Tassaa Bareesh, a matriarch in the Hutt crime cartel, is holding an auction thats drawing attention from across the galaxy. Representatives of both the Republic and the Sith Empire are present, along with a Jedi Padawan sent to investigate, a disenfranchised trooper drummed out of the Republics elite Black Star Squad, and a mysterious Mandalorian with a private agenda. But the Republics envoy is not what he seems, the Empires delegate is a ruthless Sith apprentice, the Jedi Padawan is determined to do the right thing and terrified that he cant, the trooper hopes to redeem her reputation, and the Mandalorian is somehow managing to keep one step ahead of everyone.
None of these guestsinvited or uninvitedhave any intention of participating in the auction. Instead they plan to steal the prize, which is locked inside an impregnable vault: two burned chunks of an exploded star cruiser, one of which may hold the key to the wealth of an entire world.
But the truth about the treasure is dangerous and deadly. And in the end, Sith and Jedi, Republic and Empire, must do something theyve never done before, something that all the agents of good and evil could never make them do: join together to stop a powerful threat that could destroy the galaxy
The book is notable for introducing a great deal of moral ambiguity to the Sith vs. Jedi storyline.
Contains examples of:
- Adaptive Ability: The Hexes will change and reconfigure themselves to counter whatever is attacking them. In some cases combining together into larger units.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: The Dark Council aren't too torn up about Darth Chratis's death. Darth Howl goes so far as to basically promote his killer.
- Berserk Button: The hexes don't like anyone much, but show them a red lightsaber and they flip out. Because Lema Xandret's daughter was taken away by the Sith, and it left her, shall we say, a tad unbalanced.
- Catchphrase: The hexes DO NOT RECOGNISE YOUR AUTHORITY.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: As Jet and Dao discuss in the epilogue, the Hexes would most likely have stayed dormant on their own world had the Republic and Empire not sought them out.
- The Chessmaster: Jet Nebula.
- Commander Contrarian: Darth Chratis demonstrates that Sith arrogance plus complete incompetence is not a good combination.
- Enemy Mine: More or less the situation the Republic and Sith Empire find themselves in.
- Fantastic Racism: The almost completely human-looking Epicanthix are treated like this by the Empire.
- Fingore: Larin loses a few fingers courtesy of Ax's lightsaber.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Larin and the trooper who was pissed at her for ratting out a corrupt superior.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: The Epilogue reveals that Dao Stryver was a hapless servant girl before becoming a mandalorian.
- Grey Goo: The Hexes self-replicate.
- Killer Robot: The hexes are ridiculously adaptive, enthusiastically homicidal droids.
- Mêlée à Trois: Between Ax, Dao, and Shigar in the Hutt vaults.
- The Mole: Ula Vii.
- Less generously, The Quisling.
- Not So Different: The Republic/Jedi and the Sith Empire, to a degree, although the Jedi do generally seem better to have around. For example, both are faulted for starting training in early childhood by Dao Stryver
- Omnicidal Maniac: What the hexes will eventually evolve into being according to Ax.
- Robot War: Everyone vs. Hexes.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Ula eventually concludes that his duty is to delay the war as long as possible, losing his patriotic views of the Empire and coming out on the side of the little guy.
- Shock and Awe: Darth Chratis does enjoy his Force Lightning.
- Tie-In Novel: The eight main characters are a Jedi Knight (Shigar), a Jedi Consular (Satele Shan), a Smuggler (Jet Nebula), a Republic Trooper (Larin), a Sith Warrior (Eldon Ax), a Sith Inquisitor (Darth Chratis), an Imperial Agent (Ula) and a Bounty Hunter (Dao Stryver) - the eight playable classes of Star Wars: The Old Republic.