- "Tell your master I will see him. I have business on the Emperor's skyhook. Have him meet me there in three standard hours."
- ―Darth Vader, to Guri
The Emperor's skyhook was the extravagant personal skyhook retreat of Emperor Palpatine during his reign as supreme ruler of the galaxy. The skyhook hung in low geosynchronous orbit above the Imperial throneworld of Coruscant and was tethered to the planet's surface in the Palace District of Imperial City via a long umbilical connection that provided turbolift access to the station. The Emperor's skyhook, grandiose in size and carefully protected, boasted a sprawling central park with a magnificently tailored garden of massive timbers and a climate-controlled jungle that was maintained by the Emperor's best horticulturist.
The Dark Lord Darth Vader and Dark Prince Xizor of the Black Sun crime syndicate met briefly on the Emperor's skyhook in 3.5 ABY, discussing the existence of a secret Rebel Alliance shipyard, intelligence of which Xizor offered to the Empire as a means of increasing his favor with the Emperor. In the meeting's aftermath, the Emperor arranged the death of his gardener after Xizor, greatly impressed with the man's botanical work, hired him away to work on the Dark Prince's own personal skyhook. The New Republic later gained control of the skyhook after seizing Coruscant from the Empire and used the installation to track enemy aerial traffic in Imperial City during a military operation in 7 ABY before grounding all of Coruscant's skyhooks for safety concerns.
- "Find out who is in charge of this. Offer him twice the credits he is being paid to come to work on my skyhook."
- ―Prince Xizor
Emperor Palpatine possessed a grandiose, opulent personal skyhook, a city-sized satellite installation that hung in low geosynchronous orbit over the galactic capital planet of Coruscant, above the Imperial Palace of Imperial City. The Emperor's skyhook was tethered to Coruscant's surface by a long umbilical that provided turbolift access to the orbiting structure, by which most passengers and cargo traveled. Access to the skyhook via personal transport was alternatively available. By comparison, the Emperor's skyhook was one-and-a-half times as large as Falleen's Fist, the palatial skyhook of Dark Prince Xizor, Underlord of the Black Sun crime syndicate, and far more luxurious.
The Emperor kept some of his best treasures in his huge space habitat. The skyhook's interior was dominated by an enormous central park encircled by a wide, elevated, lighted terrace that looked out over the plaza. The park, a verdant botanical garden, was maintained by a gardener, the Emperor's best horticulturist. Standing at the middle of the central park was a giant, multi-tiered fountain from which water cascaded into a series of large streams meandering throughout the garden. Flanking the fountain itself were two massive, identical humanoid statues with arms raised, holding illuminated globes above their heads. The top of the fountain extended in a spire to the park's expansive, transparent ceiling, which offered a sparkling view of the surrounding Coruscant system.
The park's flora included full-grown evergreen and deciduous trees, some topping thirty meters in height. One section of the park was climate-controlled into a thriving jungle, complete with colorful and phosphorescent flowers of every hue, and other plants among them, including a waxy, broad-leafed vine that was naturally nearly black. The oxygen-rich jungle emanated a fine odor teeming with life, a combination of wet mushrooms, leaf mold, and fresh grasses. A gentle chorus of singing birds echoed throughout the park.
As with all Imperial locations, the Emperor's skyhook maintained a special throne room reserved for the Emperor's personal use, from where he could monitor and manage all Imperial activity and contemplate the dark side of the Force. The skyhook also maintained private holocameras that visually recorded activity aboard, and, by the time of the New Republic, the orbiting structure had a security office capable of monitoring aerial traffic from the planet below.
- "I really must see about hiring your spies away from you. Especially after you stole my best horticulturist. A pity the man had that fatal lift accident before he could start working for you."
"Yes, a pity."
- ―Emperor Palpatine and Prince Xizor
During Emperor Palpatine's dominion of the galaxy, skyhooks became symbols of prestige and power in the skies over Imperial Center. Some of the Core Worlds' most prominent citizens maintained skyhooks above Coruscant as exclusive luxury retreats. The Emperor himself, being no exception, enjoyed his own extravagant and well-protected personal skyhook.
In the year 3.5 ABY, in the months following the Battle of Hoth during the height of the Galactic Civil War, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader tended to business on the Emperor's skyhook. He agreed beforehand to a requested meeting aboard the skyhook with Dark Prince Xizor, leader of the Black Sun criminal empire, who had carefully manipulated his way into the Emperor's favor in a personal bid for power. Rather than journey to the skyhook via conventional means through the station's turbolift tether, however, Vader opted to travel aboard his own personal shuttle. He preferred to be in control of his own ship and dark side mastery rather than placing his stock in a skyhook lift, which was vulnerable to internal and external ambush.
While waiting for Vader to arrive, Xizor, flanked by a dozen bodyguards, stood on a terrace balcony overlooking the sprawling central park of the Emperor's skyhook. Although Xizor cared little for botany, the grandeur and magnificence of the garden below greatly impressed him and heightened his appetite for power. The Dark Prince even considered hiring away the Emperor's gardener for his own personal skyhook. Once Vader did arrive, Xizor informed the Dark Lord of a sizable Rebel Alliance shipyard operating in the distant Bajic sector, which, unknown to the Empire, was owned by Ororo Transportation, a rival of Black Sun. By orchestrating the destruction of the Rebel base, Xizor planned to benefit twofold—his trust with the Emperor would increase, while a competitor would be greatly damaged. Once the meeting with Vader concluded, Xizor indeed instructed one of his guards to discover who was responsible for the Emperor's garden and to offer him twice his salary to work on Xizor's own skyhook.
Vader, wary of Xizor's growing influence with the Emperor, had the recordings of the meeting erased from the skyhook's holocameras and his own recordings sealed away, and did not reveal to the Emperor the source of the intelligence regarding the Rebel shipyard. Meanwhile, the Emperor's horticulturist accepted Xizor's offer, only to meet with a fatal lift accident of the Emperor's design shortly thereafter.
New Republic controlEdit
- "Your father's getting us a tracking feed from the security office onboard the Emperor's skyhook, but there is a chance some might get away."
- ―Commander Wedge Antilles, speaking of General Airen Cracken, briefs Rogue Squadron
Following the death of the Emperor and the Rebel Alliance's defeat of the Empire at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, the New Republic—the Rebellion's successor state—liberated Coruscant from Imperial rule. The New Republic eventually assumed control of the Emperor's skyhook, still in orbit of the galactic capital. In 7 ABY, the New Republic organized a mission to disrupt the Palpatine Counter-Insurgency Front (PCF), a pro-Imperial terrorist group that was preparing a strike against a bacta storage facility in Coruscant's Alien Protection Zone. The New Republic starfighter unit Rogue Squadron would be tasked with destroying all enemy speeder craft, any number of which the New Republic believed would be transporting a bomb.
Because any PCF speeder craft would be more easily able to navigate the urban maze of Imperial City than Rogue Squadron's X-wing starfighters, Alliance Intelligence Chief General Airen Cracken arranged for the Emperor's skyhook to provide Rogue Squadron with a tracking feed from the skyhook's security office during the operation. Nevertheless, as squadron Commander Wedge Antilles admitted pre-battle, some enemy craft might still slip away in the fighting. Ultimately, Rogue Squadron succeeded in stopping the terrorist group's attack, although the battle saw the escape of de facto Imperial leader Ysanne Isard from Coruscant aboard the Super Star Destroyer Lusankya.
In the wake of Isard's destructive flight from Coruscant, the New Republic Provisional Council grounded all skyhooks for safety reasons. The grounded skyhooks previously hanging over Imperial City's Palace District served as housing for survivors of the battle and allowed for the resources being used to maintain those skyhooks in orbit to go toward other endeavors.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Emperor's skyhook first appeared in the May 1996 novel Shadows of the Empire, written by Steve Perry as part of the larger Shadows of the Empire multimedia project. The skyhook's interior central park, as described in the novel, was illustrated by artists Tim Hildebrandt and Greg Hildebrandt for the series' Topps Shadows of the Empire trading card set. Choosing to depict the Emperor's skyhook allowed the Hildebrandt brothers an opportunity to paint a spectacular landscape for the set, which was one of their hallmarks as artists.
The October 1996 novel X-Wing: The Krytos Trap, written by Michael A. Stackpole, makes a passing mention of the Emperor's skyhook. The story, released simultaneously with the Shadows of the Empire series, makes several references to subjects created for the project.
- Shadows of the Empire novel (First appearance)
- Shadows of the Empire audio book
- Shadows of the Empire junior novelization
- X-Wing: The Krytos Trap (Mentioned only)
- Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook
- The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire trading cards (Card: Vader Grows Wary of Xizor)
- Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire trading cards (Card: Xizor Wants it All) (First pictured)
- "Filling in the Shadows"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 9 (Picture only)
- Star Wars: The Art of the Brothers Hildebrandt
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 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 Shadows of the Empire novel
- ↑ 2.0 2.1
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 X-Wing: The Krytos Trap
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition ("Emperor's throne room")
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 253 ("Falleen's Fist")
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Star Wars Encyclopedia ("Falleen's Fist")
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 233 ("Emperor's skyhook")
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook
- ↑ A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition ("Falleen's Fist")
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire trading cards (Card: Xizor Wants it All)
- ↑ Star Wars Encyclopedia ("Emperor's skyhook")
- ↑ Shadows of the Empire audio book
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 160 ("skyhook")
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ X-Wing: The Bacta War
- ↑ Star Wars: The Art of the Brothers Hildebrandt