- "If an Empire cannot protect its Emperor then that Empire must be deemed a failure. It collapses not only because its central figure is gone, but because it must not be allowed to remain!"
- ―Emperor Sheev Palpatine, to Gallius Rax
The Contingency was a plan devised by Emperor Sheev Palpatine to ensure that the Galactic Empire would not outlive him. The task of putting the Contingency into effect was given to Gallius Rax, the Emperor's protégé. Ultimately, the plan was to destroy the planet Jakku along with the remnants of the Empire and its adversaries. In the aftermath of the Emperor's death at the Battle of Endor, Rax initiated the Contingency by scouring several worlds including Naboo. He also arranged for the deaths of several Imperial Military commanders, and allowed the opposing New Republic to win a succession of victories against the Empire. In secret, Rax intended to create a new Empire in the galaxy's Unknown Regions with the aid of a select group of Imperials.
As the self-appointed Counselor to the Empire, Rax gathered the remnants of the Empire to Jakku where he intended to destroy both Imperial and Republic forces in accordance with the Contingency. However, he was prevented from fulfilling the final stage of the plan by Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, who fatally shot Rax during the Battle of Jakku. The mortally wounded counselor urged Sloane to escape into the Unknown Regions, informing her that she now served the Contingency in his place.
The Contingency was a secret plan devised by Emperor Palpatine to ensure that the Galactic Empire did not outlive him should he die prematurely. The first part of the Contingency was the Jakku Observatory, an underground storehouse and repository in the Plaintive Hand plateau which was built over a borehole which led to Jakku's core. Palpatine and his Adviser Yupe Tashu had initiated the construction of the Observatory and the borehole three decades prior to the Battle of Jakku. Palpatine used an army of droids to build the facility. The Contingency involved pouring Sith relics and artifacts down the borehole to detonate Jakku's core, triggering a cataclysm that would destroy the planet and the orbiting Imperial and enemy forces. Using the analogy of a Shah-tezh game, Palpatine viewed this as a means of destroying both the Empire and his enemies.
The second part of the Contingency was Gallius Rax, a human native of Jakku whom Palpatine had taken in as a protege. After encountering Rax in 30 BBY, Palpatine tasked the boy with guarding the site. After Rax had proven his service, Palpatine rewarded him by inducting him into Imperial service. Palpatine arranged for him to become a Commander in the Naval Intelligence Agency before rising to the rank of Fleet Admiral. In the event of his own death, Palpatine intended for Rax to carry out the Contingency, referring to it as the latter's destiny. In order to transmit posthumous orders, Palpatine had special sentinel droids built to communicate with Rax and other "worthy" Imperial officers.
The third part of the Contingency involved Rax and a select number of Imperial officers and personnel fleeing into the Unknown Regions using secret hyperspace coordinates. Using information gleaned from Admiral Thrawn, the ancient computers housed inside the Jakku Observatory plotted routes through the Unknown Regions. Once a safe route had been found, Rax arranged for the Emperor's Super Star Destroyer Eclipse to travel in advance to the Unknown Regions. There, Rax planned to form a new Empire.
After Palpatine perished at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, the Contingency was activated. Operation: Cinder, which involved the scouring of Naboo and many other planets, was part of the plan. The-now Fleet Admiral Rax, however, attempted to change the nature of the plan to his advantage so he could start a new Empire of his own. In the period following the events on Endor, Rax engineered the deaths of numerous Imperial commanders by leaking information about Imperial fleet movements and the emergency summit on Akiva to the New Republic, the successor to the Rebel Alliance.
Rax kept his plan a secret from even his subordinates including Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, who disliked his secretive style of leadership, and his Shadow Council, an advisory council consisting of senior Imperial officials and commanders. After Sloane was presumed lost or captured during the attack on the New Republic capital of Chandrila, Rax assumed leadership of the Imperial remnants as Counselor to the Empire. He then ordered his forces to assemble at Jakku for a final showdown with the New Republic. Unknown to the Shadow Council, Rax was planning to kill them with the exception of the former Commandant Brendol Hux; whom he regarded as essential to the Empire's future.
On Jakku, Rax put the Contingency into motion by setting the stage for a massive battle with the New Republic. Intending to destroy the "Old Empire", Rax got Commandant Hux to train local children into a force of soldiers who would become the foundations of his planned new Empire. While the battle was raging, Rax and Tashu poured Sith relics down the planet's core in order to trigger a cataclysm. Rax then killed Tashu as part of the Contingency. Before he could escape offworld with Hux, Armitage Hux, and the child soldiers aboard a replica of Palpatine's yacht Imperialis, Rax was killed by Sloane with the help of the rebel operatives Norra Wexley and Brentin Lore Wexley.
In his last dying moments, Rax told Sloane that she now served the Contingency and told her to accompany the others aboard the Imperialis to the Unknown Regions where the Emperor's flagship Eclipse was waiting in uncharted space. The attrition afflicted by the Contingency helped bring about the Empire's defeat during the Battle of Jakku. Following the Battle of Jakku, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda formally surrendered the Empire to the New Republic and signed the Galactic Concordance in 5 ABY.
Several Imperial remnants rejected the treaty and continued to hold out in the months following the end of the Galactic Civil War, although they were few in number as a result of the Emperor's Contingency. Other Imperial forces fled into the Unknown Regions using secret hyperspace coordinates. Chafing under New Republic restrictions and war reparations, the "Old Empire" eventually withered away into a remnant of hardliners that relocated to form the First Order, a military junta dedicated to overthrowing the New Republic.
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