- "There are sixty-eight warships here already, all of them engaged in a twelve-way glaring contest with each other, all of them ready to jump if any of the others so much as sneeze. There has got to be someone here who can mediate any problems before they collapse into all-out war."
- ―Garm Bel Iblis
The Battle of Bothawui in 19 ABY was, along with the Battle of Yaga Minor, the final clash between the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant. Though it marked the end of the Galactic Civil War which began with the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire, it nearly became the beginning of a new civil war over the Caamas Document.
Early in the Caamas Document crisis, the resurrected "Grand Admiral Thrawn" really the con-artist Flim sent three Imperial-class Star Destroyers to the Both system. The lead vessel was the Tyrannic under the Kuati Captain Nalgol. The Obliterator under Captain Trazzen and the Ironhand under Captain Argona were also deployed, together with a few small scout vessels in civilian disguise. All three Star Destroyers were assigned to moor themselves to a comet and lie in wait, with their cloaking devices engaged. When Imperial saboteurs caused a failure in Bothawui's planetary shields and instigated a battle between pro- and anti-Bothan forces in Bothawui orbit, they would then be ready to destroy both fleets and devastate the surface of Bothawui.
In the meantime, Imperial Intelligence agents helped inflame tensions over the Caamas Document and the allegations of Bothan collusion in the Caamasi genocide. Led by agent Navett, the Imperials committed acts of sabotage and instigated riots on several planets, including Bothawui. These acts of violence combined with pre-existing tensions over the Caamas question and other conflicts and grievances between New Republic members. It appeared that the New Republic government was unable to stop the spread of violence. Indeed, General Wedge Antilles had been unable to stop Leresen forces from destroying a zero-gravity crystal factory in Bothawui orbit as revenge for the death of two Leresai in the Bothawui riot.
Soon, over fifty-six vessels had arrived in the Both system, either to threaten or to defend the Bothans. This number would quickly increase: by the time of the final battle, the combined pro- and anti-Bothan forces contained nearly two hundred capital ships. The New Republic only had a token force in-system to keep the two fleets apart. They were assisted by a handful of neutral vessels, including an Action II transport from Pakrik Minor commanded by Carib Devist. Devist was a clone of the Imperial war hero Soontir Fel, and a former member of an Imperial sleeper cell, but he had recently defected to the side of the New Republic. A larger New Republic force, commanded by General Garm Bel Iblis, was supposedly near Kothlis, but this force was really massing in the Mrisst system for the raid on Yaga Minor.
The New Republic suspected that the Imperial Remnant was manipulating these tensions. Correctly assuming that the Imperials intended to sabotage Bothawui's shields to allow the anti-Bothan forces to bombard the planet, General Garm Bel Iblis sent Wedge Antilles and Corran Horn to go undercover to investigate and forestall possible Imperial sabotage. In the city of Drev'starn, they were joined by Moranda Savich, an agent of the smuggler Talon Karrde on a similar mission. Navett's team—himself, Klif, Pensin, and Horvic—was rattled by their activities. This led to constant changes in the timetables for attack that Navett would send to Captain Nalgol via the disguised support vessels. However, Antilles and Horn were called away to join Bel Iblis' raid on Yaga Minor, and Savich was unable to contact Bothan authorities due to her criminal status.
As tensions continued to build, Leia Organa Solo and the Caamasi Senator Elegos A'Kla arrived in the Millennium Falcon after preliminary secret peace negotiations with Imperial Admiral Gilad Pellaeon. Their arrival interrupted a near-skirmish between the Ishori flagship Predominance and four Diamalan and Sif'krie vessels. The two dignitaries and their Noghri bodyguards were escorted to a New Republic corvette carrying Chief of State Ponc Gavrisom. They were soon joined by Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, who had returned on Calrissian's yacht Lady Luck from a mission to recover the Caamas Document from Bastion.
The New Republic dignitaries had to buy time. Lando Calrissian went on board the Diamalan flagship Industrious Thoughts to meet with Diamalan Senator Porolo Miatamia. Meanwhile, Organa Solo and Gavrisom went to talk with the Ishori leader, Captain Av'muru. Han Solo announced to both sides that he had the complete Caamas Document, which would show which Bothan leaders had colluded with Emperor Palpatine to destroy Caamas, but that he would not give it up until both sides backed down. Even if the two fleets did back down, however, he knew that this would not resolve the issue—his copy, which was given to him by "Thrawn" (i.e., Flim) himself, was altered by the Imperials and therefore worthless.
The battle beginsEdit
Back in Drev'starn, Moranda Savich started a fire in the pet store Navett was operating as a front. This forced the saboteur's hand, causing Navett's team to begin their sabotage operation early. While, Navett and Klif took down the shields near Drev'starn, Pensin and Horvic infiltrated the Predominance and fired on the city. They also jammed the frequencies carrying Gavrisom's plea for calm, and sent false orders to several of the flotillas in the system (including the Corellians, Mon Calamari, Diamalan, and Ishori ships) to begin their attack. The cloaked Star Destroyers, whose crew had become frustrated by endless delays in Navett's plans, were caught unready as the operations were suddenly moved up. Nevertheless, they went into position as the pro- and anti-Bothan ships began firing on each other.
During the melee, the Millennium Falcon (with Han Solo and Elegos A'Kla on board) and Devist's Action II transport came across the cloaked Tyrannic. The two freighters were caught in the Star Destroyer's tractor beam. Though they were behind the Tyrannic 's cloak, Leia Organa Solo could sense a disturbance in the Force from her husband's discovery. Lando Calrissian also noticed the Falcon 's disappearance. After convincing Senator Miatamia to use a diplomatic channel to contact Leia, they deduced that Han dropped into a cloaking shield. Leia used the Force to adjust the Predominance's helm controls, and helped Gavrisom convince Captain Av'muru to continue on an intercept course towards the comet. Lando convinced the Diamala to follow. Meanwhile, Devist's freighter had launched twelve TIE/IN interceptors (repainted with New Republic markings), which destroyed the tractor beam emplacements holding the two freighters in the cloaking field. As the Falcon escaped, revealing the Imperial ruse, all three Star Destroyers dropped their cloaks.
The pro- and anti-Bothan forces, faced with a common enemy, began the attack. Lando Calrissian accepted a temporary renewal of his General's commission from President Gavrisom and took command of the combined fleets. Han Solo used Borsk Fey'lya's private communication channel to call on his clan's private security forces for reinforcements - but ensured that his call leaked to other Bothan clan leaders. With the approximately 110 capital ships remaining from the first phase of the battle, and the one hundred Bothan starfighters and small capital ships arriving as reinforcements, Captain Nalgol realized to his chagrin that he was outmatched. The Imperials beat a hasty retreat to Bastion, intending to demand from "Thrawn" an explanation for his plan's failure.
- The Essential Chronology
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 102 (CAA2, Caamas Document)
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Essential Reader's Companion