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Literature / Dark Nest Trilogy

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"Bugs! Why did it have to be bugs?"
Han Solo

A Star Wars Legends novel trilogy from 2005. Featuring:

The Killik, an insectoid race capable of absorbing non-Killik species into their Hive Mind via brainwashing. They launch an invasion on Chiss territory, prompting the Chiss Ascendency to retaliate with aid from the Galactic Alliance. When the Jedi get involved, a number of them are brainwashed by the Killik into becoming Joiners. Luke and Mara's son, Ben Skywalker, also begins growing up and developing as a character in this series.

This trilogy also notably features Luke and Leia finally learning about their mother Padmé Amidala, tying into the release of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith the same year.

Written by Troy Denning, this trilogy is noticeably bloodier than most Star Wars Legends books.

This work has examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Jacen uses the Force to obliterate Hapan Queen Mother Ta'a Chume's mind to protect Tenel Ka and their daughter. Ta'a previously tried to sabotage the Hapes Consortium's joining the New Republic, had her Dathomiri daughter-in-law poisoned during the Yuuzhan Vong War, and then hired the Dark Nest to have Tenel Ka, her own granddaughter, killed along with said child. No great loss.
  • Big Bad: The Dark Nest, led by Lomi Plo.
  • Bus Crash: Chak Fel, one of Soontir Fel's sons, a pilot who gets angry about injustice and knows when to put aside his pride and who is just generally awesome, is casually mentioned to have died in a war that's now over.
  • Continuity Nod: A few major ones for the concurrently released Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith with Luke finding Artoo Detoo's recordings of Anakin discussing his nightmare with Padmé, Obi-Wan meeting with her after Order 66, and his and Leia's birth and their mother's death.
  • Continuity Snarl: Shares a page with the rest of Star Wars Legends.
  • Covers Always Lie: Luke doesn't use Force lightning (or its Light-affiliated variant Electric Judgment) in The Swarm War.
  • Credits Gag: In the Dramatis Personae for The Swarm War, Lomi Plo is listed as "Lomi Plo: Gorog Queen (female human... mostly)". She's had numerous Killik parts grafted on to her body, some to compensate for injuries, some apparently just for fun (like an extra set of arms).
  • Demoted to Extra: After appearing in eleven New Jedi Order books, Danni Quee only appeared in a single chapter throughout this whole trilogy.
  • The Dragon: Welk for the Dark Nest, later Alema after she goes rogue.
  • Discount Lesbians: Zekk's interesting thoughts about Jag when Joined to Jaina.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: The Gorog lay their eggs inside of prisoners and let the larvae eat their way out of their unfortunate victims. The other Killiks are noted to be disgusted and horrified by this.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Alema had been skirting the edge of the dark side ever sense her sister got killed in Star By Star, but here she crosses over to it for good.
    • Jacen hasn't fully made the transition yet, but he's hovering on the edge, such as when he arranges a Jedi raid on the Chiss, doesn't care about the casualties, and manipulates his friends and sister into it with half-truths.
  • Forever War: Jacen sees a vision of one between the Killiks and the Galactic Alliance. He uses this to justify preventing it by being a Well-Intentioned Extremist.

  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Alema Rar, a Twi'lek Jedi who had a Start of Darkness in Star By Star and becomes one of the Jedi Joiners. Luke expels her from the order over her behavior and she ends up becoming a recurring minor villain before ultimately (apparently) being Eaten Alive by a critter.
  • Hive Caste System: There are a number of different types of Killik, many of them radically different in appearance and tactics. While each type is connected mentally, they apparently have a different Hive Mind for each type, and so when the Jedi Joiners are sent to assist a different type, they find their Joiner-ness weakening. Being Joiners, this horrifies them.
  • Hive Mind: Killiks are in constant communication with one another through a system of pheromones, bioelectric signals and telepathy. Members of other species who are exposed to Killik pheromones for a prolonged amount of time can be subsumed within this mental union, becoming Joiners.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Zekk, hiveminded with Jaina, agrees with her feelings towards Jag.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The first two books are The Joiner King and The Unseen Queen; the third is The Swarm War. All three also begin with a definite article.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: A Jedi variant. Luke realizes that between her experiences in the previous war and the Killiks, Alema Rar is too far gone to save, and takes her lightsaber from her and removes the crystal from the hilt to disable it. She insists she'll replace it, and he calmly tells her he'll do the same to her next one, and the one after that.
  • Longest Pregnancy Ever: Invoked by Tenel Ka when Jacen gets her pregnant. She uses the Force to stretch the pregnancy out to twelve months to keep the fact that Jacen is the father from her Decadent Court.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Killiks get splattered across the landscape with alarming frequency.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The Killik ships are kilometers long, understandably dwarfing the Galactic Alliance and Chiss ships.
  • Mind Rape:
    • Jacen does this to Ta'a Chume after she's implicated in the Dark Nest's assassination attempt against Tenel Ka and their daughter, obvious Foreshadowing of his fall to the dark side in the next series.
    • Lomi Plo and the Dark Nest do a low-key version of this to the entire Killik species. Including Raynar Thul.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Alema Rar. In every single scene she's in, special attention is paid to describing how sexy her wardrobe is, even in a hazmat suit (which is two sizes too small, so it clings to her like a second skin). At one point, she shows up in a Killik-silk outfit that is completely sheer, except for one solid panel... over the wound she took in the previous book.
  • Questionable Consent: It's left ambigious, but if Jaina and Zekk are having sex in this story, they're almost certainly doing it under the influence of the Killik.
  • Papa Wolf: Jacen will do anything to keep his daughter and Tenel Ka safe. Unfortunately, Papa Wolf, Manipulative Bastard, and Person of Mass Destruction are not a good combination.
  • Predation Is Natural: At the end of book one the Killiks settle a world that turns out to have a native organism that attacks them. The Alliance ultimately seeds this organism onto the Killiks' other planets as a way of keeping their population under control and preventing further conflicts.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Luke Skywalker, of all people, drops the EU standby "kriffing" out of frustration at one point.
  • Series Continuity Error: Danni Quee's eyes are described as blue in the third book of the trilogy, despite every New Jedi Order book she appeared in describing them as green.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Luke Skywalker, torture victim, advocating torture.
  • Shout-Out: To Raiders of the Lost Ark. "Bugs. Why did it have to be bugs?" Spoken by Han Solo, naturally.
  • Start of Darkness: Jacen becomes a Well-Intentioned Extremist in this series, setting him up for Legacy of the Force.
  • That's No Moon: Han comes within spitting distance of quoting himself when he, Luke, Juun, and Tarfang stumble upon the Killik nest ship fleet.
  • Theme Naming: "Killik" is a palindrome. All Killik species have palindrome names, from Aebea to Yoggoy.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: The primary plots of the trilogy have to do with the various conflicts caused by the Killiks. There's also a C-plot of Luke and Leia recovering information about Padmé Naberrie Amidala from R2-D2's archived memory, which doesn't amount to much of anything.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Jedi who become Joiners think that the bugs are awesome and hiveminds are awesome and Chiss are meanies for not, you know, letting the bugs take over. The Galactic Alliance is also wrong, for not supporting them one hundred percent. And of course, the Killiks couldn't possibly slow down their reproductive rate and remove the exponentially increasing overpopulation problem and the constant food crises. That's the only reason why they're invading, of course.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: Averted. The Chiss show Leia a camera feed of Han getting his ear cut off, but he's not being tortured at all. In fact, Han breaks into the room Leia's in, sees "himself", and quips about it.
    He noticed the display screen in the corner, which continued to show the medic and the torturer standing beside Han's bloody head. "Hey! That poor rodder looks like me!
  • You Can't Go Home Again:
    • The Killiks, since Wilhuff Tarkin blasted Oroboro to asteroids. An explanation might be required: Oroboro is the Killik name for Alderaan.
    • Jagged Fel is banished from Chiss society because of the damages Lowbacca inflicted while under custody. Not so much the damage he did while in custody, but the fact that he was released under a promise that he would stay out of the fighting... and then joined Jacen in the assault on the Chiss base that started the war.
  • Zerg Rush: The primary Killik tactic; they're described as dying in the millions when facing entrenched enemies.

Alternative Title(s): Dark Nest I The Joiner King, Dark Nest II The Unseen Queen, Dark Nest III The Swarm War