“I’m fine. Don’t worry — no first-day jitters.” — Kerra Holt
Star Wars: Knight Errant: “Influx”
My fourth Star Wars prose story, published originally on StarWars.com — and the first story in the Knight Errant timeline.
“Influx” is the fourth short story that I did for the official Star Wars website. It is a prequel to the events of Star Wars Knight Errant – Aflame #1, which had released six days earlier to comic shops. Because Star Wars: Knight Errant was both a comics and a prose project, we wanted to underscore the multimedia nature of the storyline. Thus, doing a prose story at the same time we did the first comic story made sense. (The novel would release three months later.)
With Influx the intention was to show Kerra Holt’s first mission. I expressly did not want to show any of the events in the Republic during this time, because we weren’t going to show the Republic at all when we got to the comics. So this story had to be nestled in between Kerra’s knighting and her arrival on Chelloa. Fortunately, there was a very convenient story hook available: how Kerra and Vannar Treece were able to get hold of the transports that they flew into Lord Daiman’s space.
This story also allowed me to paint a picture of characters that we would see only briefly in the first issue of the comic series. The other Jedi who served with Vannar in his movement were characters that we would only glimpse, but it was important to establish Kerra’s relationship with these people. She had been working with them for years, and had become more than simply a youthful mascot for the movement. She’d become a logistical officer, a mission coordinator. And now, she would become even more than that.
One of the elements that we touched on in the comics and which was drawn from Star Wars: The New Essential Chronology was the fact that very few people knew how to get around in Sith space during this period. The Republic, when it evacuated from Sith space, had deactivated its hyperspace beacons, thus making interstellar communications difficult and reducing the knowledge that the Sith had about where to find hyperspace lanes. Knowledge of stellar cartography, therefore, became very important. And, we got a chance to illustrate here the Sith paranoia about protecting cartographic knowledge. Obviously, if it were easy to leave Sith space, anyone who could find a starship would do so. So we had to make just the simple act of getting around Sith space part of the challenge that Kerra had to cope with.
We got to see how Kerra dealt with obstacles, and how she frequently was driven to take more daring route to achieve what she wanted to. The story also established how little she enjoyed sneaking around, a element which would become important in the comics and the novel — where, of course, that was all she was ever expected to do: sneak around. As Han Solo put in different words, she much rather would have a stand-up fight. But in this time and in this place, that wasn’t going to be possible.
The story was unavailable for a brief time following the reorganization of the starwars.com website. It was made available again on October 2, 2012 coincidental with the release of Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion, a book which covered all of the prose fiction having appeared in Star Wars canon. The stories were released again on the Suvudu website for Del Rey, later rebranded as Unbound Worlds (archived here).
“This isn’t a place where you can be yourself. Not for very long, anyway!” — Vannar Treece
This is actually the first of three promotional pieces that we did for starwars.com. This story would be followed a month later by the Essential Atlas Supplement that I did with Jason Fry and Daniel Wallace, detailing the state of play in the Grumani Sector. And then right before the release of the novel, I did a blog post for starwars.com describing the building of the models for the artillery carrier Diligence.
Note the mention of Chancellor Gennara. The New Essential Chronology had established that many Jedi had crossed over into the political leadership of the Republic during this time.
Baradium is mentioned prominently in the story: it would become an important element in the Aflame comics storyline.
Like the other Star Wars: Knight Errant comic stories, Influx has a title that is six letters long. It is however not in alphabetical order of release, as was the case with the comics. However as most books begin with preface pages numbered with the roman numeral “i”, maybe you can figure Influx is just our preface!