Star Wars: Republic #68
August 2004
"Armor", 22ppg, $2.99

Script: John Ostrander
Penciller, Cover Artist: Jan Duursema
Inker: Dan Parsons
Colorist, Cover Colors: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Michael David Thomas
Book Design: Dave Nestelle
Associate Editor: Jeremy Barlow
Script, Editor: Randy Stradley
Publisher: Mike Richardson

CHARACTER
Featured
Aayla Secura, Quinlan Vos

Supporting
Commander Bly

Guest
Yoda

Other
clone trooper (dies), Rii'ke En (presumed dead)

DROID
crab-like security droid

LOCATION
Honoghr

ORGANIZATION
Clone troopers

SPECIES
Noghri

STARSHIP
Trade Federation Battleship, Skorp-Ion, Republic assault ship

TECHNOLOGY
Tri-Hexalophine1138 (a defoliant), scientific instrument package (SIP)

VEHICLE
Republic attack gunship, All Terrain Tactical Enforcer (AT-TE walker)

COMMENTS
According to the inside cover, the events in this issue takes place 2 years after the Battle of Geonosis.

This issue describes a part of the backstory regarding the Noghri and the pollution of their home planet as written by Timothy Zahn in the Thrawn Trilogy. The name of the chemical Tri-Hexalophine1138 has an obvious reference to George Lucas's earlier film THX-1138.

Commander Bly makes his first appearance on the cover of this issue in the new Episode III clone armor. His first appearance was actually in Republic #65, but that was in the original Episode II armor. This issue is also unique as it is narrated by Bly, a clone, something that has not been done before or since.
SYNOPSIS
Commander Bly narrates: A Separatist ship carrying a biological weapon toward Naboo was intercepted above Honoghr and crashed, spilling it's payload into the ground water. The Jedi Rii'ke En was sent to retrieve the scientific instrumentation package (the SIP) from the inhabitants of Honoghr, the Noghri. They had taken it into their temple and were protecting it.

All Republic forces or Separatist forces that had made it on planet had not survived, and now it was just En and his clone trooper. they didn't make it either.

Bly and his General, Aayla Secura, were sent with a squad of clones to retrieve the SIP. They manage to make it into the temple, but lose the remainder of the squad doing so.

As more Noghri pour into to protect their sacred temple, a blaster bolt strikes Bly in the helmet and he goes down. Aayla fights off some more Noghri before an unseen guest helps them out. It is Quinlan Vos.

Bly wants to shoot him, but is ordered to do otherwise by Aayla. She does not know if she can trust Quin, having heard the stories of his defection and having seen the damage he inflicted on K'kruhk. He swears to her he has not gone to the dark side but is merely playing the double-agent to gain Dooku's trust.

Using the intelligence gather by General En, Bly, Aayla and Quin fight their way into the temple containing the SIP. Aayla has agreed to have Quin help them recover it, but he promises that she can take it back to the Republic.

The encounter a booby-trapped door which Quin and Aayla work at together as a team to defeat. Bly marvels at their abilities, even if he can't understand them. Aayla uses the Force to draw the SIP out of the room and the narrowly avoid the poison hyperdarts that blast out of the walls.

They are chased by the Noghri into the swamp and find themselves at the edge of a cliff, when Quin asks Aayla for the SIP. He will give them passage off-planet, but he needs that SIP to gain Dooku's trust.

Aayla was afraid something like this would happen and Bly realizes that their ally has become their enemy and raises his weapon. Quin blasts him with a Force push, knocking him unconscious.

Quin tries to explain to Aayla that it's the only way he can learn about the second Sith Lord, and then destroy him. She does not believe him and they both ignite their lightsabers to battle for the SIP.

Bly weaves in and out of consciousness hearing parts of their argument. Aayla tells Quin to listen to his arguments; his words. He has truly gone deeper into the dark side. He adamantly states that is not true. He only has the Separatists convinced of that, but it's not true.

He is suddenly hit in the shoulder by a blast from Bly's gun. Aayla jumps in front of Bly to block further shots as Quin escapes without the SIP.

The manage to get a shuttle and make it back to the fleet. Aayla calls in a report to Yoda over the holocomm. Yoda is obviously troubled by Vos's return and actions, but Aayla tells him that he could have killed her if he had wanted to.

Bly doesn't understand all of this. His duty is the mission. He speculates that Aayla's connection to Quin is the flaw in her armor; but for him, he's just doing his duty.


Related Issues
Republic #63


Trade Paperbacks and Alternate Covers
Star Wars Omnibus: Clone Wars – The Enemy on All Sides #2 Clone Wars Trade Paperback #6



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