|Operation Shadow Hand|
- "Someone...or something...has been biding its time, while the feuding Imperial factions distracted our attention..."
- ―Mon Mothma
It was applied to the collective military campaigns that the reborn Emperor Palpatine launched in an attempt to retake control of the galaxy for the Galactic Empire. These were essentially "wave assaults" from Byss and the rest of the Deep Core.
Initially, the Galactic Empire retreated from the territory gained during the Thrawn Campaign, the Imperial fleets moving to the Deep Core at Emperor Palpatine's secret command. The New Republic Defense Fleet followed the crumbling frontline deep into the Outer Rim Territories, sending more ships rimward to engage the Ciutric Hegemony and the Kaarenth Dissension in Corva sector, leaving Coruscant and the Core Worlds relatively undefended.
The Imperial fleet besieged Metellos and the Kaikielius system, and the New Republic abandoned the capital. The Galactic Empire was restored, and the New Republic became referred to as the Rebel Alliance again overnight.
The Imperial Civil WarEdit
It was not long after the Empire secured the Core that everything started to collapse. Any appearance of Imperial unity vanished, and the Empire fell into a full civil war. Using captured Star Destroyers, the Alliance helped along the anarchy, as entire worlds were destroyed, and warfleets gathered around Imperial worlds such as Gyndine and Aargau. New fortress worlds came into being, and Coruscant was turned into a wasteland.
The reborn Emperor watched, claiming such actions thinned the ranks of the weak and the cowards. In a perverse mirror of the numerous Sith Civil Wars, Palpatine watched his war machine tear itself apart, destroying entire worlds and massacring civilians.
Palpatine retook control of the Empire shortly after capturing Luke Skywalker, sending the Imperial Navy and fleets of World Devastators to attack the Borderland Regions, pushing on Mon Calamari, and intending to split the rebel territory in half. The Battle of Calamari cost the Empire its newest superweapon, and eventually its Emperor, as he fell at the Battle of Da Soocha, where Luke Skywalker defected back to the Alliance. Skywalker then began building his own New Jedi Order to defeat the Emperor and his Dark Side Elite.
Despite these setbacks, the military campaign was taken over by Executor Sedriss QL, who struck at recalcitrant worlds in the Core and the Colonies, attacking numerous worlds in the Slice and the weapon factories at Balmorra. After his ground forces were repulsed at the Battle of Balmorra and Captain Veers was killed in action, the campaign stalled long enough for Sedriss to take a shipment of battle droids from the Balmorran factories as part of a truce. The Emperor returned once again, albeit in a clone weakened by genetic tampering from a traitorous Imperial Ruling Council and the Sovereign Protector Carnor Jax. The Empire was not yet exhausted, however, taking its once-again near-infinite resources and constructing the Galaxy Gun, a massive interstellar-range artillery gun which turned the tide against the rebels, as the Emperor used it to destroy world after world.
With the destruction of the rebel bases on Da Soocha and in Space City thanks to the Galaxy Gun, the Rebel Alliance scattered, vanishing into the galaxy. The Empire, for all senses and purposes, had won, driving the Alliance into complete hiding.
However, in opposition to this military victory was the Emperor's waning health, and he led efforts to capture Anakin Solo to use as a bodily vessel, turning military resources against the Jedi. Taking the Eclipse-class dreadnought Eclipse II to Onderon, the Emperor engaged the Alliance and Jedi. Catastrophe followed, with the Emperor being finally defeated and the Eclipse II launched towards Byss due to the sabotage of the astromech droid R2-D2, where it rammed the Galaxy Gun and caused it to fire a missile into Byss, destroying the throneworld and the Imperial fleet around it. This effectively cut the heart from the Empire both politically and militarily.
The campaign started with the Empire holding half the galaxy at the end of 9 ABY, and saw the Empire lose most of this newly captured territory in the weeks following Grand Admiral Thrawn's death, only to consolidate half of the galaxy again under the clone Emperor. Subsequent to expanding further, the Emperor was finally killed and the Empire abandoned Coruscant and the Core Worlds, splitting yet still consolidating control of a third of the galaxy - more than what the Empire initially held before Grand Admiral Thrawn returned.
The majority of the Imperial fleet retreated into the Deep Core in the aftermath, Blitzer Harrsk and Treuten Teradoc becoming the primary warlords, the Pentastar Alignment remaining a major Imperial power in the Outer Rim, and fortress worlds with little fleet strength holding out throughout Imperial territory. The Empire proper was held by the Imperial Ruling Council under Emperor Carnor Jax, but that didn't last long after Byss's destruction.
The Empire's fleets thereafter, however, were severely decimated, with the most powerful Deep Core warlord, Admiral Teradoc, only fielding seventy Victory-class Star Destroyers. The unification of the Deep Core under Admiral Natasi Daala, which held the majority of the Imperial Fleet, saw less than two hundred Star Destroyers gather under her banner.
The New Republic was similarly decimated in the fighting, barely claiming membership of 11,000 worlds by 16 ABY, and fielding only four fleets as opposed to both sides fielding hundreds of Sector Fleets. During the Shadow Hand Campaign, the Republic retreated into the Outer Rim, placing its main bases inside Hutt Space, the Cron Drift and the Corporate Sector, rather than in territory accessible to or largely a part of the mainstream galaxy. The Republic never saw massive membership until it finally defeated the Empire at the Battle of Anx Minor, forcing it back to only eight sectors.
Operation Shadow Hand was the last major action of a Sith-led Empire, and the following years would see the Empire move further and further away from the Sith, until political relations were non-existent. A portion of the Empire remained under the control of the Sith apprentice Carnor Jax, but his death saw only isolated factions of Sith or Dark Jedi-led Imperials emerge, such as the Empire Reborn and the Disciples of Ragnos. Eventually the relationship soured, and during the Yuuzhan Vong War, the reigning Dark Lady Lumiya attacked the Imperial Remnant in the Battle of Yaga Minor. Eventually, the Second Empire, following the Fel dynasty, would be at war with the Sith by 130 ABY.
- Dark Empire (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
- Dark Empire II (First identified as Operation Shadow Hand)
- Empire's End
- Crimson Empire 0 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Crimson Empire (Appears in flashback(s))
- Dark Apprentice (Mentioned only)
- Children of the Jedi (Mentioned only)
- Dark Empire endnotes
- Dark Empire Sourcebook (First identified as Shadow Hand Strategy)
- The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- "ComicScan: Taken By Force"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 8
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Chronology
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- Jedi Academy Training Manual
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
Notes and referencesEdit