- "…a Force technique permitting […] the projection of phantoms across space. It appears in every way to match the lost technique of Darth Vectivus."
Force phantoms were the product of an elaborate Sith ritual that allowed a darksider to create lifelike apparitions from the siphoned Force energy of another life form, irrespective of sentience, and project them across the expanse of the cosmos. An ability that required considerable mental reserve and strength of will, Force phantoms manifested in the physical realm and served whatever inclinations that their creator desired. Their insidious nature was only revealed when they were destroyed, at which time the being or creature to which the phantom was anchored also perished. The power was developed and perfected by the Dark Lord Darth Vectivus, and much later—by 40 ABY—the technique had been thought lost among modern Sith. On the contrary, the rituals for conjuring Force phantoms had been discovered and mastered by the Sith Lady Lumiya, and later the Twi'lek Dark Jedi Alema Rar, both of whom brought them to bear heavily during the Second Galactic Civil War. The secret of their creation was coveted by several beings during that same time, but none so highly as the members of the mysterious One Sith Order, which, rather than allow access to such power to fall into the hands of the Jedi Knights, destroyed the former asteroid home of Darth Vectivus, which was also the source from where the last known practitioners harnessed the dark side for the creation of Force phantoms.
- "Every phantom you see here, every one you encounter, is connected to something that is distinctly real, distinctly alive—though possibly far, far away."
"No, I'm not. You struck, and somewhere, some creature, perhaps a baby bantha, squealed in pain and was severed, killed before the disbelieving eyes of its mother—"
"Why? It's the truth. Baby banthas are quite cute, you know. A terrible shame to see one cut in half."
- ―Darth Vectivus explains the incongruity of Force phantoms to Nelani Dinn
Force phantoms were the result of a complex Sith ritual that was dependent on the availability of a subject, sentient or otherwise, with sufficient mental facility and vitality to sustain the influence of the initiator. Through the Force, the darksider searched for the mentality of an unsuspecting target to serve as an anchor in reality; foreknowledge of the prey's whereabouts served to expedite the process, but was not required. The target aura was perceived in color and distinct from that of the originator's, whose own influence surrounded the victim in bright sparks of Force energy. Once securely affixed to the initial subject, the creator withdrew his or her influence and sought out another pliant mentality capable of also withstanding their prolonged assertion. The range of possibilities manifested in a variety of hues, and only through close scrutiny of each was an optimal host discovered. Species, gender, physical health, and current cognitive state were all ascertainable through the inspection, and each lent weight toward the eventual selection. The creator ultimately attached himself or herself to this mind and began to drain life energy in a manner akin to that of a spectral parasite. The extracted essence was then given corporeal form and shaped into whatever likeness the creator desired, to travel wherever in the galaxy the conjurer chose. Force-sensitives who concentrated saw a phantom's arrival fill their vision, while beings who had not expected one's presence were startled by the sudden appearance. Those not attuned to the Force witnessed a shimmering form develop right before their eyes.
- "Coordinating the actions of several Force phantoms at once? Very tiring. Try it sometime."
- ―Lumiya, exhausted by the control of multiple, simultaneous Force phantoms
While an effective and convenient ability, the mere ritualistic preparation of Force phantoms was an extremely exhausting process. The harvested life essence could do nothing to replenish the reserves of the darksider, and, without sufficient rest, the conjurer was beset with fatigue. Greater distance made the procedure additionally taxing, and prolonged long-range projection riddled the body with tremors as the creator struggled to maintain concentration. Because of the depleting nature of the technique, copious reserves of Force energy were required, usually those found in reservoirs of dark side power. The inexperienced were compelled to sleep for days at a time as they built up the necessary tolerance to its effects. If interrupted, the projection wavered as would a piece of fabric in a breeze; if focus was totally broken, or the creator was overextended, the illusion disappeared. Phantoms were restricted to the gravitational standards of the world where the host was located and were unable to fight with ranged weapons, instead forced to make do with the limits of their physical extensions.
Various sensor applications were able to expose a Force phantom's duplicity; through preliminary examination, the apparitions radiated with considerably more haziness than actual flesh and blood. Infrared scrutiny revealed a monotonously consistent hue, much different from the spectrum of color emanated by living beings. Both radar and sonar pings revealed their nonexistence, as Force phantoms had no real mass to reflect the signals. Force-trained individuals saw not only what was projected, but also the life to which the phantom was attached.
- "Hello, dear. You realize you're dead."
"Of course I'm dead. I've been dead for years. But it doesn't mean I don't exist."
"Well, that's the point, isn't it? The doctors all say that you don't, that your very existence rests only in my mind. But they say I'm getting better."
"I don't exist just in your mind. I exist in fact. Phantoms of the mind can't open a door and free you, can they?"
- ―Admiral Matric Klauskin and a Force phantom of his wife, conjured by Lumiya
From espionage to harassment of the enemy and even simple communication, Force phantoms were a practical means to a variety of ends. Conjurers frequently appeared as themselves, with full access to their breadth of Force abilities and lightsaber skill and fully capable of inflicting harm. They usually materialized in their true form, at times physically-enhanced or not in their particular likeness at all. Darksiders commonly attacked their foes by projecting multiple simultaneous phantoms, such as swarms of creatures like mynocks, forcing the quarry to divide their attention while also defending themselves. Those followers of the Jedi way who were unfamiliar with the phenomena mistook phantoms for Force ghosts. When their true nature was revealed, Jedi were especially confounded, given the potential innocence of the beings to whom each apparition was attached; damage suffered by the phantom was in turn transferred to the life it was anchored to. Manifestations of loved ones also worked to bewilder the creator's adversaries and challenged the sanity of non-Force-sensitives, who rationalized the occurrences as ghost sightings or close encounters with "phantoms of the mind."
- "Even as I speak, I am unaware of myself. Of thinking, of decision making. Could I, in fact, be nothing?"
"No, I can feel you. Gleaming in the Force. Shining with the dark side."
"That's not me. That's whomever I am connected to."
- ―Darth Vectivus reveals his nature as a Force phantom to Nelani Dinn
The Force phantom technique was invented by Darth Vectivus, a Sith Master whose lair was a palatial asteroid abode situated over a nexus of dark side energy. Vectivus perfected the technique and even retained the ability after his death, but widespread knowledge of the ritual was believed by succeeding Sith to have been lost over the centuries. By 40 ABY, current Dark Lady of the Sith Lumiya, who had since taken up residence in Vectivus' former habitat, encountered the spirit of the deceased Sith Lord and learned his ancient power. With it, she relentlessly tormented Galactic Alliance Defense Fleet Admiral Matric Klauskin by appearing as his late wife Edela. Lacking Force sensitivity or the technological means to discern the truth, Klauskin was driven insane. As the galaxy descended into instability, Lumiya utilized her ability to distress her long-time enemies, Jedi Masters Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker, with simultaneous apparitions of their nephew and son, who also fought phantoms of their uncle and mother, respectively. Shortly afterward, young Skywalker and Jedi Knight Nelani Dinn were beleaguered by a multitude of mynock phantoms in the bowels of the asteroid, all conjured by Lumiya. A separate phantom of Darth Vectivus himself then appeared only to Dinn with ominous warnings. Lumiya, meanwhile, created a Force phantom of Darth Caedus, the Sith Lord whom Jacen Solo would become, as she attempted to seduce him to the dark side. The Dark Lady later appeared to Solo on the planet Coruscant, after she had suffered crippling wounds in combat with Grand Master Skywalker. Her injuries caused visible strain, but Lumiya's tremendous strength of will allowed her to perform the ritual successfully. Solo recognized and marveled at the practicality of the ability and desired to learn it for himself. As the Second Galactic Civil War progressed, Lumiya continued her phantasmal manipulation of Admiral Klauskin, who eventually retired from active military service.
Following Lumiya's death on the Hapan world of Terephon, her asteroid home was appropriated by the Dark Jedi Alema Rar, who, with much practice and study of notes left behind by the Dark Lady, became a consummate wielder of the Force phantom ability. Rar likened herself to a goddess as she occupied the uppermost chamber of the habitat and infused herself with enough of the asteroid's pooled darkness to create an infinite number and variety of Force phantoms. The insane Twi'lek preferred to display a revitalized body, one she considered beautiful and eternal, that was conspicuously without the farrago of deformities that had since become her most recognized appearance. Her projections also included flocks of giant mynocks, which she used to endlessly badger various members of the Solo family. Members of the One Sith Order secluded on the planet Korriban, who had been under the impression that Vectivus' technique was lost to history, became remarkably interested in its resurfacing. When they learned that Rar was the current master of the ability, one of their number, the Sith Lord Dician was ordered to annex the asteroid habitat and take the Twi'lek into custody so that the Korriban Sith might extract the secrets of Force phantom creation from her. Dician, however, made her superiors aware of the Jedi's interest in Rar as well as their imminent convergence upon the asteroid, and the mission changed from one of capture to one of destruction. From her flagship, the Poison Moon, Dician obliterated the asteroid with fission bombs, just after the departure of a Jedi strike team that had infiltrated the asteroid and assassinated Rar. With the Dark Jedi's death and the asteroid's destruction, the secrets of Force phantom creation were effectively eradicated.
Behind the scenesEdit
Force phantoms first appeared in Legacy of the Force: Betrayal, the introductory novel in the nine-part Legacy of the Force series. It went on to feature as the primary means of Force harassment employed by the series' main dark side–wielding antagonists in Legacy of the Force: Exile and Legacy of the Force: Fury. The ability was ambiguously mentioned in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia's entry for Darth Vectivus and received a specific reference in Fate of the Jedi: Omen, the second book in the Legacy of the Force–succeeding, nine-part Fate of the Jedi series.
- Legacy of the Force: Betrayal (First appearance)
- Legacy of the Force: Exile
- Legacy of the Force: Fury
- Fate of the Jedi: Omen (Mentioned only)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, III ("Dinn, Nelani," "Vectivus, Darth")
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Legacy of the Force: Exile
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Legacy of the Force: Betrayal
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 Legacy of the Force: Fury
- ↑ Legacy of the Force
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 298 ("Vectivus, Darth")
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 190 ("Dinn, Nelani")
- ↑ Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice
- ↑ Legacy of the Force: Inferno