"When I look at you through the Force, I can see where you break."Star Wars: Shatterpoint is a Star Wars Legends novel by Matt Stover. Mace Windu's former Padawan, and current fellow Council member, goes rogue. Mace Windu returns to his birth planet to find her. Four hundred pages of action scenes, musings on the nature of the Force, and Windu being badass. War Is Hell.Has a sequel in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, which uses several of the same characters and many of the same themes.
Shatterpoint includes examples of the following tropes:
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several scenes where Mace, Nick, and Depa are just talking, including excerpts from Mace's audio journal. And those aren't the only ones.
- An Arm and a Leg: Phloremirlla gets her left arm shot off, opening an artery. Mace is prevented from holding the wound closed; she doesn't live much longer afterwards.
- Awesome by Analysis: This is actually a specialty of fully-trained Jedi; using the insight of the Force allows them to navigate any situation and achieve an optimal outcome (be in within combat or otherwise). Mace Windu's unique gift is that he can sense what action in any given moment will achieve the optimum outcome with minimal exertion and always could. Effectively, he gets the results of Awesomeness by Analysis without having to run the numbers. Looking at a crystal that would dent a sledgehammer, for instance, he can instantly spot where a light tap would shatter it (i.e. the shatterpoint). Looking at a person, he can see weaknesses in armor or physiology or strategy, and disable or kill them. This doesn't mean a shatterpoint always exists or that tapping it will be easy, however.
- Action Girl: Chalk. Unfortunately, Vasquez Always Dies.
- Badass: Windu, of course. Lesser badasses include Depa, Nick, Kar and Chalk.
- Batman Gambit: Since Kar draws on the Force of the jungle, Mace can't pick him out from the background through the Force. Unless, of course, Mace lets Kar beat him to a pulp with his bare hands so Kar will end up with his lightsaber. And no, he didn't throw the fight. He knew he wouldn't win.
- Blood Knight: Amazingly, Mace Windu. He actually loves to fight, and maintaining a Jedi's serenity instead of simply kicking the asses of everyone involved in the problem he has to solve is a great deal of effort for him.
- Bulungi: Haruun Kal is, in essence, a failed state in Sub-Saharan Africa re-imagined as a planet.
- Call Forward:
- When Mace arrives at the Haruun Kal spaceport, he's wearing a white shirt, dark leather vest and boots, the latter with dark pants tucked into them, and he's carrying a Power 6 pistol. A knock-off of the one Han Solo uses. Or will use.
- At one point, Mace has visions of the Jedi Temple ransacked and its inhabitants slaughtered. He also sees Coruscant transformed into an impossible jungle more savage than Haruun Kal. Though he doesn't know it, the audience knows he's seeing both Order 66 and the Yuuzhan Vong's capture of Coruscant.
- Captain's Log: Mace's journal.
- Cue the Sun: In the climax, as everyone is dying, and Depa gains the upper hand over Mace, dawn arrives just as Mace and Geptun are able to call off the droid starfighters holding the capital city hostage.In the skies over Pelek Baw, as the snowcap on Grandfather's Shoulder kindled with the first red rays of dawn, droid starfighters disengaged from clone-piloted ships and streaked back into the depths of space.
In the command bunker, the swirl of dark power crested, paused, and began to recede.
- Curse Cut Short: From Nick."You won, didn't you? Isn't that enough? Why do you have to be such a—"
Vastor interrupted the young Korun with a backhanded cuff that knocked him to the ground.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mace, emphasis on "deadpan"; Nick, emphasis on "snarker". They are an excellent comedy duo.Nick: What's the matter, Windu? Depa says you got a great sense of humour.
Mace: She must have been joking.
- Death World: Haruun Kal is covered in active volcanoes that spew so much toxic gas, the majority of the planet is completely uninhabitable. The native humans and all off-worlder settlements are both on the same large plateau, which is high enough above the gases to foster a complex ecosystem. Unfortunately, said complex ecosystem is so insanely, inventively aggressive that Mace theorises the native Korunnai are predisposed to Force-sensitivity because the ones who don't have that edge just don't survive.
- Defeat by Modesty: Two dirty cops attempt this on Mace and several others. Mace being Mace, this does not end well for the cops.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: When all is said and done, Mace re-designates the Republic's combat operations on Haruun Kal not as part of the Clone Wars, but as a "police action." This brings to mind the official perspectives on The Korean War, but Mace has perhaps more justification—unlike Korea, which fought a civil war with outside forces participating in their own interests, Haruun Kal was always part of the Republic, and were it not for bribery and corruption, the Republic would have put down the attacks on the natives by the settlers as violations of law long ago.
- Ejection Seat: Weaponized by Mace; when he needs an enemy gunship, he simply uses the Force to launch the pilot and navigator's seats against their will. This also blows away the windscreen, providing a convenient entry point.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: The end fight; the clone troopers, militia prisoners, Kar's bodyguards, Nick's team, and Depa (sorta) all die. Mace, Nick and Kar barely survive with terrible wounds.Mace: I seem to be... the last one standing.
- Evil Counterpart: Mace describes Kar Vastor as not necessarily "evil", just having given himself to "the jungle" to survive. Which is basically The Dark Side (or life without the restraints of society). They have a lot of similarities, and turn out to be from the same clan. See Foil, below.Mace: I don't see Vastor as evil. Not as a truly bad man. Yes, he radiates darkness—but so do all the Korunnai. And the Balawai. His is the darkness of the Jungle, not the darkness of the Sith. He does not fight for power, to cause pain and dominate all he surveys. He simply lives. Fiercely. Naturally. Stripped of all restraints of civilization.
- Face–Heel Turn: War and the dark side. Not a good combination.
- False Flag Operation: As Mace notes, droids are stupid. So, when hundreds of droid starfighters are making hash of the landers carrying his clone reinforcements, he commandeers two enemy gunships and uses them to launch a Macross Missile Massacre at the starfighters. The droids have no programming to consider the idea of a stolen allied ship, so while one instance of Friendly Fire might be a fluke, two is definitely treachery, and the droids leave off the lower-threat landers and commence making hash of all sixty-nine of the militia's gunships.
Later, Mace uses one of the remaining gunships as a distraction to take the spaceport, by claiming that it's heavily damaged from the battle and leaking radiation, and needs to reach port to protect civilians from a possible explosion. The entire city is so enthralled by this drama that no one notices the clone ships sneaking up on the spaceport until it's too late.
- Fatal Flaw: Windu's looking at everything through the prism of Jedi philosophy and civilization itself. His initial impression, which everyone else on the planet shares, is that you can't fight the Hungry Jungle using ethical means and survive. Over the course of the novel, he learns the truth: the "jungle" is everywhere—it's desperation, despair, and the things it drives people to do. Civilization is what you get when you do fight those things—and you don't need to win. Just fight. You'll never achieve a civilization free of desperation or despair, or destroy the potential for those things within yourself, but even if it isn't perfect, that doesn't mean it's not worth fighting for. But it takes a lot of suffering, death, and a near-fall to the dark side for him to figure it out.
- A Father to His Men: Windu to Depa, and eventually to Nick and his team; Depa to the Korunnai resistance.
- Flipping the Bird: Mace extends his middle finger in insult to a pair of dirty cops just before beating the crap out of them.Mace flipped up a thumb. "You think being armed and ruthless means you can do whatever you want." He folded his thumb and flipped up his forefinger. "You think nobody will stand up to you when they're naked." He folded that one again and flipped up the next. "And you think you're going to look inside my bag."
- Foil: Though not precisely Evil Counterparts, comparisons are made between Windu and Depa, Kar Vastor and Mace, and the Akk Guards and the Jedi. Kar and his Guards, in particular, are dark reflections of Mace and the Jedi. Jedi lightsabers are designed to cut, stab and slash, but are most often used to deflect blaster-fire. The Akk guards' vibroshields obviously stop bolts and bullets, but their edges are razor-sharp...
- The Fettered:
- Throughout the book, it's very clear that Mace is just barely restrained from mauling several people due to his adherence to the Jedi code and his personal restraint. As his foil, Kar Vastor is The Unfettered and revels in his freedom.
- Mace plays this one straight as an arrow at the end. His final revelation is that the To Be Lawful or Good dilemma he's been wrestling with is a false dilemma. It's fighting for the Jedi Code and the morals of civilized society that allows for justice and eventually peace, rather than victory over those who oppose them. Regarding the Jedi:Mace: We don't have to win. All we have to do is fight.
- Field Promotion: Mace brevets Nick Rostu as a major in the Republic Army, giving him what he wants most: a way offworld, and experience he can use to join a mercenary company. Mace later recommends that the brevet rank be confirmed. He also gives a posthumous one to Chalk, so that he can recommend both for medals of valor.
- Foreshadowing: During the journey to Depa, gunships seem to appear shortly whenever Mace uses his lightsaber. He doesn't realize until they get to the Lorshan Pass that the blade's energy signature is being tracked by Geptun.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Mace is a Jedi and an incredibly experienced warrior, so he doesn't have hang-ups about being unclothed in public. He specifically notes that from a tactical standpoint, species acclimated to wearing clothes feel vulnerable when caught naked—particularly humans. Two dirty cops are taking advantage of this fact in the spaceport at Haruun Kal to rob travelers, and end up Bullying a Dragon in Mace.
- Genius Loci: Occasionally, Mace personifies the jungle, describing everyone in it as being its playthings or its dreams; it doesn't help that Haruun Kal's life is predisposed towards developing Force talents, so when he 'senses' things, they can often 'sense' him back. Nick tells him not to be stupid—the jungle isn't a thing you can treat like a sentient being, it's just a place where stuff lives and kills other stuff—but often Kar Vastor acts as though he's a conduit for the jungle's wishes, and the translation of the native Korunnai term for the Force is literally jungle-mind.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Nick Rostu's reaction when he realizes that he, Mace, and Kar Vastor are about to be bombarded by DOKAWs: "Oh, nuts. Ohhh, nuts nuts nuts."
- The Gunslinger: Nick Rostu. Already a highly experienced combatant at a young age, he has untrained Force talent that manifests in a number of ways, including here.
- Guns Akimbo: When you're a Force-user you don't have so much trouble firing in two directions at once.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: See above.
- Quick Draw: Shooting a lightsaber out of a Jedi's hand, pressed to her own temple, before she could hit the activation plate. In one shot. While delirious from blood-loss. He can also call his weapons to his hands.
- Honor Before Reason: Why Mace didn't just kill Dooku at Geonosis. Deconstructed as this allowed the Clone Wars to go forward and billions of people have died because of it, but Reconstructed when Mace comes to understand that the ensuing events will allow Anakin to fulfill his destiny.
- Hungry Jungle: Both literal and figurative. The planet Haruun Kal is home to an omnipresent fungus that eats technology, as well as much larger and more dangerous creatures in the jungle that eat... just about anything else, including each other.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Mace Windu is on the receiving end of this trope, via lightsaber, and survives by ensuring the blade is turned off and dissipates, leaving a smoking, ghastly—but cauterised—wound through his midsection, instead of allowing the blade to be ripped out sideways, burning him in half. His injuries are terrible but survivable, assuming medical attention.
- Ironic Echo: Of the worrying recording of Depa's voice that sets Mace on his journey in the first place, no line haunts him more than, "I know you think I've gone mad. I haven't. What happened to me is worse. I've gone sane. [...] Nothing is more dangerous than a Jedi who's finally sane." When Mace comes to realize that she has a point, and that he can't leave the planet without attempting to fix the horrible situation it's in, she can't believe her ears when he outlines his plan to do so."Are you insane?"
"Just the opposite," Mace said. "Haven't you heard? There's nothing more dangerous than a Jedi who has finally gone sane."
She sputtered like a droid with a shorted-out motivator.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better:
- The DOKAW (De-Orbiting Kinetic Anti-emplacement Weapon)—essentially a hundred kilos of durasteel falling from space to hit the ground at ten kilometers per second.In a word: WHAM.
- The trope is generally Discussed. This book marks one of the few times "slug-throwers" (i.e. guns that fire bullets) make an appearance in the galaxy far, far away. Haruun Kal's metal-eating fungus renders blasters and their delicate circuits worthless in hours or less, but slug-throwers are much less vulnerable—keep them maintained and they last. However, Haruun Kal is one of the only places such low-tech weapons as slug-throwers and DOKAWs would be of any use at all. A DOKAW is almost hilariously ineffective against anything smaller or more mobile than a town, and can be pushed off course or even brought down by, at minimum, particularly poor weather. Slugs aren't deflected by lightsabers (they just get disintegrated), are useless against energy shields, and bounce unpredictably in tight quarters.
- The DOKAW (De-Orbiting Kinetic Anti-emplacement Weapon)—essentially a hundred kilos of durasteel falling from space to hit the ground at ten kilometers per second.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: Chalk. Her real name, as Mace learns after her death, is Liane Trevval.
- Lady of War: Depa was one—a Jedi Master (and a member of the Council); a woman; a highly spiritual, intelligent, cool-headed and graceful individual; and devastating in combat due to her mastery of the lightsaber and the Vaapad style. Her time on Haruun Kul has left her... changed. She's just as deadly, but her mental state no longer lends itself well to grace.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Launched by Mace's stolen gunships against the droid starfighters attacking his clone troops. It is only marginally effective, as droids are very good at the High-Speed Missile Dodge, but that's not the point—a coordinated attack from supposedly friendly ships prompts the droids to respond in kind.
- Man Bites Man: Kar Vastor is a very practical individual.
- Manipulative Bastard: Col. Geptun.Mace: I keep forgetting he's smarter than I am.
- Motive Misidentification: After bribing Colonel Geptun to cut him loose, Mace runs into a pack of mercenaries. When he tries to defend himself, he finds his lightsaber's running on empty. Mace thinks Geptun was trying to cover up the bribe by leaving him defenseless for the kill. He doesn't realize until later that Geptun had no knowledge of the attack. The lightsaber being depleted was actually a result of his techs analyzing its energy signature—thereby allowing Geptun to track Mace all the way to the ULF's base.
- Motor Mouth:
- Phloremirlla Tenk, the Washeteria owner/Intel agent.She never stopped talking. Mace hadn't started listening.
- The alien comedy duo, especially the Pho Ph'eahian.
- Phloremirlla Tenk, the Washeteria owner/Intel agent.
- My Greatest Failure: Mace regrets not killing Dooku at Geonosis. He would have died at Jango Fett's hands, but it would have been worth it as Dooku was the Separatists' Shatterpoint. The resulting battle and the escalation of the conflict means that Shatterpoint is gone—and with it, any chance of easily ending the Clone Wars.
- Narrative Profanity Filter: Being a Jedi, Mace is more conservative in his language than most of those he meets, and is reluctant to quote them directly in his journal.Nick was still simmering as he helped me to my feet, muttering under his breath a continuous stream of invective, characterizing Vastor as a "lizard-faced frogswallower," and a "demented scab-chewing turtlesacker" and a variety of other names that I don't feel comfortable recording, even in a private journal.
- Nemesis Weapon: Mace Windu notes that the razor-edged vibroshields used by Kar Vastor and his acolytes are a twisted mirror of the Jedi lightsaber; he uses his sword as a shield, while they use their shields as swords.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Again, Mace feels responsible for the Clone Wars as he did not take the opportunity to kill Dooku at Geonosis.
- Mace is also indirectly responsible for alerting Colonel Geptun to the location of the ULF's main base. Kar Vastor calls him on this.
- Once More with Clarity: An interesting variation occurs when Mace activates his lightsaber at the Lorshan Pass. He's suddenly assaulted with Force images of shatterpoints. He follows the Force's threads, which take him back towards earlier events during the journey to the Lorshan Pass... and allows him (and the reader) to grasp the truth behind innocuous details that he didn't notice at the time.
- Oh Crap!: Mace realizing that Geptun used him to locate the ULF's main base... and that he's about to drop a barrage of DOKAWs on the Lorshan Pass.
- Or Was It a Dream?: Overlaps with Fever Dream Episode. Windu has several visions of meetings with Depa, days before they actually meet, but she appears 99% accurately to how she looks and acts later. Dreams because Mace knew her so well? Or something more real through The Force?
- Planetville: Most of Haruun Kal is uninhabitable, with all natives and colonists on the only plateau of significant size to rise above the toxic lower atmosphere. The end result is a planet that believably behaves like a nation-sized setting.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Nick Rostu, crossed with Sad Clown; his rapier-quick wit is his coping mechanism, and he really needs it.
- Put Their Heads Together: When Mace captures an enemy gunship, he disables the turret gunners by holding their access doors shut with the Force, waiting until they're both straining against them, then letting them open so that the gunners fly straight into each other head-first (helped along with a Force push).
- Recycled In Space: Compare Apocalypse Now and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Shatterpoint is (explicitly according to Matt Stover) based upon both.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Mace bribes a Neimoidian customs agent to keep her from inspecting his bag.
- Shatterpoint Tap: Physically shattering objects is the least that Mace can do with his unique Force talent.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Slides all the way to cynicism, then past it to become pure idealism again. Everyone Mace meets insists that the only way to survive on Haruun Kal is to focus on nothing except survival, and the only way to win the war against any enemy is to to do whatever it takes to win, damn human decency and Jedi codes. Except that's not the way to survive as a human being, or as a Jedi. By taking those measures, the person you were dies and you may as well have lost.Mace Windu: Our enemy is power mistaken for justice. Our enemy is the desperation that justifies atrocity. The Jedi's true enemy is the jungle. Our enemy is the darkness itself: the strangling cloud of fear and despair and anguish that this war brings with it.
- Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: Mace takes "the one hostage a Jedi can legally take": himself. He puts Depa under arrest, saying he will escort her from Haruun Kal (to which Kar Vastor would object very strongly) or die in the attempt. Meaning Depa will have to talk Kar down if she doesn't want him killing Mace. She sees through the gambit immediately and agrees to be taken off-world—however the jungle has changed her, she still cares for Mace.
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: The Korunnai (except for Nick, who has a better grasp of Basic) place the subject of a sentence at the end. When speaking the native tongue, Mace does the same.
- Unwitting Pawn: Mace doesn't realize Geptun's using him to locate the ULF's main base until it's almost too late.
- War Is Hell: The main point of the book is how profound an effect war has, partly on the galaxy's population as a whole, but more so on the Force-sensitive Jedi. They sense (and are affected by) pain, suffering, fear and threat, and what is war?
- Waterfall into the Abyss: The giant waterfall at the edge of the Korunnal Highland. In this case, the water doesn't actually fall into "the abyss" so much as a soup of heavier-than-air toxic gases; eventually it boils away and makes it way back into the cloud layer.
- Worthy Opponent: Kar considers Mace one; Mace really really doesn't reciprocate. Also, Mace and Geptun; after the war, Mace recommends Geptun be inducted into Republic Intelligence.