- Han Solo: "And what happens when the planet starts up again?"
- Jacen Solo: "Well, with the expansion created by the ice..."
- Leia Organa Solo: "Luke."
- Han Solo: "Get out of here! Get out of here! Full retreat!"
- ―The New Republic forces realize that Helska IV is about to be no more[src]
In 25 ABY, during the initial stages of the Yuuzhan Vong War, the Battle of Helska IV occurred on the icy fourth orbital of the Helska system and was an engagement between forces of the New Republic and the Praetorite Vong. Upon entering the galaxy from an extra-galactic source, the Praetorite Vong, who were the first units of the Yuuzhan Vong to be used in their invasion, proceeded to establish a base on Helska IV. However, the New Republic learned of the Praetorite Vong's existence after the invaders defiled the world Belkadan, devastated Sernpidal, and unsuccessfully attacked the planet Dubrillion. This prompted a trio of important New Republic personnel—former smuggler Han Solo, politician Leia Organa Solo, and Jedi Master Luke Skywalker—to assemble a task force whose greatest asset was the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Rejuvenator.
Although at first it seemed like the strike force from the New Republic was winning, they were soon beset with thousands of coralskippers all executing maneuvers perfectly with each other due to the telepathic capabilities of the Praetorite Vong's war-coordinator yammosk. Because of this, the Rejuvenator was soon lost, and the New Republic's forces retreated. However, the New Republic leaders rendezvoused not far away from the Helska system, and they decided to re-assault the Praetorite Vong forces and attempt to deep freeze Helska IV in order to kill the yammosk. Returning to Helska IV, the New Republic forces used shieldships that they had acquired at Dubrillion to focus the yammosk's energy back at the planet, and evaporate the ice, which would in turn cool the planet. The plan succeeded, with the super low temperatures causing a Mezzicanley Wave, which in turn caused Helska IV to shatter apart and destroy most of the Praetorite Vong forces there.
The Yuuzhan Vong arriveEdit
In the year 25 ABY, the Praetorite Vong, the leading forces for an extra-galactic Yuuzhan Vong invasion, arrived in the galaxy. Da'Gara, a Yuuzhan Vong Prefect, led the first part of the Praetorite Vong units in a worldship to Helska IV, an icy planet in the Outer Rim Territories. Da'Gara established a base on the world, while his worldship resided in, and partially stuck out of, the icy crust of the planet, since the Yuuzhan Vong had found that the world would be an ideal staging area for their invasion. Meanwhile, Yuuzhan Vong agent Nom Anor kept the bulk of the forces of the New Republic, the galaxy's main government, near the Core Worlds, as the agent sowed disorder and conflict through manipulation. Soon after arriving at Helska IV, a group of scientists from the Extragalactic Society's research base on the world Belkadan traveled to Helska IV to investigate an extra-galactic object that they had seen enter the Helska system; this object was in the fact the Praetorite Vong's worldship. However, the group was captured, and only the young scientist Danni Quee survived to be taken prisoner. Meanwhile, a Yuuzhan Vong agent on Belkadan released a bioweapon on the world, terraforming it for the invaders' purposes.
Visitors soon arrived at the Praetorite Vong's doorstep once again, this time in the form of the Dozen and Two Avengers, a starfighter squadron that was led by the Jedi Knights Kyp Durron and Miko Reglia. The squadron had tracked the group of scientists to the Helska system after checking the data of a hyperspace buoy, and when they arrived in system, were attacked by the Yorik-et starfighters–also known as coralskippers–that the Praetorite Vong possessed. Although they at first held their own, the Dozen and Two Avengers were soon cut apart by the alien capabilities of the coralskippers, and all the starfighter pilots but Durron and Reglia lost their lives. Reglia himself was captured by the enemy.
The Praetorite Vong then attacked the world of Sernpidal, causing its moon Dobido to crash into the planet and destroy the majority of the world. From there, the forces of Da'Gara pursued refugees to the planet Dubrillion. At Dubrillion, the New Republic fought off the Yuuzhan Vong with the help of the Jedi Knights Jaina Solo, Jacen Solo, and Anakin Solo, along with their parents, former smuggler Han Solo and the politician Leia Organa Solo. In response to the attack, which was actually a probe by the enemy forces, Organa and the other New Republic affiliated personnel on Dubrillion such as Solo and Jedi Master Luke Skywalker started to arrange for a counterstrike against the Praetorite Vong forces on Helska IV.
Destination: Helska IVEdit
- "We should go straight to Helska. The Ranger gunships will handle any of the smaller—what did you call them? Coralskippers?—while Rejuvenator takes out whatever base these barbarians have set up. It will be a clean sweep, I assure you, and then we can get on with the more important issues facing the New Republic."
- ―Commander Rojo
Speculating that the enemy must have a base underneath the ice crust of Helska IV, Skywalker planned to take an iceborer to the planet in the underbelly of the small carrier vessel Merry Miner, piloted by his Jedi Master wife Mara Jade Skywalker, who was fighting a Yuuzhan Vong engineered disease. Skywalker intended to penetrate the ice cover in the iceborer, and return from his mission before a fleet led by the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Rejuvenator arrived in the Helska system; the Rejuvenator, helmed by Corellian Commander Warshack Rojo, had arrived at Dubrillion shortly after the Praetorite Vong attack there. However, before Skywalker and his wife could go through with the plan, Jacen and Jaina took the Merry Miner and its cargo of the iceborer on the mission themselves, as they did not think the pair of Jedi Masters were the right ones for the task. Shortly after, the fleet itself departed for Helska IV, despite the attempts by Organa to make Rojo wait for additional reinforcements.
With Jaina piloting the Merry Miner and Jacen situated in the iceborer, which was housed in a launch tube in the Merry Miner, the pair of them reached the Helska system before the task force. Jaina brought the ship near Helska IV by putting the sun of Helska behind them to shield the Jedi from enemy view, and when the Merry Miner was close enough, Jaina launched the iceborer towards the planet. However, although the iceborer was supposed to make it to the surface without using thrusters to avoid detection by the enemy, Jacen heard a call through the Force that let him know that an individual was in danger down on the planet, and he used the borer's thrusters to change his course towards the call's location. This alerted nearby coralskippers to his position, and though Jacen punched through the ice in his ship with the help of a thermal charge, the Praetorite Vong starfighters tracked its trajectory back to the Merry Miner. Forced to retreat in a defenseless ship, Jaina tried to evade them by using the sun for cover, but found herself trapped on the other side of the sun with coralskippers on all sides.
- "This is Rojo. Let's take it right to their home."
- ―Commander Rojo, during the engagement near the sun of Helska
Fortunately enough for Jaina, the task force arrived in the system, so near to the Merry Miner that it was able to immediately engage the coralskippers that were pursuing it. The task force was composed of the Rejuvenator, six new Ranger-class gunships, a collection of cruisers and starfighters, Skywalker and his wife flying in the Jade Sabre, and Durron leading a starfighter unit. The upgraded freighter Millennium Falcon was also present in the task force, piloted by Organa Solo and her husband Solo, with the craft being gunned by Anakin and entrepreneur Lando Calrissian, who was operating out of Dubrillion. The New Republic forces quickly mopped up the majority of the enemy forces, and proceeded to head for Helska IV in order to attack the Praetorite Vong forces there. Meanwhile, Jacen had entered the chilly waters of the world, wearing an captured Yuuzhan Vong cloaker to shield him from the cold, and seeing a group of Yuuzhan Vong warriors, joined them because they were going towards the source of the call. Disguised to look like a warrior with the cloaker, Jacen entered a room in the ice crust with them, and there he found the prisoners Reglia and Quee; though in fact Reglia was a Jedi, it was Force-sensitive Quee who had put out the call for help. Jacen engaged the warriors in order to free the pair of prisoners.
Knowing that the taskforce was closing in on Helska IV, Da'Gara sent thousands of coralskippers of various sizes to engage the enemy, who were hounding the fighters that the Prefect has used to draw the New Republic forces closer to his world. Additionally, the world was protected by the energy field of the yammosk war coordinator that was on Helska IV, the volcano armaments of the three worldships that the Praetorite Vong possessed, as well as many gravity manipulating dovin basals. The task force, which was having an easy time until then, were suddenly set upon by the multitude of enemy fighters, who were all bound together telepathically by the abilities of the yammosk. This caused the coralskippers to be able to execute brilliant maneuvers and fly better. Quickly, two of the Ranger-class gunships were destroyed after a Praetorite Vong fighter used a dovin basal to draw all three of them into a collision.
Elsewhere, the rest of the task force felt themselves hard pressed, and the Rejuvenator itself became the main target of the coralskippers and the insect-like grutchins. Rojo called for help from the rest of the fleet, but as they were all otherwise occupied with enemy fighters or unable to reach them, the Corellian began to bombard Helska IV in retaliation for the continued assault on his ship. The Rejuvenator did not last long however, and because of the damage inflicted by the coralskippers, a volley of magma missiles from volcano cannons that lifted off from the surface of the planet ended the Star Destroyer, killing Rojo and the vast majority of the hands on board. The destruction of the Star Destroyer made the leaders of the New Republic task force signal a retreat from the system, though the Jade Sabre, the Millennium Falcon, and the Merry Miner attempted a last ditch effort to get Jacen off Helska IV before the retreat. During the battle, Jacen had fought off all the warriors with the help of the pair of prisoners, though Reglia sacrificed himself in order to kill some of the warriors, and afterward had managed to get Quee and himself back to the iceborer. The trio of ships coming to rescue Jacen made it near to the surface of Helska IV, and after the iceborer extracted itself from the ice, allowing the Merry Miner to grab it up, all the ships escaped to hyperspace after their allies.
A new planEdit
- Anakin Solo: "We can shut the volcanoes off. Or at least we can freeze the water around them."
- Han Solo: "How're we going to do that? It's already almost as cold around the planet as it can be."
- Anakin Solo: "Almost. But not quite."
- Luke Skywalker: "Absolute Zero? How are we going to do that?"
- Anakin Solo: "Evaporation."
- ―The leaders of the New Republic force formulate a new plan.[src]
Soon after leaving the area around Helska IV, the three ships rendezvoused in order to formulate a plan to end the Praetorite Vong threat. A consensus was reached that it would be possible to freeze the yammosk to death, by using shieldships to reflect the yammosk's energy back at the world to speed up evaporation around the world. The evaporation would in turn cool Helska IV even further, and hopefully reach a temperature of absolute zero. Shieldships were brought from among Calrissian's collection of technology at Dubrillion and its sister world of Destrillion, and a small task force was assembled from the survivors of the original. However, some survivors, including the remaining three Ranger-class gunships, opted to stay behind at Destrillion to wait for reinforcements. Timing their attack so near their recent defeat, the New Republic forces aimed to catch the enemy unaware, with the majority of the Praetorite Vong fighters out looking for the survivors. The task force came in via hyperspace extremely close to the fourth orbital of Helska, and as a result, one of the cruisers that had come with them and a quartet of starfighters were lost in collisions with each other or the planet itself.
The half-dozen shieldships then took position around the world, decreasing their orbit with every rotation as the energy from the yammosk started to be reflected back upon the world. Coralskippers attacked the New Republic forces, with the starfighters trying to provide cover for the shieldships or acting as decoys. Master Skywalker took an X-wing starfighter as a decoy in tow, and Da'Gara, who was confused that the second attack was not larger, readily sent a contingent of fighters to engage it; as the yammosk was unafraid of the shieldships attempts to turn its energy back, Da'Gara was unafraid as well, and he proceeded to call the coralskipper hordes back to Helska IV to defend it and deal the finishing blow to the enemy. By that time, the shieldships were causing a fog to roll off the planet's surface, which was almost instantly evaporating, cooling the planet. This same fog aided Skywalker by providing cover as he tried to draw the coralskippers away from the shieldships.
While the Jade Sabre and the Millenium Falcon were defending the shieldships, Jade Skywalker, serving as the former ship's gunner, suffered a relapse in her illness that left her unconscious. Because of the lack of a gunner, the Jade Sabre suffered numerous hits despite the attempts of its pilot Jaina Solo, and the craft began to descend towards the planet below. Skywalker saved the falling ship however, as he came underneath the Jade Sabre, flipped the X-wing on its back, and fired his repulsorlifts. This gave the Jade Sabre the boost it needed to regain control and altitude. Due to the shieldships' efforts, Helska IV's atmosphere was becoming colder and colder. The New Republic began to suffer losses of starfighters and a few of the shieldships, though they soon caught a break. Due to the extreme cold inflicted by the evaporation, the yammosk began to lose its control on the coralskippers, and their maneuvers started to cost them fighters as coralskippers crashed into one another.
The yammosk had actually entered a deep freeze because the fourth state of matter known as the Mezzicanley Wave had been achieved, and the planet itself started to slow in its rotations as the fog evaporated completely from the atmosphere. The majority of the present coralskippers went back to the world, confused by the events and wanting to protect the base. The New Republic task force leaders, realizing that the expansion created by the freezing of the water under Helska IV's ice crust would be disastrous, called a retreat. They had not gone far before the world exploded because of the expansion of the ice, destroying the majority of the Praetorite Vong forces and killing Da'Gara. Master Skywalker, who was still in the atmosphere when the Mezzicanley Wave was created, managed to barely escape the destruction in his X-wing.
Following the destruction of Helska IV, New Republic squadrons hunted down the remaining coralskippers that had not been destroyed in the battle. Because of their defeat, the Praetorite Vong lost much of their reputation among the Yuuzhan Vong, in addition to a large portion of their forces. The battle had a negative effect on Jade Skywalker, and her illness gained the upper hand, leaving her weaker. In response to the battle, which became known as the Battle of Helska IV, Organa Solo organized meetings with important officials to warn the galaxy at large of the threat the Yuuzhan Vong posed to it, though the governing body of the New Republic chose to ignore it, thinking that the Praetorite Vong were the last of the extra-galactic forces. Meanwhile, Anor continued to sow disorder in the form of civil wars, and soon, the main Yuuzhan Vong force arrived. They struck again at Dubrillion, this time capturing it, and proceeded to attack the world of Dantooine before engaging New Republic and Imperial Remnant forces at the planet Ithor. From there on, it was an all-out battle for control of the galaxy between the two sides.
Behind the scenesEdit
The battle at Helska IV first appeared in the novel Vector Prime, written by R. A. Salvatore and published in 1999 as the first book in The New Jedi Order series. The battle was later mentioned in other books in that series, and in The New Jedi Order Sourcebook, released in 2002. The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, released in 2008, first identified the battle as the Battle of Helska IV in the planet's entry. The Merry Miner's entry wrongly states that the ship was used to launch a warhead, which started the freezing of the world. The fighting at Helska IV was also mentioned in Daniel Wallace and Jason Fry's The Essential Atlas, released in 2009. In Vector Prime, the book contradicts itself about the number of cruisers that join the second part of the assault on the world, as it says only one joined, but later has two destroyed during the battle.
- Vector Prime (First appearance)
- Dark Tide I: Onslaught (Mentioned only)
- Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse (Mentioned only)
- Balance Point (Mentioned only)
- Edge of Victory I: Conquest (Mentioned only)
- Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
- Star by Star (Mentioned only)
- Force Heretic I: Remnant (Mentioned only)
- Force Heretic II: Refugee (Mentioned only)
- Force Heretic III: Reunion (Mentioned only)
- The Unifying Force (Mentioned only)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 1.50 1.51 1.52 Vector Prime
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Dark Tide I: Onslaught
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. III ("Rejuvenator")
- ↑ The New Jedi Order Sourcebook
- ↑ Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II ("Helska IV")
- ↑ Dark Tide II: Ruin