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Chapter 1: Five Years Later
- Private Will Helms' introduction sets up the basics about the character. He introduces himself to Zolph by pointing that Zolph killed him five years back in the prologue. Only to be killed again seconds later by combination of being sucked into space and then being vaporized by the Conqueror's plasma cannon in the firing cycle, all because of shoddy safety regulations. And his reaction suggests this isn't even the first time he's died this way.
- After Zolph cuts off Admiral Gravlek's limbs and triggers a Dead Man Switch that blows up the Conqueror's engines and sends the ship on a collision course with Acropolis Station, Zolph not only reacts with utter bafflement at the idea of the engines seemingly blowing up at random and vital-triggered bombs, but also questions the physics of how an engine explosion would propel the ship towards Ithor's gravity well... before remembering that the laws of physics in his universe aren't always consistent.
- While escaping the Conqueror, as Zolph steals a Valkoran Firaxa fighter, he carries over the earlier nod to the laws of physics by praying that it doesn't break just to screw him over (a light-hearted jab to the changing incline physics of the Invisible Hand falling towards Coruscant despite having artificial gravity).
Zolph Vaelor: "Come on, physics, don't fail me now."
- This chapter establishes that Private Helms' own colleagues are aware of his inability to stay dead to the point of abusing it. Here, they keep sending Helms as bait for the various ancient but functional deathtraps in the Rakata ruins so other Valkoran troops won't be killed by them. When he gets sent into a trap that unexpectedly has a sarlacc underneath it, instead of being digested alive for the next thousand years (and thus preventing him from resurrecting), the sarlacc just vomits him into the ceiling at high-velocity.
- Upon landing on Sleheyron, Zolph attempts to get into Girdretto's estate gradually get more and more over-the-top. When Girdretto refuses to let him in, he tries to Mind Trick his way in, only to be reminded that Girdretto is a Toydarian. After destroying his droids, Zolph tries to cut down with his lightsaber, only to have it bounce off because of a lightsaber-resistant coating. Then Zolph tries to blow the door up with a bomb, only to be told that door would survive the explosion, but he and the landing pad would be destroyed.
- It turns out that interrogating Girdretto was completely unnecessary, as Grein knows more about Terraris than he does. And she told Zolph this was unnecessary. So Zolph went through an Absurdly Spacious Sewer for no reason. But on a darker note, this keeps them there long enough to witness the Forceless invasion of Sleheyron.
- This was a very dark chapter, but it wasn't completely devoid of humor. Particularly Grein's idea of home security: There is no access terminal for the door on the outside of the house. Completely insane from the viewpoint of any other person, but for someone who can liquefy themselves and crawl through the cracks, it's very practical.
- After witnessing Grein's ability to liquefy herself and any possessions on her, Zolph asks if her clothing is actually made of water and she's technically naked. Grein simply responds with a rhetorical question about how her lightsaber liquefied.
- Upon seeing the Blazing Manta, we finally get some context as to why Zolph gets picked on for flying ships. There was an incident during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion where he was flying an older model Corellian YT-series freighter (like the Millenium Falcon) and wrecked it because of an asymmetrically-positioned cockpit. And even worse for Zolph, the whole galaxy seems to know about it.
- After some serious exposition on what the Forceless Collective is and how the Valkoran are connected, Zolph makes an exasperated reaction to the fact that he's getting involved in yet another war with a group of weirdos.
Zolph: Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get some rest. We've still got a long way to go before reaching the Academy, and today, as well as the past five years of my life, has just been a parade of freaks.