- "Anyone stopping will be shot as a—"
- ―Rohn and Malsuum
The Shrouded Offensive was an event that took place during the Western Reaches Operation of the Reconquest of the Rim early in the Galactic Empire's history. The Empire managed to discover a Separatist enclave, led by General Atticus Farstar, on the planet Ostor, located at the fringes of the Outer Rim, and was important enough for the Emperor's enforcer, Darth Vader to be dispatched to the planet to bring it under Imperial rule.
The battle was considered to be largely a disaster for the Galactic Empire, the biggest military disaster for the Imperials at the time, for three main reasons: The first, Darth Vader ended up staying behind for the first day of battle, the second was that he, either due to haste or overconfidence, did not deal with reconnaissance beforehand, and the third had Vader assigning General Rohn with direct command over the operation, who was largely an armchair general giving commands from an armored transport far away from enemy lines.
According to the clone stormtrooper Hock Malsuum, a veteran of the battle, Hock's participation in the event was largely one of the reasons why the battlefield operation turned out decently the first day. As a direct result of the disastrous nature of the operation, Emperor Palpatine had Vader and Hock brought before him for questioning about the results of the mission. Vader also had Hock "lie through his teeth" to the Emperor, which was also the first time Hock met his liege in person. Vader and Malsuum then led a new assault, but the clone commander was shot down. He was able to sabotage the enemy's shield, allowing Vader to lead the army in. The army then wiped out all resistance in the city and left it broken.
In the aftermath of the Clone Wars, several surviving members of the then-defunct Confederacy of Independent Systems, also known as the Separatists, went into hiding on the fringes of the Outer Rim Territories. One of these cells went into hiding at the planet Ostor. They had hidden themselves there under the belief that the newly-formed Galactic Empire (which had formerly been the Galactic Republic) wouldn't trace them to the planet.
Unfortunately for them, the Galactic Empire's leader, Emperor Palpatine, had managed to trace them to the desolate planet, and ordered for various Imperial forces to conquer the planet and wipe out the Separatist Holdout. Because of the vital importance to the Empire the operation presented, Palpatine also assigned his top enforcer of the Empire, the Sith Lord Darth Vader to oversee the military operation at Ostor. Vader, however, failed to do proper reconnaissance prior to invading the planet, and did not directly participate in the operation. He instead stayed on-board a Venator-class Star Destroyer, and assigned direct command to a general by the name of Rohn.
- "Keep that banner up! Keep falling back!"
- ―General Farstar
The invasion began with an AT-TE, five AT-RTs, and 246 stormtroopers (led by the Clone Wars veteran CT-5539, renamed "Hock Malsuum.") to the Cliffside. Rohn, after reporting to Vader, then ordered for all of the soldiers to take no prisoners, while he himself was in an armored transport far behind enemy lines.
The two armies squared-off at a cliffside. The Separatists held a banner which read in part "General Rohn is a". The Imperial general ordered his forces to advance and take the banner down. Taking casualties, the Separatists slowly fell back. Malsuum noticed something strange about the retreat, and tried to get Rohn to call off the pursuit. He ran to the transport, and Rohn ordered him to stand down. He then boarded the transport, avoiding getting hit by two of the AT-RTs which had been ordered to take him into custody, one of which hit the transport, and Malsuum killed him as the general tried to forbid anyone from retreating. Malsuum was unable to stop the advance, and all the stormtroopers were killed within fifteen minutes by an ambush by Farstar, who had planted two armies on either side of the canyon. Lima Starcourt, Phootla Veer, and Reebo Keen helped plan the defense of their planet.
As a direct result of the operation's initial disastrous results, both Vader and Hock Malsuum were ordered to report directly to Palpatine for questioning regarding the reason behind the failure. Accompanying the Emperor at that time was Imperial Intelligence Director Armand Isard, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, and Imperial Advisor Janus Greejatus. Hock ended up "lying through [Hock's] teeth" to the Emperor during his first meeting with his liege, blaming the loss on Rohn's failures. Palpatine told Vader that he expected a more hands-on approach. Afterward, Vader invited him to fly on his wing.
- "Green Squadron, stay in formation and follow close. Prepare for initial pass."
- ―Malsuum at the beginning of the second phase
After Palpatine ordered Vader to take a more hands-on approach, he returned with an Imperial-class Star Destroyer. He led Green Squadron in an offensive against the enemy's shielded city. They encountered minimal anti-aircraft fire. As they attacked the shield, they were ambushed by V-19 Torrent starfighters—piloted by followers of the rogue clone Kaddak—and took multiple casualties. They engaged in a dogfight, before the enemy fighters suddenly vanished. Vader and Malsuum realized that they had left their warship unguarded, and the Sith Lord took most of the squadron with him to defend it. Malsuum was then shot down by Kaddak.
He woke up in an enemy hospital an indeterminate time later but walked out and found the enemy leaders, who told them that they were fighting to establish their own society. Malsuum then went to sabotage their operation in order to quickly end the fighting. He was able to disengage the shield, allowing the Imperial fighters to attack the city. Vader then led the ground forces into the city. Kaddak personally engaged Malsuum in personal combat.
The assembled separatists cheered them on. Malsuum slew Kaddak and then rejoined the assault. The army slaughtered all resistance in an hour as the city was left in ruins from the aerial strikes. Vader proceeded into the city and executed the three leaders, who never drew their weapons. Malsuum and Vader then found the hospital; the clone trooper called for them to kneel in front of Lord Vader, but the wounded stood defiantly. Vader executed them, although Malsuum called for him to stop. Malsuum then walked away after Vader paused for a moment.
- "Where's General Rohn? I want answers!"
"You'll get them from me. Because I killed him."
- ―Lord Vader and Malsuum
The operation turned out to be one of the worst military disasters the Empire had experienced, as well as the worst military disaster at the time. Hock later reflected that his presence was probably the only reason why the operation didn't turn out even worse than it had, and noted Vader's three mistakes as being the cause of the disaster. He also reflected that the Separatists' general, Atticus Farstar, was more deserving of his respect than his own commanding officer during the operation, Rohn.
What Malsuum saw Vader do during the battle haunted him years later, and he hoped that the cyborg had no humanity left in him. The clone trooper went into a life of agriculture after the offensive.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 3 (First appearance)
- Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 4
- Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 5
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows takes place 2 years after the Declaration of a New Order, which The Essential Reader's Companion places in 19 BBY.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 3
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 4
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 5