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Literature / The Cestus Deception

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A Star Wars Legends novel by Steven Barnes, The Cestus Deception stars Obi-Wan Kenobi and his fellow Jedi Knight Kit Fisto, who are sent to the planet Ord Cestus in order to halt, through whatever means necessary, the production of the deadly bio-droids nicknamed "Jedi-Killers" by the criminal underworld. The two Jedi split forces, with Obi-Wan attempting a political resolution while Kit, with the aid of a small group of clones, trains the natives in case a more violent solution is required.
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But the Republic, slowly turning to a darker path as the Clone Wars escalate, is prepared to launch a full scale orbital attack on the production facilities if the Jedi fail, disregarding the countless lives that would be lost were such a strategy enacted. Facing a crisis of conscience, the two Jedi must find the wisdom and strength to prevent such a bloodbath and safe-guard the Republic, while abiding by the ancient code to which both have pledged their lives.

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Tropes:

  • Ambiguous Syntax: When the heads of the five families die in a bombing it’s mentioned that Debbikin is among the fatalities but is vague as to whether that means Debbikin the Elder -patriarch of the family- or Debbikin the Younger, the most involved in the company’s runnings.
  • Batman Gambit: The climax reveals Dooku's overtures to Ord Cestus are the book's titular 'Deception'. Dooku never intended to purchase JK-13s and instead feigned interest to get the Republic's attention. Dooku knew the Jedi would be personally motivated to stop the JK-13 production and would send in Clones and Masters to try diplomatic and black ops solutions. Dooku wanted them on location so he could trigger a False Flag Operation. The Republic would take the blame and the ensuing death toll drive many worlds toying with seceding from the Republic to fully committ. The plan only fails began of the x-factor of Jangotat and his heroic sacrifice.
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  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Ambassador Snoil’s species are unable to mate while they have an obligation from someone else that could be called upon. Therefore Snoil is eager to repay a debt that he owes Obi-Wan for saving his life. The Cestus natives, the X'ting as well. They shift back and forth between male and female every three years. It is also stated that some illegal drug concoctions can speed up the shift and alleviate the uncomfortable side effects some feel.
  • Covers Always Lie: No,Count Dooku does not physically appear in this novel. However, his machinations do kickstart the Cestus affair.
  • Defeat Means Respect: When Nate and a fellow clone discuss the skills of the Jedi, they simultaneously state “They beat Jango.” Viewing the fate of their genetic template/trainer as significant.
  • Good Stepmother: Sheeka to the children of her late husband, saying she married him partially to be with them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the novel, Nate/Jangotat is trapped in the villain's hideout with a broken leg. He contacts the orbiting Republic cruiser and redirects their orbital bombardment onto his own position. This ensures the corrupt Cestus family heads perish in retribution for all the awful things they did.
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    Admiral Bakara had a distant sense that his lack of respect for the clones’ dignity and worth had decreased his own, but he couldn’t help himself.
  • Insane Admiral: Maybe not insane, but Admiral Baraka is quite immoral and obsessed with glory. He also holds personal disdain for the clones viewing them as little better than organic automatons, all while tossing them into a meat grinder.
  • Klingon Promotion: Trillot killed his way to the top of the local underworld.
  • Liar Revealed: Obi-Wan's seemingly miraculous locating and saving of the five family heads is revealed to them, to have been a sham. This effectively ends his attempts at negotiation and forces the Republic to fully commit to plan B.
  • Loophole Abuse: It’s illegal for Cestus Cybernetics to sell Battle droids to the Confederacy, but they can sell "security" droids to individual planets inside the Confederacy.
  • Martial Pacifist: The J-K droids go insane if they ever kill anyone.
  • Military Brat: Admiral Baraka comes from a dozen generations of soldiers. Consequently, he is overly eager to achieve some personal glory.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The JK-Droids, given that JK stands for Jedi Killer.
  • Old Flame: Complicated with Sheeka, an old flame of Jango Fett who falls in love with the clone Nate.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Sheeka is pregnant with Nate’s baby when he dies.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Nate chooses good. Even if he has to fight his clone brothers to be it.
  • Training from Hell: Baraka puts the clones through dangerous, live fire training which kills lots of them and refuses to let them stop early.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Jangotat's sacrifice becomes even more meaningful when its revealed Asajj Ventress altered the Republic orbital strike coordinates to cause maximum civilian casualties. When Jangotat redirected the strike onto himself, he saved millions of lives. As Obi-Wan says, "He didn't even know the coordinates had been altered."
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