by Timothy Zahn
More curious twists. Jack and Draycos happen to be near the planet where his parents last were – before dying in a supposed accident. Jack decides he can\’t pass up the chance to visit the place, and get some closure. Upon landing they are promptly accosted by an alien group that lives in a secluded canyon. (I happened the really like the naming convention of the aliens- it was quite unique). These aliens claim to recognize something about Jack and press him into service as a judge, to settle disputes they\’ve had lingering for years. Because the last set of assigned judges in their community- provided by the intergalactic entity- died under suspicious circumstances. Jack quickly realizes that something else is going on in this alien colony, and he\’s determined to get to the bottom of it. So he pretends to accept his new role (using the manipulative and people-reading skills he learned from his criminal uncle) while practically living in captivity and sending Draycos (whose existence is still a secret) out at night to spy around. But then he finds out that events in the past here involved his own parents- and if he\’s not careful, his old enemies might turn up to finish him off before he can expose things. Meanwhile there\’s a parallel storyline of Alison and her new alien/dragon companion Taneem, who have been captured by the enemy who coerce them into opening the safe that was owned by the advance team of Draycos\’ people- which will give them the coordinates of the arriving remnants of his race. Alison and Taneem have to outwit the enemy while hoping to gain access to that information themselves, but the reader is starting to wonder if Alison has her own, darker motives as well. Just like the other stories in this series, there\’s plenty of action, intrigue, and delving into ethics, especially between Jack and his K\’da companion with his high standards of self-imposed chivalry.