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by Alan Dean Foster
p.5-6 “How long?” the deceptively soft-voiced Twi’lek wanted to know.
“Before Ansion decides?” The Senator looked thoughtful. Assuming the internal divisions continue to widen, I would expect a formal vote on whether to withdraw from the Republic within half a standard year.”
The president of the Commerce Guild nodded approvingly. “At which we can look on with satisfaction at those who have been traditionally allied to Ansion follow suit, and those allied to the allies fall in turn. Surely, as children all of you played with blocks? There is invariably one key block near the bottom that, if removed, will cause the entire structure to collapse.”
p.7 “I flatter myself that I am intelligent enough to recognize there are those who are smarter than me. They are the ones who concern me.”
p.108 “It was just a blurted exclamation--I meant nothing personal by it--now please let me down and--could you perhaps retract your eyeballs? They’re oozing.”
p.115 Potential that goes unrealized is potential that might as well not exist in the first place.
p.115-116 Each system has its own problems, each individual living therein with its own hopes and fears, triumphs and heartaches. Even now there might be dozens, hundreds of individual sentients, lying outside contemplating the night, wondering if another was feeling what they were feeling, gazing out across the light-years in search of enlightenment. Hoping.
p.117 If there was one thing Ogomoor knew for certain about the nomads, it was that nothing was certain about them.
p.137 “The Yiwa are a proud clan. They are constantly on the move, even more so than many of the Alwari. They may have nose of the overclan Borokii for us--if they are willing to part with it.”
“Why wouldn’t they?” Luminara asked directly.
Bulgan blinked his one eye. “The Yiwa are a touchy people, quick to take offense.”
“Then we’ll be on our best behavior.” Obi-Wan turned in his saddle. “Won’t we, Anakin?”
His Padawan frowned uncertainly. “Why are you all looking at me?”
p.155-156 There was no need for applause. Obi-Wan’s saga had passed the need for simple approval into the realm of complete acceptance.
“You enchanted everyone entirely, Master.” Anakin hardly knew what to say. “Myself included.”
Picking at the sand by his feet, the Jedi shrugged disarmingly. “Such is the power of the story, my young Padawan.”
Anakin considered this carefully, as he was learning to do with everything Obi-Wan Kenobi said. “You kept everyone in complete suspense. Suspension might be a better description. I never saw the happy ending coming and didn’t expect it. Do all your stories have happy endings?”
Flicking a few grains of sand aside, Obi-Wan looked up at him sharply enough to give his apprentice an unexpected start. “Only time will tell that, Anakin Skywalker. In storytelling, nothing is given, the astonishing becomes commonplace, and one learns to expect the unexpected. But when people of understanding and goodwill come together, a happy ending is usually assured.”
The Padawan frowned uncertainly. “I was speaking of storytelling, Master. Not reality.”
“One is but a reflection of the other, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell which is the original and which is the mirror image. There is much to be learned from stories that can’t be taught by history.” Obi-Wan smiled. “It’s like making a cake. Much lies in the choosing of ingredients before the baking has even begun.”
p.188 “’The Republic.’” He gestured toward where the two older Jedi were conversing with their guides. “You should hear Master Obi-Wan talk about the Republic, sometimes. About what’s happening to it, what’s going on in the government.”
“You mean the talk of a secessionist movement?”
“That--and other things. Don’t misunderstand. Master Obi-Wan is a true Jedi. Anyone can see that. He believes in everything the Jedi stand for and everything they do. The way I see it, that’s very different from believing in the current government.”
“Governments are always changing. They’re a mutable organism.” While she spoke, she continued to look on in fascination as the chawix slowly consumed the last of the unfortunate membibi. “And like any living thing, they are always growing and changing.”
“Ah--that overstuffed hothouse full of declamatory blowhards!”
p.209-210 “Don’t word-game Tooqui! I not stupid like these other ground-burrowers! Tooqui smart smart.”
“Smart enough to steal from us when we’re sleeping?” she inquired politely.
Placing his right hand over his face and his left over the back of his head, he declaimed as sonorously as his small stature would permit. “May Tooqui shrivel in the sun if he ever take a grain crumb from his new friends without asking. May his insides spill out on the ground and run away like worm suckers. May all his relatives burn in grass fires that cleans the open places and--“
“All right, all right.” She was laughing softly despite herself. “I get the picture.”
p.210-211 “Tooqui take care of self! You see see. Tooqui not afraid of danger.” Once more he slapped himself on the chest. “Tooqui eat danger for morning meal! Make good pet, too.”
She blinked. “Pet? You’re an intelligent being, Tooqui. You can’t be a pet.”
“Why not? Gwurran keep small yirans and sometimes omohts as pets. They get free food, free living place, protection from shanhs and other things that want eat them. Seem like pretty good deal to me. If I intelligent like you say, then not I smart enough to choose what I want to be?”
“It’s not that.” The last thing she would have expected was for the glib Gwurran to confuse her with subtle academic argument. “It just--it wouldn’t be proper, that’s all.”
“If I intelligent enough to choose for myself, then where be improperness?” He smiled, showing miniature versions of the same sharp teeth as their guides. “That intelligent Tooqui’s choice: I want to go with you new friends as pet. Learn about Ansion world-ball. Maybe other world-balls too. Learn much, then come back and help Gwurran.”
p.216-217 “More food for Tooqui’s head. More new things to see and learn about.”
“Well, if you talk talk all the time you won’t be able to concentrate on those new things, and neither will I. How about keeping quiet for awhile?”
“Tooqui quiet? Two things that not go together.” He settled himself down close to her, taking up minimal space on the edge of the saddle. “But master command, so Tooqui must obey.” He smiled. “Tooqui good pet always.”
“Sarcasm is not a quality many people desire to have in their ‘pets.’”
“Their loss loss.”
p.219 “Pets don’t engage in trade.”
“No, but their masters do,” he countered without hesitation. “Maybe if silly-fun stupid-face pet do funny tricks for master, grateful Barriss buy little trinket-thing for poor poor Tooqui?”
p.317 “No heavy weapons.” He leaned slightly forward as he carefully scrutinized the tightly packed lines of warriors. “No laser cannons, no launchers of any size.” He remarked on this to Bayaar.
Their friend looked horrified. “Haja, no! If either the Borokii or the Januul were to employ such deadly off-world devices, one clan or the other might well win this and all other similar confrontations, but they would be shunned by every other clan on the planet. Besides, such an escalation would mean that the opposing side would have to acquire similar weapons to defend itself. And then where would the proud Alwari be?”
“Staring down the barrel of self-extermination,” Anakin ventured from nearby.
p.335 “It’s not possible!” the Hutt bellowed into the comm-droid, whose job it was to hover close to the massive, lumpy head during business hours.
Adroit fellow that he was, Ogomoor was able to divine several things simultaneously from his master’s exclamation. First, when someone declares loudly and violently that something is not possible, it is probably an accomplished fact. Second, things that are supposed to be not possible but become reality almost always imply negative consequences. And third, there was no point in hurrying from the room because in all probability he would immediately receive an order to return.
p.343 “Tooqui kill! Bad bad foreigner! Tooqui choke with own entrails! Tooqui--whup!”
p.345 Jiaguin, god of guile