Joss and Pikka Adren were actually some of the first characters introduced from The High Republic when the first part of Starlight Short Stories was published in Star Wars Insider #199 in December 2020. The series, which will trade hands between writers Soule, Cavan Scott, and Justina Ireland, will focus on characters stationed on the Starlight Beacon. The station thus far has been presented as a projection of the optimism, prosperity, and subtly the power, of the Republic to the Outer Rim. It has been a symbol and not much more so far in High Republic content as we have spent very little time on Starlight Beacon. With these short stories, we will get to experience and further understand the scale and importance of this location. The first part of these stories that chronicles the journey Joss and Pikka take was written by Soule and concluded in this month’s Insider #200 issue so here are my thoughts:
Note: Because these are short stories, I will completely spoil the plot so be warned.
Go Together: Part One
Since this story was published before Light of the Jedi release and was, essentially a prequel, we get a little insight into daily life on the Starlight Beacon. Considering that this station is the main symbol of the Republic and the base for major characters like Avar Kriss, it is a clever narrative shift to publish short stories on side characters that make appearances in the flagship novels. And Joss and Pikka were very much side characters in Light of the Jedi (I didn’t mention them in my review) but they were vital to saving people during The Great Disaster and, we find out through these stories, very vital to the Republic overall.
Their pre-Great Disaster life was serving as Project Managers on Starlight Beacon and we first meet them backing their bags, having finished the job of getting the station prepped and ready in time for the opening ceremony. The husband and wife are getting ready to leave on a much-needed vacation, taking the first cruiser back to Coruscant, when Pikka notices an unusual power surge. Something that might have been brushed off by other project leads bothers Pikka and Josh enough to try and investigate before trying to make their cruiser off the station.
On their way to investigate, we get cameos by Jedi Avar Kriss, Burryaga, Nib Assek, and several other Jedi. Burryaga shows his tendencies for knowing exactly how other people are feeling and senses the anxiety in Pikka and has his Master Assek make an excuse for the couple to go on their way. Once at the circuit of the power surge, they realize their concern was completely warranted as it is a circuit to the main reactor and, after flirting with being electrocuted to death, the two fix the problem and make it aboard the cruiser, The Third Horizon. Unfortunately for them, the beginning of Light of the Jedi has started and their ship exits hyperspace as the Admiral’s voice comes over the intercom asking for passengers with piloting, rescue, or medical experience to help with a “system-wide mass casualty event.” So, Joss and Pikka are off to help and play their part in The Great Disaster relief, together.
Go Together: Part Two
The second and final part of Joss and Pikka’s story takes place after the events of Light of the Jedi and finds the couple in a meeting with Supreme Chancellor Linah Soh, Avar Kriss, Admiral Pevil, and other Republic Defense members. Everyone is being debriefed from the events of the battle between the Nihil and the Republic Defense Coalition. Much of the Republic fleet was destroyed and most of the pilots able to navigate their way out of the battle were Jedi so the Chancellor, Jedi Masters, and Admiral ask Joss and Pikka one simple question: How were they able to do what many in their Republic fleet couldn’t? Maneuver with precision and speed to make it out alive. Joss is, understandably, defensive about answering their questions (though we don’t yet know the extent of why) but Pikka becomes resolve to tell the truth: Pikka sliced the security systems on the Longbeam to improve the ship’s maneuvering capabilities and because Joss is a top pilot, he was aware of what the ship could handle. After sparing with Republic officials for messing with one of their ships, Admiral Pevil proposes a new line of work to Joss and Pikka: join a special task force to hunt down Nihil. Despite what some Republic members and Jedi perceive from other novels, apparently, Chancellor Soh and Admiral Pevil have their doubts. We, the readers, of course, know they should and it looks like Joss and Pikka will be a part of confirming this for the Republic.
And that is the end of Charles Soule’s Go Together and the beginning of Joss and Pikka’s new role in The High Republic era. These two, which truly seemed like side characters in Light of the Jedi might be more important to the overall story the High Republic team has constructed. It also made one thing very clear: Joss and Pikka are a team, in everything and understand each other on a level even stronger than most Jedi. Soule does a really great job conveying a couple who are “ride or die” and could potentially set them up for a heartbreaking end (if Soule and company would dare go down that dark road). Soule has created them for a reason and these short stories in Star Wars Insider are great avenues to dig into these side plotlines.
The stories are available in Star Wars Insider #199 and #200 and can be found on digital magazine publishing sites.