|Garm Bel Iblis|
|Chronological and political information|
- "Who better to send than Bel Iblis?"
- ―Grodin Tierce
Garm Bel Iblis was a male Human Senator representing Corellia in the Galactic Senate during the final years of the Galactic Republic. Charismatic and independent, he strongly opposed the power being gradually built by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and invoked an ancient Corellian proviso in order to keep his homeworld out of the Clone Wars. When Palpatine reorganized the Republic into a Galactic Empire and declared himself Emperor in 19 BBY, Bel Iblis served in the Imperial Senate, but continued to publicly speak out against the man in spite of strains that it placed on his marriage with a pro-Imperial wife. When agents of the Empire murdered his wife and children, the Senator went into hiding and founded a militaristic resistance movement with which to fight the Imperial war machine. Although Bel Iblis was a skilled military leader, he saw the need to merge his rebellion with other resistance movements, and, after being rescued from the clutches of a bounty hunter by Galen Marek, invited the Alderaanian and Chandrilan Senators Bail Organa and Mon Mothma to Corellia, at a meeting where a Rebel Alliance was formally declared. The meeting was interrupted, however, by the Emperor's apprentice Darth Vader, whom Marek had secretly been working for. The rebel leaders were taken to the Empire's superweapon, the Death Star, but were freed by Marek in an act of rebellion against his master, and began operating the Rebel Alliance.
When Organa was killed in 0 BBY, tensions that had been escalating between Bel Iblis and Mothma came to a climax, and the Corellian left the Rebellion, forming his own private war against the Empire. Remaining mobile, the movement performed hit-and-run tactics against the Empire for years, and was eventually strengthened by six Dreadnaughts from the fabled Katana fleet. When the Empire was overthrown and the Rebellion became a New Republic, Bel Iblis remained in hiding, expecting a power-hungry Mothma to declare herself Empress. On assignment for the New Republic, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian discovered his base in 9 ABY, and convinced him to aid their government in its conflict with the resurgent Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn. Bel Iblis joined the New Republic's military as a General and proved vital in several battles; he made amends with Mothma, swallowing his trademark pride and becoming a permanent fixture in New Republic High Command, leading a retreat from Coruscant and doing battle with forces of a reborn Palpatine and later Admiral Daala.
When the Caamas Document Crisis erupted in 19 ABY, Bel Iblis was in command of a small fleet and the elite starfighter unit Rogue Squadron, and used his forces to mediate growing conflicts between feuding New Republic member states. When he was too late to stop a Leresai fleet from destroying a Bothan space station, he grew furious, and was reassigned to the important task of obtaining a complete copy of the Caamas Document from an Imperial Ubiqtorate base at Yaga Minor. Securing the services of the smuggler Booster Terrik and his Star Destroyer, the Errant Venture, he attacked the base, but his forces were caught in tractor beams and trapped by Imperial reinforcements. They were saved, however, and the crisis averted, when information quickly arrived revealing two of the Imperial leaders to be frauds, concurrently with a copy of the Caamas Document being discovered on Nirauan. The galaxy was finally at peace, and Bel Iblis retired, only to return to the military when an extragalactic race of religious zealots known as the Yuuzhan Vong began conquering the galaxy. Bel Iblis played pivotal roles in key victories at Ebaq 9, Duro, Bilbringi, and Coruscant, and the invaders were eventually defeated.
- "The Corellian sector, one of the founding fathers of the Republic, is not seceding. However, Corellia will not participate in what it deems a profound error that threatens its sovereignty."
- ―Bel Iblis, to the media
The male Human Garm Bel Iblis was born on the planet Corellia during the waning days of the Galactic Republic. He was extremely patriotic, toward both Corellia and the Republic, and was said to embody the Corellian spirit of independence. Bel Iblis served in the military for a time, learning how to operate blasters and rudimentary weaponry. In 35 BBY, he was elected as Corellia's representative in the Galactic Senate, proving to be a popular and charismatic leader and making many allies in the Senate. Among them was Fang Zar, the Senator of Sern sector, who was a close friend to Bel Iblis and shared his views on a great many things. As a young and idealistic Senator, Bel Iblis was determined to preserve freedom throughout the galaxy. He married a woman named Arrianya, who bore two of his children. His Senatorial aide was Sena Leikvold Midanyl, whom Bel Iblis was very close to.
Bel Iblis was one of few voices to speak out against Palpatine, a charismatic Senator from Naboo who ultimately became Supreme Chancellor of the Republic in 32 BBY. When the threat of Count Dooku's secessionist Confederacy of Independent Systems caused Palpatine to enact the Emergency Powers Act in 24 BBY, eliminating Chancellor term times, Bel Iblis began to grow more concerned with the Chancellor. He saw the Naboo man as a force of destruction, and suspected that Palpatine would not relinquish his power unless it was wrestled from him. Bel Iblis raised his concerns with many of his peers in the Senate, and was initially successful until Palpatine bit back, doing his part to discredit Bel Iblis and lose him influence in the Senate. Two years after Palpatine had been granted Emergency Powers, many systems were seceding to the Confederacy, and the Supreme Chancellor scheduled a vote on the greatly debated Military Creation Act for two months' time. The Act would allow the formation of an Army of the Republic—something which had not existed in nearly a thousand years—to be used against the Confederacy should a war break out. Bel Iblis was a strong opponent of the Act; while many of his fellow Senators, such as Tendau Bendon, opposed based on purely ideological grounds, Bel Iblis was also more pragmatic about the situation. He asked HoloNet News reporters how exactly such a military would be funded, and stated that he would not allow the Corellian taxpayer to fund both the Republic army and the Corellian Security Force. Bel Iblis continued to be an outspoken critic of the impending vote for weeks in the Senate, as was the entirety of Corellia.
Prior to the Military Creation Act vote, Bel Iblis arranged private talks with Corellia's Diktat, Shyla Merricope, to discuss the vote and Corellia's role in the future of the Republic. Ultimately, they decided to enact a little-known proviso called Contemplanys Hermi, which translated into Basic as "meditative solitude." The proviso allowed Corellia and its constituencies to unilaterally withdraw from all Senate activities for as long as they wished, and had not been used in over 450 years. Bel Iblis announced his and Merricope's decision in a meeting of the Senate, to the uproar of most of his fellow Senators. He was ushered out of the Grand Convocation Chamber by CorSec personnel amid cries of secession and disloyalty, and he refused to answer any questions posed by the media. He did, however, inform HoloNet News that Corellia was not seceding, but that it could not be part of a something which Bel Iblis and Merricope felt threatened the planet's independence. Bel Iblis returned to Corellia, but was criticized by many back on Coruscant, including Palpatine and Senator Orn Free Taa.
Corellia's actions sparked Palpatine to make a public address to Dooku, hoping to negotiate their differences peacefully, but Dooku spurned the offer. Ultimately, the Military Creation Act was passed, and a Grand Army of the Republic, consisting of clone troopers, was created after the Clone Wars began. Bel Iblis hoped to maintain Corellia's neutrality for the duration of the conflict but, just seven days after the Battle of Geonosis, Republic-allied Jedi clashed with Separatist forces on his homeworld. While Bel Iblis remained opposed to the war, the GAR, and Palpatine on the Senate floor, he did help the Republic during the conflict. He organized his own, personal militia, consisting of members of CorSec, and assembled a large fleet of Corellian cruisers. Bel Iblis helped repel Separatist advances on the Mid Rim throughout the war; he and his fleet often arrived in the nick of time to rescue outnumbered Jedi forces, or provided cover for Republic commandos on ground missions. Bel Iblis became a skilled military tactician during the war, although he received no decorations or official recognition for his aid. Later in the war, full-scale conflict came perilously close to the Corellian system's borders, with neighboring Duro falling to the CIS in 20 BBY. Bel Iblis was strongly criticized for not lending the support of Corellia's fleet during the Battle of Duro, though Corellia was not without its vocal allies, such as Fang Zar.
Although he was not attending regular sessions of the Senate during the war, Bel Iblis often met with other Senators, including Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and Fang Zar, who shared his views on Palpatine. Together, they began laying the groundwork for a political alliance publicly opposed to Palpatine's rule. In 19 BBY, with the threat of the Separatists almost vanquished, a group of Senators, titling themselves the Delegation of 2000, signed a petition asking Palpatine to step down; they also had serious qualms about Palpatine's new moffs, a type of regional governor which made the role of Senator almost obsolete. Bel Iblis was among those who signed the petition, though he was not in attendance when they presented it to Palpatine. However, Fang Zar was there to represent Bel Iblis' interests. Palpatine reacted angrily to the petition, calling those who had signed it traitors, though, ultimately, it did not matter: a short time later, he abolished the Republic and created the first Galactic Empire, with himself as Emperor, and began a great purge of the Jedi Order. Palpatine claimed that the Jedi had betrayed the Republic, though Bel Iblis refused to believe that it was the truth. The Senate was not dissolved, though it was in essence powerless; also, Corellia's "meditative solitude" was ended and Bel Iblis was once more compelled to attend Senate meetings.
Some months after the Declaration of a New Order, Palpatine summoned a group of Senators including Bel Iblis to his chambers to discuss with them the role of the Senate in his Empire. He told them that the Senate would continue to operate for the foreseeable future, but that his say was final: the Senators were simply his advisors. During the meeting, Mon Mothma and Bel Iblis squirmed in their seats, and did not hide their anger and dismay at the turn of events. Days later, Bel Iblis' friend Fang Zar was executed by the Empire. Palpatine's actions also strained Bel Iblis' personal life, as his wife was a firm supporter of the Empire and its modus operandi. Their marriage went downhill, and their children were often witness to heated arguments between the two. Despite this, Bel Iblis still greatly loved Arrianya and planned for the two of them to go on a second honeymoon in an effort to rekindle their marriage.
On the run
- "He can do anything he wants to me—can take anything away from me that he will. I'll still fight him because it's the right thing to do. Period."
- ―Bel Iblis, speaking about Palpatine to Aach
Bel Iblis continued to serve as an Imperial Senator for many years, retaining his popularity on Corellia. In his capacity as Senator, he opposed many of Palpatine's new policies, fighting against the creation of the Imperial war machine, the subjugation of entire worlds and their populations, and the Imperialization of major galactic corporations, ultimately all in vain. Unable to contain his anger with the new, Imperial regime, Bel Iblis surreptitiously spoke out against Palpatine in his speeches, often evoking the names of the most vaunted of the ancient Jedi, to Palpatine's fury. Bel Iblis often visited schools on his homeworld; during one occasion shortly after the formation of the Empire, an eleven-year-old boy named Han Solo asked a number of probing questions of Bel Iblis, about the Empire's treatment of non-Humans and about corruption in the Senate. Caught off guard, Bel Iblis later asked the boy his name, and made an effort to monitor his progress as he matured. Bel Iblis, Organa, and Mon Mothma continued to meet in secret at Organa's Cantham House residence on Coruscant; eventually, they decided that legitimately opposing Palpatine would never succeed, and began to discuss rebellion. Mothma was far more outspoken in her criticism of Palpatine—before long she was accused of treason, and had to flee Coruscant and go into hiding, though she continued to visit resistance movements on many worlds, spreading sedition. Bel Iblis was next on Palpatine's list.
The Senator prepared a speech for an event at the Treitamma Political Center on the planet Anchoron, in which he would denounce the Empire and reveal Palpatine's dark motives. Bel Iblis was extremely nervous about the speech, as his pro-Imperial wife would be present. Just before he was scheduled to address the congregation, he received a message in his office from "Aach," the alias of Alderaanian Senator Bail Organa's prime messenger and agent. The message told Bel Iblis to meet with Aach at the building's northeast exit immediately; worried, Bel Iblis complied and rendezvoused with Aach, who relayed a message from Organa: he had discovered information pertaining to the location of a top-secret Imperial project overseen by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, and needed Bel Iblis to send his most trusted aide to collect a datacard on the planet Darkknell. A courier would be at the Continuum Void tapcafe on Darkknell with the datadisk, and was demanding payment for the disk. Aach told Bel Iblis to give him whatever he demanded.
Their meeting was interrupted by a large explosion in the Treitamma Political Center, as agents of the Empire had planted explosives in Bel Iblis' office, intending to kill him. Aach wrestled Bel Iblis to the ground in order to avoid the blast, and the Corellian Senator was distraught at the loss of his wife and children. Aach eventually calmed him down and persuaded him to follow him to his ship, telling Bel Iblis that nothing could be done for Arrianya and the children. Aach gave Bel Iblis permission to use the Alderaanian's ship to flee, as he intended to stay on Anchoron to investigate the bombing. Bel Iblis offered to journey to Darkknell and carry out the mission, to which Aach reluctantly agreed.
Wearing a basic disguise, Bel Iblis traveled to Xakrea, Darkknell's capital city, making his way to the Continuum Void to meet with the courier of the datadisk. The datadisk had been stolen earlier that day, however, lifted from the courier's pocket by a female thief, and the courier fled Darkknell soon after meeting with Bel Iblis. The Corellian Senator would not give up, however, and decided to pay a visit to Seb Arkos, a slicer whom Aach had told Bel Iblis about, hoping that he could forge Bel Iblis a false identity so that he could attempt to track down the thief. Upon arriving at Arkos's store, he noticed CorSec Inspector Hal Horn and Imperial Intelligence agent Ysanne Isard departing the establishment, and suspected they were searching for him. He was relieved when they left without noticing him but deduced that Isard's presence meant that Director of Imperial Intelligence Armand Isard was aware of the theft of the top-secret project's location and was hunting for it.
While Arkos furnished a new identity for Bel Iblis, he watched as Trabler, Isard's assistant, fired a blaster at a woman across the street, before the two Imperial Intelligence agents and Hal Horn departed in a landspeeder. Subconsciously believing the woman might have been his wife, Bel Iblis rushed to her aid. She had a blaster wound in her shoulder, however, and fell unconscious moments after he reached her. He carried her back to Arkos, telling the slicer that she needed medical attention. Eventually, the woman recovered, identifying herself as Moranda Savich and, realizing that Bel Iblis was a rebel against the Empire, took him to her safehouse apartment in the city. Eventually, she revealed that she had been the thief who stole the datadisk, although she no longer had it in her possession, and she agreed to lead Bel Iblis to it and help him recover it in exchange for 50,000 credits. Things were complicated somewhat, however, by the fact that unbeknownst to the Imperial agent, the package was in Isard's speeder.
Hoping to lure Isard and Horn to her and create a distraction that would ensure she and Bel Iblis could retrieve the datadisk from the speeder, Savich contacted Darkknell Defense Agency officers and tricked them into sending several security landspeeders to a location near her safehouse, knowing that Isard would suspect it was related to the rebel activity. When Isard and Horn neared the tapcafe where Savich and Bel Iblis were hiding, the two rebels realized that Horn was wearing a choke-collar—it would kill him if she ordered it to or if she herself died. This compromised their plan, which entailed Bel Iblis firing on Isard while Savich sneaked into the landspeeder, as Bel Iblis did not want Horn, a good and honorable man in the Senator's eyes, coming to any harm. Savich was able to adapt the plan, though.
She contacted Horn via comlink, informing him and Isard that she had the datadisk and would hand it over for one million credits. She then recorded a message and transmitted it to Horn's comlink, ensuring that Horn and Isard would believe that they were speaking to Savich live. Savich submitted their location to Darkknell Defense, and then approached the two while the message played. Wearing a disguise, she pretended to be Allyse Conroy, an old friend of Horn's, and swiped Isard's ID card while talking to the duo. When Colonel Nyroska of Darkknell Defense arrived, Savich informed him that she was Isard and that the two others were rebels. Nyroska whisked them to the nearest cell, and Savich fled the planet after being paid by Bel Iblis, hoping to get away before her deception was discovered. Bel Iblis retrieved the datadisk from the speeder and found his way offworld, bringing the datadisk to Bail Organa.
The Alliance to Restore the Republic
- "Do you understand me? I will not send my troops on a suicide attack. And I do not recognize your authority to order them to. I did not vote to place you in charge of the Alliance, and if Bail did, then he was gravely mistaken."
"Senator Bel Iblis, I sincerely hope that was not an ultimatum."
"Yes, I guess it is. This attack plan is fundamentally flawed, and you just don't have the expertise to know it."
"I will not have ultimatums put to me, Senator. The Rebel Alliance will no longer require your services."
- ―Garm Bel Iblis, and Mon Mothma
Aided by Organa and Mon Mothma, Bel Iblis went into hiding, with many Corellians and the galaxy at large believing him dead. This was further cemented when Isard used his supposed death as part of an elaborate story to absolve herself of any blame for her failure on Darkknell, claiming that her father, Armand Isard, was a rebel and that he had ordered Bel Iblis' death in advance of Bel Iblis reading a pro-Imperial speech. The Empire scoured the galaxy for Bel Iblis, but was unable to locate him. It took a great deal of time for Bel Iblis to overcome the loss of his family; whereas before their deaths he had been considered something of a political maverick, after it he became withdrawn and sullen for many years. The Corellian Senator began making preparations for his own open rebellion, and although he maintained contact with Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, his group remained separate from theirs, as his methods for dealing with the Imperials were more direct than that of his pacifist peers.
His Corellian Resistance was quite successful, but Bel Iblis recognized that neither it nor any of the other resistance movements were equipped to effectively deal with the Empire singlehandedly. At Bel Iblis' suggestion, meetings were held between the various leaders, including Mon Mothma of the Chandrilan resistance, Bail Organa of the Alderaanian Resistance, Sian Tevv of the Sullustan resistance movement, and Duros resistance fighter Jenssar SoBilles, with the young idealist Bria Tharen acting as Bel Iblis's representative. Fearing Imperial repercussions, Tevv and SoBilles shyed away from a formal alliance. During a meeting taking place high above Bespin in the gas giant's Cloud City, Tharen convinced Winter, the adopted daughter of Organa who was appearing as his representative, to persuade her father of the necessity of joining together to fight against a common cause.
In the year 2 BBY, the Mandalorian bounty hunter Chop'aa Notimo arrived at Cloud City to interrupt the talks of rebellion. His Gungan henchman Kleef captured Bel Iblis, but the Senator was quickly rescued by Galen Marek, the Secret apprentice of Darth Vader, the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet. Unbeknownst to Bel Iblis, Marek was on assignment for Vader to rally together the Emperor's political enemies, so that they could be captured in one swift stroke. Bel Iblis was impressed by Marek's skills, and, seeing him as a strong ally in his struggle against the Empire, decided to call another meeting with Organa and Mothma. Summoning them to an ancient monastery in the mountains of Corellia, Bel Iblis argued for a consolidation of their three resistance forces into a single organization capable of striking at the Empire throughout the galaxy. Swayed by his words, the meeting's attendees—Bel Iblis himself, Mothma, Organa, Marek, the former Jedi Rahm Kota, and Organa's daughter Leia (attending via the holodroid PROXY)—drafted and signed the Corellian Treaty, which formally declared an Alliance to Restore the Republic. To their horror, the meeting was immediately interrupted by Darth Vader and a squad of Imperial stormtroopers, who stormed the meeting and captured the rebel leaders. They were imprisoned on the Imperial superweapon, the Death Star, and sentenced to die, until Marek rebelled against his master and helped the rebels escape in his starship, the Rogue Shadow.
Open rebellion against the Empire had been declared, and although Bel Iblis was instrumental in the Alliance's founding, Mon Mothma was credited by historians for its creation, and she quickly became its de facto leader. Bel Iblis would provide the Alliance with ships, Mothma with soldiers, and Organa with funds. Bel Iblis and Mon Mothma's talents complemented each other—he was a keen military strategist, she an inspirational public speaker—and the Alliance grew and grew under their and Organa's leadership. Bel Iblis had distinct views on how the Rebellion should operate, which made he and Mon Mothma frequently at odds. Many times, he advocated a military attack while his two opposite numbers vetoed him. Bel Iblis feared that Mothma was becoming addicted to power, though Organa often acted the mediator, ensuring that relations between the two rebel leaders were decent. Organa was one of few beings who could make Mon Mothma change her mind, or, in Bel Iblis's eyes, see reason. However, Bel Iblis was increasingly relegated to a more backseat role in the Alliance, while his peers made important decisions.
In 0 BBY, Bail Organa was killed when his homeworld of Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star, leaving Bel Iblis as the only Rebel senior enough to stand up to Mon Mothma. She began to siphon off more and more power for herself, and Bel Iblis suspected that, should they overthrow Palpatine, she would take his place. Bel Iblis stayed on the with the Rebellion for several months, losing many friends and finding his name on an Imperial arrest list. Some time later, Mothma gave the go-ahead for an Alliance attack on an Imperial garrison at Milvayne in the Gyrica system without seeking the approval of Bel Iblis or any of her other military advisors. Before the attack was enacted, Bel Iblis called Mothma out for her actions at an Alliance conference, requesting that she postpone and reconsider the attack. Mothma overruled him, but a livid Bel Iblis questioned her motives in ordering the attack, claiming it was simply part of a grab for power on her part. The two traded thinly-veiled insults, with Bel Iblis eventually stating that none of his troops would have a part in the attack. He felt that Mothma's Intelligence was flawed, as his own sources informed him it was in fact a heavily fortified Imperial Ubiqtorate base, which his men would be unable to deal with. For his dissent, Mothma told Bel Iblis that the Rebellion no longer required his services. He stormed out of the chamber and took his loyal supporters, including Sena Leikvold Midanyl and another aide, Irenez, away from the Alliance.
A man apart
- "You're wondering why I didn't join the Alliance. Why I chose instead to run my own private war against the Empire."
- ―Garm Bel Iblis, to Lando Calrissian
Bel Iblis decided to wage his own private war against the Empire. With Midanyl and Irenez at his side, he planned many hit-and-run attacks on the Empire, sniping from a distance but causing no real overall damage. The movement's forces continually changed bases so as to avoid detection from the Empire; one of the bases was the Aratech 520 Battle Platform Gargantuan, which Bel Iblis's forces stole from an Imperial testing facility. Eventually, they hit a goldmine when they discovered that an old gambler on the Pantolomin's famed luxury cruiser, the Coral Vanda, knew the location of the fabled Katana fleet, a group of Old Republic dreadnaughts that had disappeared years before the Clone Wars. The gambler's name was Hoffner, though he never revealed his identity to Bel Iblis. The former Senator's personnel were able to barter with Hoffner until he eventually agreed to retrieve some of the dreadnaughts for them, which he did without revealing their actual location. Over time, Bel Iblis built up his supply of the dreadnaughts until he had six of the two hundred-strong fleet in his arsenal. The former Senator's flagship was one of the Dreadnaughts, named Peregrine.
During the height of the Galactic Civil War, Bel Iblis' army's crowning achievement was a successful assault on the world of Tangrene, where his forces managed to sabotage and completely destroy an Ubiqtorate base and escape the world under the noses of three Imperial Star Destroyers without incurring any major losses or damage to their ships. While the attack was a resounding success, it opened the Empire's eyes to the threat posed by Bel Iblis' movement, and from then on they necessarily treaded carefully in an effort to ensure that the Empire could not track their movements and locate their base. Shortly after the mission to Tangrene, they established a new base, known as Peregrine's Nest. Bel Iblis later met Borsk Fey'lya, a Bothan member of the Alliance High Command who had designs on leading the Alliance. Knowing that Bel Iblis despised Mothma, Fey'lya channeled credits into the Corellian's account and helped him establish the Peregrine's Nest, hoping that Bel Iblis would prove a useful ally should the Bothan ever attempt a coup.
In 4 ABY, Mothma's Rebel Alliance was victorious at the Battle of Endor, where Darth Vader and the Emperor both perished. The Empire was thrown into disarray, and the Alliance began a push for Coruscant. Bel Iblis believed that once the remnants of the Empire were fended off, Mothma would become an Empress in all but name. Deciding that Imperial attacks would likely cease following the Emperor's death, he made Peregrine's Nest a permanent base on a planet within 150 light years of New Cov, and began stockpiling resources and ships should he need to step in and stop Mothma. For over three years they waited for Mothma to install herself as a dictator; Bel Iblis' top lieutenants recognized that she never would, and deep down, so did he, even if he would never admit to it. In 8 ABY, Grand Admiral Thrawn returned from the Unknown Regions to spearhead an Imperial campaign against Mothma's New Republic; with both sides desperate for new ships, Bel Iblis knew that if Thrawn discovered Peregrine's Nest he would take its armaments and dreadnaughts and destroy it. Bel Iblis' forces clashed with the Imperials at Linuri, though it was their last foray into Imperial space for several months.
Soon thereafter, Midanyl was meeting with Bothan Council-Aide Tav Breil'lya on New Cov to discuss Fey'lya and Bel Iblis' allegiance when an Imperial Victory I-class Star Destroyer attacked the planet. Concurrent with the attack, former New Republic Generals Han Solo and Lando Calrissian stumbled upon the meeting, and Breil'lya wished to execute them before they could inform the New Republic Provisional Council. Midanyl contacted Bel Iblis, who ordered her to bring the former Generals to him at Peregrine's Nest; he sent three Dreadnaughts to deal with the Star Destroyer and cover Midanyl, Calrissian, Solo, and Breil'lya's escape.
When Solo and Calrissian arrived, Bel Iblis arranged an appointment with the former, introducing himself and explaining to the former general that he remembered him from their meeting many years previously and had been tracking Solo's career since. Solo was amazed to learn that Bel Iblis was still alive, and was extremely respectful of the former Senator, referring to him as "sir." Bel Iblis then invited Calrissian and Solo to a lounge so that they could exchange questions and answers, but Solo's companion was far less respectful and trusting of Bel Iblis, asking him why he hadn't joined the Alliance. Bel Iblis told them very little aside from his connections to the Bothans, but promised to fill them in at a later time, when it suited him. In return, he asked them a number of questions about Mothma's role in the New Republic. Solo was married to Bail Organa's daughter Leia, who was a member of the New Republic Provisional Council; Solo was accordingly well-versed in New Republic politics and informed Bel Iblis that Mothma had less power than during the Rebellion. Bel Iblis eventually escorted the two men to temporary living quarters; Calrissian was still extremely distrustful of the former Senator, believing that the Peregrine's Nest might be a ruse orchestrated by Thrawn.
In their quarters, Calrissian was able to identify Bel Iblis' dreadnaughts as belonging to the Katana fleet, and the two eventually ran into Midanyl. She told them of Bel Iblis' falling out with Mothma and asked them to use their influence to persuade Mothma to ask him back, knowing that the former Senator would never ask Mothma himself. She also provided them with the location of the man who had given Bel Iblis' resistance movement the dreadnaughts. Bel Iblis realized they were not at their quarters, and was waiting for the trio when they arrived at Calrissian's ship, Lady Luck. Solo told Bel Iblis that the New Republic was in need of good commanders and that he should make amends with Mothma, but the Corellian refused, believing that he would look like a beggar and an old fool if he asked to be let in. Upset at Midanyl and Solo's betrayal, he left them, and the two former generals departed in Lady Luck.
- "I thought you and Mon Mothma had patched all that up."
"Oh, we have. More or less. She's invited me back into the New Republic, I've accepted her leadership, officially all is well. But old memories fade slowly."
- ―Lando Calrissian, and Garm Bel Iblis
Bel Iblis pondered his decision for several days, until Midanyl received a message from Han Solo stating that he and Calrissian had located the Katana fleet, and that the New Republic task force sent to its location had been ambushed by a larger Imperial force. Solo requested that Bel Iblis send whatever forces he could muster to the task force's co-ordinates immediately, and the Corellian obliged. He took his six dreadnaughts to the battle, announcing himself upon his arrival. Leia Organa Solo was aboard one of the New Republic vessels, and she informed Bel Iblis that Solo's request for assistance had not been sanctioned by the New Republic; however, she made the request official. The vessel's captain, Sarin Virgilio, expressed his pleasure at Bel Iblis' re-emergence, but nevertheless gave the Corellian authority to attack the Imperial force as he pleased.
Bel Iblis ordered his dreadnaughts to surround the lone Imperial Star Destroyer remaining, sending swarms of ion cannon fire while his ships' shields absorbed the damage sent at them by the Imperials. Suddenly, however, a second Star Destroyer arrived in system, and Bel Iblis split his forces to occupy the two warships. However, even with ion cannons, three dreadnaughts would be unable to fend off a Star Destroyer for long. Han Solo was aboard the Katana fleet's flagship, the Katana, which was slave-rigged to the remainder of the unoccupied dreadnaughts, and managed to send one of the other empty dreadnaughts into a collision with the newly-arrived Star Destroyer, crippling it and causing slight damage to one of the Bel Iblis' ships. The captain of the remaining Star Destroyer, realizing that the battle had turned in the favor of the New Republic, retreated. However, Grand Admiral Thrawn had managed to get a hold of over one-hundred and fifty dreadnaughts of the Katana fleet prior the arrival of the New Republic.
Bel Iblis was welcomed back to the New Republic by Mon Mothma, although each was too proud to admit past failings and make amends. The Corellian provided the New Republic with all of his contacts throughout the galaxy, and rather than being given a place on the Provisional Council, he was inducted into the military and made a general. Some members of the Provisional Council, such as Admiral Ackbar, wanted him on the Council, but Mothma maintained that he was needed on the battlefront, claiming that she had every intention of inviting him onto the Council when the threat of Thrawn had been vanquished. General Bel Iblis retained command of the Peregrine, and the prestigious starfighter unit Rogue Squadron was assigned to his command.
Bel Iblis' first conflict with Thrawn's forces occurred soon after his appointment to general, where a fleet comprised of fifteen capital ships under his command was ambushed by an Interdictor cruiser that barred the fleet from entering hyperspace and fleeing from the planet Qat Chrystac. Using the Interdictor's gravity well projectors, Thrawn used a new tactic, dubbed the Thrawn Pincer, to pull other Imperial warships out of hyperspace at the exact co-ordinates of the skirmish. Before long, Bel Iblis' Peregrine and other ships were facing over twenty Star Destroyers, including Thrawn's flagship, the Chimaera, and dreadnaughts, as well as swarms of TIE/LN starfighters. Bel Iblis sent Rogue Squadron to deal with the enemy starfighters at the edge of the system, and had an A-wing squadron ready to enter the fray. Using a new tactic, later dubbed the A-wing Slash, Bel Iblis ordered Rogue Leader Wedge Antilles to cut thirty degrees to portside on his mark. When they did so, he sent the A-wing squadron into the space they had occupied moments prior; as a result, the Imperial fighters were caught flat-footed attempting to track the Rogues, and the A-wing squadron was able to pick them off easily. By this point, however, Bel Iblis' fleet was being pummeled by turbolaser fire, and had lost one third of its ships. Bel Iblis used the A-wing slash once again to distract Thrawn's forces while the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Orthavan accelerated toward the Interdictor. Knowing that the Interdictor might not survive the encounter, Thrawn had its gravity well projectors turned off. Bel Iblis ordered an immediate retreat to Qat Chrystac's surface, where the New Republic had established a heavily fortified ground base.
His men spent some time recuperating on Qat Chrystac, and while they were there, Bel Iblis received a distress signal from Lando Calrissian, whose mining colony on Nkllon was being raided by Imperial forces. Bel Iblis accompanied a small task force to Nkllon, but by the time they arrived the Empire had already fled. Calrissian informed Bel Iblis of the repercussions: over three million credits worth of stockpiled resources had been stolen, and Nomad City, which had previously been mobile in order to avoid being melted by the sun's rays on one side of the planet, had been badly damaged. Calrissian knew that it would take more than twenty days to repair Nomad City, and, in twenty days, the dawn line would catch up with them, ruining the city and killing its inhabitants. Bel Iblis offered to transport the inhabitants to Qat Chrystac, and promised to take Calrissian directly to Coruscant to petition Leia Organa Solo to send a large ship to Nkllon to transport Nomad City offworld before it was destroyed.
They arrived on Coruscant several days later, and were granted an audience with Admiral Hiram Drayson. Calrissian requested an Assault Frigate for ten days so that he could relocate his mining colony, and Bel Iblis showed the admiral eight task forces around the galaxy that could easily spare such a ship for several days. Drayson, however, was adamant that Thrawn would take advantage of any missing ships, and repeatedly refused Calrissian's request; he was also a firm supporter of Mon Mothma, and Bel Iblis believed that may also have influenced his decision. Recognizing defeat, the two men left Drayson, hoping that Ackbar might return to Coruscant in time for Calrissian to call in a few favors.
Defense of Coruscant
- "You don't understand, Leia. This has nothing to do with me. It has to do with Mon Mothma. After all these years, I finally understand why she does things the way she does. I've always assumed she was gathering more and more power to herself simply because she was in love with power. But I was wrong…[She does it] because with everything she does there are lives hanging in the balance. And she's terrified of trusting anyone else with those lives. That's why I can't simply go down and take command. Until she's able to accept me—really accept me—as someone she can trust, she won't ever be able to give me any genuine authority in the New Republic. She'll always need to be hovering around in the background somewhere, watching over my shoulder to make sure I don't make any mistakes. She hasn't got the time for that, I haven't got the patience, and the friction would be devastating for everyone caught in the middle. When she's ready to trust me, I'll be ready to serve. Until then, it's better for everyone involved if I stay out of it…If you have to persuade her, Leia, it doesn't count. She has to decide this for herself."
"Maybe she has…We've had more than our share of differences over the years, General. But that was a long time ago. We were a good team once. There's no reason why we can't be one again."
- ―Garm Bel Iblis, to Leia Organa Solo; Mon Mothma later joined the conversation
As they made their way back to their quarters, Bel Iblis noticed the absence of any guards in the Imperial Palace, and when Calrissian's comlink was jammed, his suspicions that something was amiss were confirmed. The two made their way toward Calrissian's quarters to retrieve the former general's blaster, but en route they ran into Mara Jade, a former Emperor's Hand who was being kept in the Palace. Bel Iblis believed that she was responsible for the missing guards and communications disruption, but she informed him that a group of Imperials had infiltrated the palace. Jade accompanied them to pick up Calrissian's blaster; the group then split, with Jade and Calrissian traveling up one floor to try to warn Leia and Han Solo, while Bel Iblis went down one to try to muster up some reinforcements.
He found six well-armed security guards, and led them to where he had left Calrissian and Jade. They eventually found Jade facing off with a number of Imperials, whom Bel Iblis' men were able to force back, although their progress was impeded. An E-Web heavy repeating blaster was in the process of being transported upstairs by additional security forces, but Bel Iblis knew that by the time it arrived, the Imperials would have reached the Solos and their newly born twins. He ordered his men to try to advance and take out as many of the Imperials as they could; when the infiltrators located on the above floor arrived with hostages, he hoped to have as few enemies to deal with as possible. They managed to take out one after several minutes, but three remained. Jade's time as an Emperor's Hand gave her an intricate knowledge of the palace's secret passageways, and she left Bel Iblis, hoping to intercept the other Imperial agents and catch them unexpected.Jade was successful, and the Imperials were all killed, bar one: Major Molo Himron, whom Bel Iblis believed to be their leader. Along with Solo and Calrissian, Bel Iblis began an interrogation of Himron, asking him how he entered the palace. Himron told them that Jade had granted them access by opening several entrances from the inside. Himron was barely conscious, and the medic refused to allow Bel Iblis ask any additional questions. Bel Iblis had her temporarily arrested, despite the objections of Solo, who believed she was trustworthy after stopping the Imperials from kidnapping his children.
Several days later, Thrawn launched a major offensive against a key New Republic world: Coruscant. A small force of Imperial ships arrived in the system, including two interdictors, which arrayed themselves in a position that would allow more Imperials ships to be dragged out of hyperspace at a later time. With Ackbar offworld inspecting various military bases, Admiral Drayson was placed in charge of defending Coruscant, even if most of his subordinates suspected that Bel Iblis would have a better chance of outwitting Thrawn. Midanyl urged him to offer his help to General Carlist Rieekan, Drayson, and the other military commanders attempting to combat Thrawn's tactics, but he refused, stating that he would only take command if Mon Mothma herself asked him. He went to the observation gallery, alone, where he monitored the battle and realized that the Imperials' interdictors were going to mimic the tactic used at Qat Chrystac. Leia Organa Solo arrived moments later, hoping to take up where Midanyl had left off, but he told her to contact Drayson and inform him of the Thrawn Pincer maneuver. Organa Solo was unable to get through to the Admiral, and by the time she reached one of his subordinates it was too late. Two Victory-class Destroyers arrived, ambushing a Golan III Space Defense NovaGun.
Both Organa Solo and Bel Iblis suspected that Drayson was no match for a being of Thrawn's tactical nous; she attempted to persuade him to take command down below, but he refused. He had realized that Mon Mothma's continual gathering of power for herself was not because she wished to become a tyrant, but because so many lives were at stake and she was unable to hand over the responsibility for them. He told Organa Solo that he would only work with Mothma if she trusted him completely and asked him back. Mothma herself arrived at that moment, telling Bel Iblis that they had had their fair share of differences but that she was ready to overcome them. He accepted, and requested that he take command of Coruscant's defense.
Bel Iblis immediately pulled all forces away from the Golan defense platforms and back towards Coruscant, as the platforms could take considerably more damage than Drayson had anticipated. In pulling back the dreadnaughts defending the platforms, he gave Thrawn the option of staying put and fighting with the Golans or following the ships back toward the surface and coming within range of the ground artillery. He sent the Dreadnaught Harrier to cover them. One of his subordinates informed him that the Chimaera was using all of its launching tractor beams, even though its hangar bay was empty of any starfighters or other craft. Realizing they may have launched a cloaked ship, Bel Iblis ordered his forces to monitor the vector it would have left on and focus their sensors on its path. During their search, the EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate Evanrue was struck and badly damaged by a large, unidentified object. Believing Thrawn may have launched cloaked asteroids, Bel Iblis ordered his ships to fire ion cannons towards where they estimated the object that had struck Evanrue to be, hoping to knock out the asteroid's cloaking device and take it intact.
- "It almost doesn't matter how many are up there. Eventually, their orbits will decay, and letting even one hit ground would be a disaster. Until we've cleared them out, we can't risk lowering the planetary shield."
- ―General Carlist Rieekan
Thrawn's forces left Coruscant soon thereafter, having seemingly launched over two hundred asteroids into Coruscant's orbit. Bel Iblis, knowing how expensive cloaking devices were to construct, was of the opinion that Thrawn had only launched a few asteroids and had used his launching tractor beams to fire nothing and trick the New Republic. A conference was called between Bel Iblis, Rieekan, Drayson, Mothma, and Organa Solo. Rieekan informed them that, even if Bel Iblis' suspicions were correct, there was still a great danger: the asteroids would eventually leave orbit and collide with Coruscant, killing many. Thus, they could not risk lowering the planetary shield.
During the meeting, Colonel Jak Bremen interrupted them to inform them that Mara Jade, who was still being held in custody in the palace, had escaped. Mothma ordered Bremen to prepare a search party to confirm their suspicions that Jade had left the palace, but Organa Solo told him not to bother, as she knew where Jade was. Thrawn had been making use of clones, and Jade believed she knew where the cloning facility was located. As there was currently an information leak, dubbed Delta Source, in the palace, she, her brother Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo had opted not to inform anyone, and Skywalker and Solo had accompanied her in her search for the cloning facility. Many in the room, including Bremen and Drayson, wanted to punish Organa Solo for her duplicity, but Mothma returned their focus to the defense of Coruscant, and gave Bel Iblis a new set of tasks.
In the following days, Bel Iblis helped Organa Solo in her attempts to unearth who or what Delta Source was. He used his influence to help her set up an operations room for expert slicer Zakarisz Ghent to monitor the transmissions made in the palace and locate Delta Source. Bel Iblis was also involved in the formation of the Stardust plan along with Drayson and Rieekan, which they hoped would neutralize the threat of the cloaked asteroids. They sent several transports, including the Harrier, into orbit and had them drop dust particles in the vicinity of where they suspected the asteroids to be. The ships then fired negative ion beams into the dust and charged toward it, their sensors looking for turbulence that the visual displays and the eyes alone could not detect. On their first try, they located an asteroid and disabled its cloaking system, but it exploded soon thereafter—the Grand Admiral didn't want anybody researching his coveted technology.
While the other commanders continued with the Stardust plan, Bel Iblis focused on his work with Organa Solo in rooting out Delta Source. They determined that it was not an advanced recording device, as regular counterintelligence sweeps turned up nothing, and that it wasn't a person, as Ghent had cross-referenced the information sent to Thrawn by Delta Source and those who were privy to it, with no positive results. Bel Iblis, Organa Solo, and the princess' aide, Winter, noted that all of the recorded conversations occurred in the palace's Grand Corridor, and concluded that Delta Source may have been a droid, programmed to leave the Corridor whenever palace security were carrying out their counterintelligence sweeps. Organa Solo and Winter went to the Corridor during the next sweep, observing to see if any droids left, but none did. However, Organa was able to discover the real Delta Source: the ch'hala trees that lined the entire corridor. Jak Bremen had a team dig them up, and they discovered an advanced recording system, undetectable by his counterintelligence sweeps.
Bel Iblis and his peers were moderately successful with the Stardust plan, locating and destroying twenty-one asteroids. They determined that the only way to be entirely sure they had not missed any was to obtain a crystal gravfield trap. New Republic Intelligence located three, all under Imperial control, and Ackbar prepared a plan to attack the Imperial shipyards at Bilbringi VII and steal a crystal gravfield trap from there. However, shortly before the assault on Bilbringi was due to occur, smuggling kingpin Talon Karrde contacted Leia Organa Solo and Bel Iblis, informing them that he and a group of fellow smugglers had recently been in the Bilbringi system and had witnessed Imperial forces loading twenty-two asteroids onto Thrawn's Chimaera. As Bel Iblis' team had already destroyed twenty-one, and Thrawn had destroyed one himself during the attack, Karrde deduced that there were none remaining. The New Republic, fearful that Karrde's information was inaccurate, decided to go through with its attack regardless, but Ackbar was tricked by Thrawn—the Grand Admiral had anticipated the attack and was waiting for the Republic fleet at Bilbringi. However, Thrawn was killed by the blade of his bodyguard Rukh, and the New Republic was ultimately successful in the battle. With Thrawn's death, it appeared as if a time of peace was beginning.
The fall and rise of Coruscant
- "Coruscant is surrounded. Our defenses have been forced to retreat. We estimate the planetary shield will fall by morning…We'll be pulling out tonight…We have no choice. There's no way to get word to our fleets in other sectors, and even if we did, they couldn't get here before the shield fails…The New Republic will survive. Only its headquarters will move. We don't want Coruscant destroyed too, when all the Empire wants is to destroy us. Once we're off planet, the populace ought to be safe enough…We need all the lifting capacity we can beg, borrow, or steal for the evacuation."
"…The New Republic can't just hijack my ship!"
"Actually, we can. And we will."
- ―Garm Bel Iblis and Taryn Clancy
Bel Iblis was given a place in New Republic High Command and placed permanently in charge of Coruscant's defense. One year after the conclusion of the Thrawn crisis, he was a signatory of the document Why Do We Fight the Empire? and commanded an independent task force designed for "fire brigade" tasks. When the remaining Imperial warlords banded together and launched a major offensive on the New Republic. They caught Bel Iblis completely unawares when a massive Imperial force assaulted the Republic's capital, bombarding the planetary shield and laying siege to the planet. The Republic presence in the system was easily picked off by the Imperials, and no reinforcements could arrive in time. Mon Mothma gave the order to evacuate the world before the shields fell, and Bel Iblis was tasked with overseeing the evacuation.
The upper echelons of the New Republic decided upon the location of a new base, but they had no way of safely transmitting the coordinates to other portions of their fleet. Bel Iblis began using whatever ships he could find to pierce the Imperial blockade and rendezvous with other elements of the fleet; when all New Republic Intelligence vessels had left the system, he began calling on civilian couriers and freighters for assistance. A captain of one such courier ship, Taryn Clancy, was less than content with the situation, exclaiming that the New Republic could not just take her ship. Bel Iblis told her that he would, whether she was on it or not, and she ultimately agreed. Bel Iblis got as many ships as he could in the air before eventually lowering the shield so that they could flee and enter hyperspace. The evacuation was mostly successful, and Bel Iblis was one of the last to depart for the new headquarters of the New Republic on Mon Calamari. The New Republic later learned that Palpatine had returned to lead the Empire in a cloned body, and his forces laid siege to the ocean world. Bel Iblis, along with General Wedge Antilles, coordinated various aspects of the planet's air defense. Ultimately, they were able to repel the Imperials and their planet-eating World Devastators; nearly a year later, the reborn Emperor was vanquished, and his war machine broke apart, its various leaders once again resorting to infighting. The New Republic was able to reclaim its former power in short order, and Coruscant once more came under their control.
In the wake of a devastating and combat-heavy year, Bel Iblis and other senior military officers found themselves in the New Republic Inner Council's High Command, Bel Iblis as one of the Senate Representatives, along with Hrekin Thorm. Bel Iblis was present when Luke Skywalker appeared before the Senate asking for their blessing to reestablish the Jedi Order. When Ackbar, now the Minister of Defense, caused an accident on Vortex killing hundreds, Bel Iblis and the rest of the High Command debated how to respond. Bel Iblis disapproved of Thorm's idea of sending Ackbar back to Vortex for relief operations, as the Corellian thought that the Vors would disapprove of Ackbar's presence. Ackbar resigned his commission before the Command could reach a decision. When it was discovered that Ackbar's nephew Terpfen has sabotaged his uncle's ship, Ackbar was reinstated as Minister of Defense. Six years later, Bel Iblis was still serving in the Command. In that year, the Imperial Admiral Daala attacked the New Republic in the Deep Core, but saw her ships trapped by Bel Iblis in a pair of CC-7700 frigates. One of her ships desperately rammed a CC-7700, destroying it, before Daala made a blind hyperspace jump and fled the battle.
Keeping the peace
- "New Republic force! What are you doing? You have no right to move against me."
"On the contrary, Speaker Plarx. I have every right. You have just opened fire on New Republic spacecraft. Surrender immediately, or prepare to be destroyed."
"I protest Your ships provoked us into defending ourselves."
"Last chance, Speaker. Surrender or face the consequences."
- ―Plarx and General Garm Bel Iblis
In 19 ABY, the New Republic discovered a partial copy of the Caamas Document, an Imperial file which revealed that a group of Bothans had been complicit in an orbital bombardment of Caamas in the aftermath of the Clone Wars that had nearly driven the species to extinction. The identities of the individual perpetrators, however, remained unknown. The galaxy slowly began to spiral into a crisis, secretly and subtly fueled by the machinations of a Sinister Triumvirate in the leadership of the Imperial Remnant. A sizable number of New Republic member states wanted to punish the entire Bothan species harshly for the actions of several of its members. The New Republic fleet, including Bel Iblis, attempted to reduce the tensions and act as mediators throughout the crisis. Prior to any serious escalations, Bel Iblis was stationed at a prominent New Republic starfighter base on Morishim, accompanied by a small fleet and Wedge Antilles' Rogue Squadron, which had become permanently attached to the General's command. While there, a CR90 corvette arrived, followed closely by an Imperial Star Destroyer, which intercepted it and snagged it via a tractor beam. The Star Destroyer fled the system before Bel Iblis could scramble any fighters, but the base personnel were able to pick up fragments of a relayed message from the corvette, in which the words "Bel Iblis" could clearly be heard. Unbeknownst to the General, Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon of the Imperial Remnant was suing for peace with the New Republic, and had sent the Corvette to request a rendezvous with Bel Iblis at Pesitiin. His efforts were being undermined, however, by the triumvirate.Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antilles presented the recording to Bel Iblis, although it was completely incoherent and undecipherable. Bel Iblis was mystified as to what the corvette was attempting to do, and his subordinates theorized that it may have been a theft-and-defection from Imperial Space gone awry. Bel Iblis believed it was something more, though, as he knew that the Imperial Remnant did not have enough Star Destroyers to spare to send one on such a simple mission. Bel Iblis and his staff also isolated the word "Vermel" in the recording, and he recognized it as the name of one of Pellaeon's top lieutenants, Meizh Vermel. Although most of his comrades disagreed with him, he believed it was something more than a theft-and-defection, and dedicated all of his efforts into deciphering the message.
Those efforts had to put aside for a time, however, when the General was assigned to help deal with Vengeance, an anti-Bothan terrorist group that had been at the center of many riots, including a disastrous one on the Bothan homeworld, Bothawui. Many suspected it was an Imperial group aiming to destabilize the New Republic. Bel Iblis was also tasked with trying to discover what the term "Hand of Thrawn" meant, after it was found on datacards in the Imperial Library on Wayland. Above-the-board investigations proved fruitless, so Bel Iblis had Commander Corran Horn, who also held the title of Rogue Nine, meet with his father-in-law Booster Terrik, an information broker and smuggler with a far reach and many information sources throughout the galaxy. Terrik knew no more than the New Republic about Vengeance, however, and Horn returned to Bel Iblis with no additional information about the group. He was able to provide limited information about an unidentified starship that had flown past Terrik's personal Star Destroyer, the Errant Venture, and transmitted a message in a foreign language. The message mentioned Thrawn's full name—Mitth'raw'nuruodo—and Horn believed that it might have been linked to the "Hand of Thrawn." Bel Iblis relayed the information to his superiors in turn.
Soon thereafter, Bel Iblis' fleet got a panic call from the Sif'kric system, pleading for New Republic intervention. They had few details about the situation, but Bel Iblis responded to the call without waiting to seek authorization from Coruscant. The fleet arrived to find that a large Frezhlix force had blockaded Sif'kric, preventing the Sif'kries from exporting their most valuable export, pommwomms, which had to be processed offworld within thirty hours or their medical effects would be rendered useless. Bel Iblis ordered the men under his command to avoid head-to-head confrontation with the Frezhlix at all costs, as he was unsure of his legal bounds. He spoke with the Frezhlix leader, Plarx, who informed him that the New Republic had no place stepping in, as the matter was between the two species, one of which, the Sif'kries, had stopped the Frezhlix senator from supporting the anti-Bothan Drashtine Initiative.
Bel Iblis was informed, both by Plarx and by his own personnel, that it would be illegal for them to interfere without an official request from the Sif'krie Senator. The General, however, had a plan. He contacted Corran Horn on a secure channel, and bid him run a scan for any of the blockaded freighters that belonged to Booster Terrik. Horn identified the Sycophant Jolly, actually named Hoopster's Prank, as one of Terrik's ships, and as such Bel Iblis was within his rights to have it impounded. He sent Rogue Squadron to the freighter, who had to fly through the Frezhlix fleet to reach it. Bel Iblis explained the situation to Plarx, but the Corellian's opposite number opened fire on the Rogues, which allowed Bel Iblis to legally intervene and disperse the blockade. The General ordered his fleet to maneuver into attack formation, and demanded that Plarx surrender immediately. The Frezhlix refused, and Bel Iblis ordered his forces to open fire. They quickly defeated the smaller fleet.
The siege of Yaga Minor
- "The final line of the situation is that any serious New Republic presence over Bothawui at this point would be construed as support of the Bothans against their critics."
"It would be nothing of the sort. It would be a voice of calm and reason in the middle of a very dangerous flash point. 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."
"…You will not be the one chosen for the dubious honor of mediator. President Gavrisom has already selected another task for you…If Bothawui is the flash point, then it is the Caamas Document which is the spark. President Gavrisom has therefore concluded that the New Republic's best chance of defusing the controversy is to obtain an intact copy of the document. To that end, you are to proceed immediately to Ord Trasi, where you will begin assembling a force for an information raid on the Imperial Ubiqtorate base at Yaga Minor."
"With all due respect, Admiral, President Gavrisom must be joking. Yaga Minor is possibly the most heavily defended system in Imperial or New Republic space."
"…I'll be honest: I don't like this any more than you do. But it has to be tried. If war breaks out over this issue, we don't have enough ships or troops to either force or maintain a peace. The entire New Republic could conceivably collapse into total civil war…I may also say, that if there's any way this can be done, you are the one who can do it."
- ―Admiral Ackbar, and Garm Bel Iblis
The Frezhlix government was up in arms over Bel Iblis' actions, and Admiral Ackbar contacted him aboard the Peregrine hours later. Bel Iblis gave the Mon Calamari his own recollection of events, and although Ackbar saw it his way, he informed Bel Iblis that New Republic Chief of State Ponc Gavrisom might not, due to political pressures. Their conversation was suddenly cut short when Ackbar's hologram disappeared, and Bel Iblis' communications officers informed him that a HoloNet relay on nearby Mengjini was not functioning. They then received a call for help from Mengjini, informing them that dissident elements had sabotaged the relay and were attacking them. Bel Iblis' fleet traveled there and solved the problem, before later being summoned to intervene in a small conflict by the Di'tai'ni; however, he suspected that this was a ruse by the Bothans to keep his task force close to Bothawui.
Bel Iblis kept his fleet at Di'tai'ni for a time, as he had a hunch that there would be trouble of some sort, and had his fighter pilots sleep in their cockpits so that they could respond to any distress calls with maximum efficiency. He was proven right when the Bothans sent a signal to the Peregrine informing the General that a Leresen fleet had arrived at Bothawui. Rogue Squadron reached the system before Bel Iblis' capital ships could, and Antilles spoke with the Leresen, who informed him that Bothan security guards had killed two of their kin during a riot, and that, per their native custom, twenty innocent Bothan lives must be taken in retaliation. The lasers on the Rogues' starfighters had been sabotaged, and they found themselves unable to stop the Leresen fleet destroying a Bothan space station. taking twenty-one lives. Bel Iblis was too late, and the Peregrine task force arrived long after hostilities had ceased.
Soon after, the Leresen proudly admitted to tampering with the Rogues' lasers, and a furious Bel Iblis contacted Gavrisom and told him that he would not allow the New Republic to be used in the political game of its various feuding member states. Bel Iblis and Antilles were subsequently requested to meet Admiral Ackbar face-to-face aboard the Peregrine. The General intended to request that his task force be sent to Bothawui to mediate the growing conflict, but expected to be turned down and his fleet reassigned to another location. As such, he hoped to persuade Ackbar to allow Antilles perform a covert mission on Bothawui's surface. As expected, Ackbar denied Bel Iblis' request; while he personally agreed with the general's position on the matter, the Senate and High Council believed it would be construed as support for the Bothans. The Admiral promised to continue attempting to persuade them otherwise, and informed Bel Iblis that it would no longer be of his concern: Gavrisom had chosen the Corellian for a different task.
Assuming that a complete version of the Caamas Document implicating the guilty parties in the Caamas Firestorm would assuage the current tensions in the galaxy, Gavrisom ordered Bel Iblis to raid an Ubiqtorate base orbiting the Imperial world of Yaga Minor in an effort to obtain one. Bel Iblis's task force was supposedly sent from Bothawui to the nearby Kothlis system, but in reality headed to the Mrisst system to recruit Booster Terrik for the mission. Bel Iblis, together with two hundred New Republic personnel, partially refitted the Errant Venture and supplemented the crew, taking control of the vessel but leaving a stubborn Terrik in the captain's chair. Antilles and Horn, meanwhile, performed their mission on Bothawui's surface, hoping to uncover information regarding a rumored plot to lower the world's planetary shields. After a period of time with no leads, the two Rogues were recalled by Bel Iblis. At a council of war, the General informed his fleet of the plan: The Errant Venture would arrive in realspace outside of Yaga Minor impersonating the Star Destroyer Tyrannic, with Bel Iblis's task force pretending to chase it and engaging the base's perimeter defenses. A slicer team would be sent to the station to download a copy of the document, and if the ruse was discovered, the Errant Venture would try to hold off the Imperial forces just long enough to transmit a copy of the document to the New Republic forces in the perimeter before surrendering. Bel Iblis felt that obtaining a complete copy of the document would end the current crisis, and was very serious about the mission, despite the daunting defenses that Yaga Minor presented. The General was willing to go through with the plan, in spite of his belief that neither he nor the Venture would survive the mission. He ordered all of his forces, including the Rogues, not to attempt to cover the Venture, but to strictly engage the base's perimeter defenses.
The raid began, but in an unlucky coincidence, the Tyrannic had recently been sent to the Both system under the Triumvirate's direct orders; the Triumvirate was in-system aboard the Relentless, and the ruse was thus seen through immediately. The Errant Venture was caught in tractor beams deployed by the base and its defenses, and a group of Immobilizer 418 cruisers arrived in-system to trap the rest of the task force in interdiction fields. Bel Iblis correctly surmised that the Imperials wanted to capture the Venture and use its crew as hostages, and, accepting the probability of being killed, ordered the ship to destroy the tractor beam emplacements holding it and to ram the Relentless. His aim was to disable it long enough for a slicer team to get inside the Ubiqtorate base, before downloading and transmitting a copy of the document. He also hoped that at least some of his task force would be able to escape.
Before the General's plan could be put into motion, Talon Karrde's smuggling vessel, the Wild Karrde, arrived in-system, having just returned from the planet Exocron in the Kathol sector. With him were Pellaeon, as well as records discrediting two members of the triumvirate: Major Grodin Tierce was a flawed clone, and the resurrected Grand Admiral Thrawn whom the Imperial Remnant had rallied behind was in fact the con artist Flim. Antilles ordered his forces to allow the Wild Karrde to move through their forces and dock with the Relentless, where the triumvirate's charade was exposed, and a relieved Flim ordered the Imperial forces to stand down, turning command over to Pellaeon. Pellaeon and Bel Iblis went on to at last discuss peace between the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant. The Ubiqtorate base did not end up possessing a complete copy of the Caamas Document, but Luke Skywalker's astromech droid R2-D2 discovered one on Nirauan, which brought an end to the crisis and stopped a major battle from occurring at Bothawui. The Pellaeon–Gavrisom Treaty was signed by Pellaeon and Gavrisom, establishing peace between two sides that had warred for over two decades.
Thrust back into war
The galaxy enjoyed a rare six years of peace before once again hosting a wide-scale and devastating war: An Extra-galactic race of religious zealots known as the Yuuzhan Vong arrived in the galaxy and began conquering it star by star. After initial hesitation by the New Republic to engage the invaders, its military, along with Skywalker's Jedi Order, entered the fight and began halting the onslaught. Despite having retired, Bel Iblis returned to service and acted as a military advisor to the Bothan Admiral Traest Kre'fey. Two years into the war, Generals Bel Iblis and Antilles were witness on Coruscant to a demonstration by Calrissian of his corporation's laminanium-coated YVH-series battle droids, designed to combat Yuuzhan Vong warriors. Shortly thereafter, the invaders struck at Coruscant, and Bel Iblis commanded the Interdictor Star Destroyer Bail Organa, which provided cover fire for vessels escaping the carnage occurring around the planet. When the Yuuzhan Vong began using refugee ships as shields, Bel Iblis ordered his vessels to fire on the ships, reasoning that the refugees would die regardless. The command elicited horror in others of the Defense Force, and Bel Iblis lost virtually every ship under his command. Coruscant fell, sending the New Republic into disarray.
Finished with the Senate's political scheming, Bel Iblis broke off from the New Republic Defense Force and reestablished his private war. Once again, he commanded an elite group of officers and soldiers interested in avoiding the bureaucracy they saw as a hindrance to the defense of the galaxy. The grizzled old Corellian commanded three fleets from bases on Tallaan and Fondor, damaging and confusing the Yuuzhan Vong forces with hit-and-fade strikes. Towards the apex of the conflict, Luke Skywalker was able to convince Bel Iblis to aid the reorganized New Republic in an ambush at Ebaq 9. Although the Corellian was initially recalcitrant, it was Bel Iblis' timely arrival with his force and the fleet of the Smugglers' Alliance that tipped the balance of the battle away from the Yuuzhan Vong. Much of the Yuuzhan Vong fleet was destroyed, and their Warmaster Tsavong Lah was killed.
Following the victory, the New Republic was reorganized into the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances under Chief-of-State Cal Omas. Bel Iblis remained with their Defense Force, commanding from the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Harbinger. He commanded at the battle of the Duro system along with Antilles, and was an enemy of the offensive at Bilbringi. Afterwards, he was stationed at Mon Calamari and met with the Alliance pilot Jagged Fel, Commander of Vanguard Squadron. He then attended another meeting with several fleet commanders, including Gavin Darklighter, Eldo Davip and Commodore Brand, where a plan was hatched to retake Coruscant. The liberation was successful, and Bel Iblis served as one of the occupation commanders. As Skywalker had killed their Supreme Overlord, the Yuuzhan Vong conceded defeat, and retired to the living planet Zonama Sekot. The galaxy was once again at peace.
Personality and traits
As a Senator, Bel Iblis was extremely patriotic towards both the Old Republic and his home planet, and was said to embody the Corellian spirit of independence. He was considered a political maverick, and his charisma won him many allies in the Senate. Believing that the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic was power-hungry, Bel Iblis was not afraid to speak out against him, doing so out of a determination to preserve freedom in the galaxy. It was for this reason that he was opposed to the Republic's participation in the Clone Wars. He continued to speak out against Palpatine even after the Chancellor declared himself Galactic Emperor, and remained staunch in his opposition to the Empire despite the strain it put on his marriage. Bel Iblis made many efforts to save the marriage, and was distraught at the deaths of his wife and children, becoming withdrawn and sullen for many years.
Bel Iblis was very pragmatic, both in his roles as Galactic Senator and military General. He opposed the creation of a Grand Army of the Republic due to its costs, and during the Yuuzhan Vong War, ordered his forces to fire on civilian targets that stood between he and the enemy, believing that the targets would die regardless. When he felt that the New Republic was incapable of effectively fighting the Yuuzhan Vong, he established a private war against the invaders in order to be free of the Senate's political scheming. Bel Iblis founded and operated his first private rebellion based on direct confrontation with the Empire, and was pragmatic enough to realize the necessity of merging it with other rebel groups. When he felt that an intact copy of the Caamas Document would save the galaxy from a major civil war, he was willing to sacrifice his life and those of people serving under him in order to obtain it.
A keen military strategist and an astute observer, Bel Iblis was skilled at thinking on his feet during space battles, and ordered his pilots to sleep in their cockpits in anticipation of a coming conflict on at least one occasion. In his capacity as a New Republic General, he was unafraid to speak his mind to the government's Chief of State. The Corellian was often wary of the ambition of others, believing that first Palpatine and later Mon Mothma were addicted to power. Although he was correct in the former case, his fears that Mothma would declare herself Empress of the galaxy were only let go of five years after the founding of the New Republic. However, he was too proud of a man to admit his mistake, and even after joining Mothma's New Republic, held onto his pride and refused to make amends with her or to admit his past failings. When Coruscant came under attack by Grand Admiral Thrawn, he was too proud to help defend the planet unless Mothma herself requested it of him.
Behind the scenes
Garm Bel Iblis was created by author Timothy Zahn and first appeared in his 1992 hardcover novel Dark Force Rising. The character was conceived when Zahn was seeking a role for Han Solo in the book, and was then worked into the overarching plot of the trilogy that Dark Force Rising made up the middle chapter of. Zahn wrote Bel Iblis as contributing to the plot of the trilogy's final chapter, The Last Command, in what he saw as a solid fashion.
Later published works expanded upon the character and his role in the founding of the Rebellion, including various sourcebooks and the 2008 video game The Force Unleashed. In both The Force Unleashed and Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, Bel Iblis is voiced by Kristoffer Tabori. In the latter's Galactic Conquest and Skirmish modes, he can be found on any Rebel-controlled world, as well as on Tatooine and Sullust in the game's Campaign mode. Other inconsistencies surrounding the character involve the spelling of his last name; several sources assert "bel Iblis" while the 1994 novel Jedi Search spells it as "Bel-Iblis".
Notes and references
- Garm Bel Iblis on Wikipedia