|Battle of Mindor|
The Battle of Mindor was fought between the New Republic and the forces of Shadowspawn, as part of the campaign for the control of the Inner Rim. Following the death of Emperor Palpatine, several of the surviving Emperor's Royal Guards joined forces with the former Imperial Intelligence operative Cronal—Lord Shadowspawn—in attacking the worlds of the Inner Rim. Using the planet Mindor as a base of operations, his shadow stormtroopers committed acts of terrorism and piracy, in addition to wholesale slaughter against worlds allied to the New Republic—the successor to the Alliance to Restore the Republic.
Shadowspawn also proclaimed himself as the new Galactic Emperor in attempt to breed fears of an Imperial—and Sith—resurgence. In response to this threat, the New Republic dispatched Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker—now a general—to free the worlds of the Inner Rim that Cronal had conquered, resulting in a protracted and bloody string of battles that left thousands dead. Seeking to lure Skywalker into a trap, Shadowspawn devised a trap for the Jedi by entrenching his forces on Mindor.
Skywalker soon attacked the planet with the aid of the other Heroes of Yavin, and the pilots of Rogue Squadron. In the ensuing battle, Shadowspawn inflicted heavy casualties on the Republic and their Mandalorian allies at the expense of the lives of his own men. Having ambushed the Republic's Rapid Response Task Force above Mindor, his stormtroopers then engaged the Republic's ground forces. Rather than facing his foes by himself, he used meltmassif stones to control the minds of Pawns who assumed the role as decoys for the real Cronal.
The arduous battle finally ended when Fenn Shysa's Mandalorian Protectors helped turn the tide in favor of the New Republic. Shadowspawn's men fought to the death, resulting in the loss of all Imperial combatants. Shadowspawn had died in that battle, but somehow revived himself through means of the the dark side of the Force and would go on to serve the resurrected Darth Sidious. Disgusted at what he perceived to be tremendous waste, Skywalker resigned from the New Republic military as a result of the events on Mindor, and focused on his Jedi studies.
Following the death of Emperor Palpatine, several of the surviving Emperor's Royal Guards joined forces with the former Imperial Intelligence operative and Dark Jedi Cronal—better known as Lord Shadowspawn. Together, they were able to capture and hold the Inner Rim while using the planet Mindor as their base of operations.
Deploying the forces available to him including shadow stormtroopers, Cronal committed acts of terrorism and piracy, in addition to wholesale slaughter against worlds of the New Republic—the successor to the Alliance to Restore the Republic. His TIE/D Defender wings had launched several raids against worlds in the Mid Rim; causing much destruction and deaths, and kidnapping people on selected worlds.
Due to the widespread devastation, these people were assumed dead by the authorities. In reality, they were sent to Lord Shadowspawn's Sorting Center on Mindor where they were forcibly dragooned into becoming his Pawns. These were mere extensions of his will whom he could control. It was Shadowspawn's hope that he could break the Republic's hold on the galaxy and breed fears of an Imperial—and Sith—resurgence. Thus, he declared himself to be the new Galactic Emperor, intending to fully restore the Galactic Empire.
In response, the Republic dispatched the Jedi Luke Skywalker—now a general—to lead a campaign against Shadowspawn to free the worlds of the Inner Rim he had conquered. This resulted in a protracted and bloody string of battles that left thousands dead. Prophecy had told Shadowspawn that he would have to face one significant obstacle, which he surmised to be Skywalker. Looking forward to the confrontation, the warlord devised a trap for the general.
Toward the end of the campaign, his troops entrenched themselves on Mindor in preparation for Skywalker's inevitable assault. There, Shadowspawn hoped to lure both Skywalker and the Republic into a trap. The Rapid Response Task Force was sent to Mindor to end Lord Shadowspawn's plans for conquest. Although the Response Force faced no capital ship opposition, the forces of Shadowspawn had enough hangar bases on Mindor and nearby asteroids to launch over a thousand TIE Series starfighters.
Shadowspawn's stormtroopers were entrenched in fortified pockets across the world, and Republic forces would be forced to knock out each pocket one by one. Shadowspawn had chosen Mindor because it was ringed with the debris from the Big Crush, and this debris formed a screen of randomly-moving rocks and meteors that were nearly impossible to plot. This forced the Rapid Response Task Force to either a high-risk attack using only starfighters, or carry a mission of overwhelming force, smashing the entire fleet through the debris and bombarding Shadowspawn's base from low orbit.
During the planning sessions for the battle, General Skywalker emphasized the fact that any Republic operation had to utterly destroy Lord Shawdowpawn's forces. Any survivors would be able to form their own cells of opposition, creating a situation in which the Republic would be forced to fight skirmishes on a multitude of fronts. The leaders of the Combined Defense Forces opted to launch a mission of overwhelming force. The battle plan called for the the flagship Justice to lead the RRTF into position near Mindor, using microjumps to get inside the asteroid field before deploying CC-7700/E interdiction cruisers to prevent any ships from escape into hyperspace.
Taking the Bait
At the sight of the Republic's ships, Shawdowspawn launched a small group of his starfighters, and a brief skirmish took place before an apparently unarmed shuttle hailed the Justice. The transmissions from the shuttle stated that Lord Shadowspawn himself was aboard, hoping to negotiate a cease-fire. However, the shuttle was a ruse. It contained a gravity bomb that exploded so close to the Justice; tearing the ship apart almost instantly. Other gravity mines, hidden in the rubble near the planet, were then activated, wreaking havoc with the Republic's forces and compromising the interdiction field. In the resulting confusion, the rest of Shadowspawn's forces launched from their hiding places among the asteroids, trapping the Republic vessels against Mindor.
In the days that followed, the Imperial forces on Mindor sent wave after wave of TIE Fighters and TIE Interceptors at the Republic's forces. Despite the overwhelming number of Imperial fighters, the 23rd Combat Starfighter Wing was able to gain a defensive perimeter around its capital ships. Captain Tirossk, having assumed command of the RRTF after the loss of the Justice, began using repulsors and gravity wells to collect the asteroids into cohesive groups; thus clearing a pathway that could used to escape into hyperspace.
The Republic's forces were then bolstered by the sudden appearances of a task force led by Lando Calrissian, who had learned of the problems on Mindor and was able to react in time, even recruiting a team of Mandalorians led by Mandalore Fenn Shysa to assist the Republic's forces. Meanwhile, large pieces of debris from the Big Crush hurtled into the star Taspan, creating a series of explosions on the sun's surface. These explosions spewed radiation into the surrounding system, rendering all electronic devices useless. Lando and Tirossk moved the Republic's fleet close to Mindor itself, using the planet to shield them from the radiation while allowing it to knock out the gravity mines and gravity stations that littered the asteroid field.
On the surface, Skywalker was captured by Shadowspawn, who turned out to be a figurehead created by Lord Cronal. Skywalker learned how Cronal was using meltmassif stones to control his Pawns, and with the help of Nick Rostu, managed to get free of the Imperials. Luke then had to confront Lord Cronal before he could capture Leia Organa. His friends Han Solo and Leia Organa also participated in the battle, and afterward shared a stale meal together while still surrounded by dead stormtroopers.
Lando and Shysa realized that by hiding on the dark side of Mindor they were able to bring their troops to the surface of the planet while hiding in the radiation. This allowed them to get landers and troops - both Republic marines and Mandalorians - close enough to the weapons protecting the fortress to penetrate the stormtrooper lines and breach the domes covering the gravity gun. However, this played into Cronal's hands, since it concentrated the Republic's forces in one place.
Cronal then set off the gravity stations he had buried beneath Shadow Base, lifting the entire fortress into the sky, where the Imperials were able to use their gravity gun with devastating results. Calrissian was forced to move his fleet further away from Mindor in order to avoid the growing possibility that the planet might tear itself apart after Shadow Base lifted free, hoping that his ships could defend themselves against the radiation pouring from Taspan. This allowed the Republic ships to surround Shadow Base, and then Lando put his own desperate plan into action. Using the gravity well projectors of his interdiction cruisers, Lando sent Imperial gravity bombs back to their source on Shadow Base.
After Lord Cronal was denied a chance to take over Leia Organa's body, he fled the system in an escape craft, but not before using his meltmassif connection to his military forces to compel them into a series of suicides runs at the Republic's forces. In space, the Imperial pilots flung their TIE Interceptors and TIE Defenders at the Republic's warships, smashing their fighters into the nearest capital ship. In the Shadow Base, Luke confronted Kar Vastor, who was being controlled by Lord Cronal, and was able to use the huge man's strength in the Force to confront and destroy Cronal.
With Cronal's elimination, the Imperial forces he had been controlling were freed, and laid down their arms in surrender. However, in destroying Cronal and restoring the light for the Melters, Luke was forced to set off the semi-organic deadmen switches that Cronal had installed in the meltmassif crystal networks in the brains and Crowns of his minions. Skywalker deeply regretted the fact that this led to the immediate deaths of all Imperial troops on Mindor, some 50,000 beings who were nothing but pawns in Cronal's attempt to gain power.
The Republic's warships were able to forge a hyperspace escape route from the system, and with survivors loaded in their holds, the ships barely outran the destruction of the Taspan system. The tragic loss of life caused Skywalker to resign from the military six months later, when he was unable to reconcile the unnecessary loss of life with his commitment to the Force and restoring the Jedi Order.
Like Emperor Palpatine himself, as revealed in later years, Cronal had apparently resurrected himself with the Force. He would return in the Imperial Civil War to serve the Dark Lord. However, it was also rumored that this had actually been Sate Pestage posing as Cronal and adopting his codename of Blackhole.
Behind the scenes
The Battle of Mindor was first created as a reference in Michael Allen Horne's Dark Empire Sourcebook which was published as a supplement to Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game by West End Games in June 1993. Shortly afterwards, the battle was again mentioned in Dave Wolverton's 1994 novel The Courtship of Princess Leia. The battle was further referenced and developed in Daniel Wallace and Kevin J. Anderson's The Essential Chronology in 2000.
In March 2005, Abel G. Peña further developed the Battle of Mindor in The History of the Mandalorians by introducing the role of Fenn Shysa and his Mandalorian Protectors in bringing Shadowspawn's defeat. In October 2005, the revised The New Essential Chronology depicted a painting of Luke Skywalker challenging Lord Shadowspawn's shadow stormtroopers on Mindor.
The Battle of Mindor's first actual appearance was in Matthew Stover's novel Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, which was released in December 2008. The novel adapts and expounds upon the brief account of the event given in Wallace and Anderson's two Essential Chronology editions. Stover used this battle to delve deeper into the identity of Lord Shadowspawn; a shadowy character within the Expanded Universe.
Approximately a month before the novel's release, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia revealed that Cronal and Shadowspawn were the same character. Matthew Stover stated on his blog that "Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor is my attempt to get the EU back to its pre-Zahn roots -- specifically, to evoke memories of my all-time favorite Star Wars books, Brian Daley's Han Solo novels."
While introducing new concepts like meltmassif, Pawns and the mobile Shadow Base into the Expanded Universe, the novel also recycled older concepts like the Korunnai Kar Vastor and Nick Rostu. These two characters first appeared in another of Stover's novels Shatterpoint which was centered around the Jedi Master Mace Windu. In 2009, The Essential Atlas listed the New Republic campaign against warlord Shadowspawn as taking place in 6 ABY, contrary to the date given by earlier sources.
- Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor (First appearance)
- The Courtship of Princess Leia (Mentioned only) (First identified as Battle of Mindor)
- Fate of the Jedi: Abyss (Mentioned only)
- Dark Empire Sourcebook (First mentioned)
- The Essential Chronology (First identified as Battle of Mindor)
- "The History of the Mandalorians"—Star Wars Insider 80
- The New Essential Chronology
- Fate of the Jedi: Dramatis Personae (Picture only)
- The Essential Atlas
- Star Wars Galaxy Series 5 (Card: Rebel Hero #1)
- The Unknown Regions
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 1.50 1.51 Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor
- ↑ The Essential Atlas
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The Essential Guide to Warfare
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The New Essential Guide to Characters
- ↑ The Essential Chronology
- ↑ Stover's blog post