needed to escape. “Mid Commander Tanik?” she prompted quietly.

“A moment, Admiral,” Tanik said softly. There was no real need for quiet—their quarry could hardly hear them across a thousand kilometers of vacuum—but Ar’alani had long noted that dark mode tended to have a silencing effect on a ship’s crew. “Searching along the last known vector.”

“Assuming they didn’t take the opportunity to alter it,” Senior Captain Khresh growled from his position beside Ar’alani’s chair. “Imperial fools. The exact worst time, the exact worst place—”

“Patience, Senior Captain,” Ar’alani admonished, gazing out at the starfield wrapped around the bridge viewports. She was just as frustrated as Khresh by the Star Destroyer’s unexpected and oblivious interference with their mission, but that wasn’t a reason to abandon his dignity and self-control.

She looked back at the sensor board. Especially not with Tanik sitting right there within earshot.

Sure enough, the sensor officer had a small smile on his face as he worked to relocate the Steadfast’s target. No doubt the tale of Khresh’s small outburst, mild though it might be, would wend its way back to the Ascendancy and there be thrown on the growing fire between their two families.

Unfortunately, Khresh also spotted Tanik’s smile. “Is something amusing you, Mid Commander?” he demanded.

“No, Senior Captain, nothing at all,” Tanik assured him calmly.

“Have you found the target? If not, I suggest you put thoughts of entertainment out of your mind and concentrate on the task at hand.”

“Yes, sir.” Tanik straightened in his chair. “Oh, wait, sir,” he said with exaggerated brightness. “I stand corrected. Admiral, we have them.”

“On the board,” Ar’alani ordered.

“There,” Khresh said, pointing at the glowing circle on the tactical board that marked the drive emissions. “Looks like they’re maintaining their original heading.”

“Ship’s uncloaking, Admiral,” Tanik said. “Still too far away for any configuration analysis.” He shook his head. “I have to give them full marks for confidence.”

“Confidence bordering on arrogance,” Ar’alani agreed. The target ship had naturally activated its cloaking field the moment the Star Destroyer popped into the system, hiding itself from the potential enemy. But from its current position, it was clear that, instead of shutting down its drive and playing dead the way the Steadfast had, it had continued to track along its course, fully expecting that the Imperial ship wouldn’t notice the telltales.