The Siege of the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex was the second battle of the Batonn insurgency, a campaign of the Batonn sector insurgency. Following the Battle of Scrim Island, the Batonn insurgents led by Nevil Cygni (or "Nightswan") relocated to the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex near Paeragosto City. Admiral Thrawn's attempts to end the siege peacefully were rebuffed by Nightswan, who distrusted the local Governor Restos and wanted to overthrow the Empire. Thrawn's management of the siege was also complicated by an Imperial Security Bureau operation by Agent Gudry to plant explosives inside the mine. The siege came to an end when the Lothalian Governor Arihnda Pryce remotely blew up the mine's explosives and deflector shield generator to conceal Gudry's murder. The explosion destroyed the complex and ended the Batonn sector insurgency but killed many civilians.
During the Imperial Era, the former pirate Nevil Cygni, who adopted the persona "Nightswan", led an insurgency against the Galactic Empire. His nemesis was the Chiss Admiral Thrawn, a rising star in the Imperial Navy. Nightswan became the leader of the Batonn insurgents, an insurgent group in the Batonn sector that opposed the Galactic Empire and the corrupt Governor Restos. Nightswan engineered the Battle of Scrim Island in an attempt to destroy Thrawn's career. However, Thrawn outmaneuvered the Batonn insurgents and neutralized their ion cannons and turbolaser, forcing them to surrender.
Despite the surrender of the insurgents on Scrim Island, many of the insurgents managed to evacuate with their weapons and equipment on eight freighters. Using Captain Brento's information, Commander Eli Vanto managed to track the shipping vectors to the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex near the Paeragosto City on Batonn's main continent. The mining complex was home to 30,000 civilians including Governor Arihnda Pryce's parents Talmoor and Elainye Pryce, who worked at the mine. Nightswan chose to evacuate his forces to Creekpath since the complex was protected by a DSS-02 regional shield. He gambled that the Empire would no longer consider his insurgents a threat following Scrim Island's recapture. However, Thrawn realized that the Batonn insurgents had gone into hiding and did not withdraw his 96th Task Force from Batonn.
Nightswan's forces were able to set up base inside Creekpath's mine because Governor Restos had neglected to send soldiers to secure the mine's checkpoints. Restos instead requisitioned the soldiers for his own personal protection and provided the mine management with a used DSS-02 regional shield. This allowed the insurgents to secure the shield generator and expel the operators. The Batonn insurgents established a checkpoint at the edge of Creekpath's shield. Nightswan's forces included several police gunships and skim fighters. In response, the Empire deployed Imperial Navy Troopers and Batonn Defense Force soldiers to set a roadblock on the main road leading from Paerogosto City to the Creekpath mining complex. Since the Empire did not consider Batonn and Paerogosto City to be full military zones, Admiral Thrawn found his authority over the military forces limited.
The Siege of the Creekpath complex was complicated by two other factors. First, Governor Arihnda Pryce wanted to rescue her parents from the Creekpath complex out of her love for her family. Second, the Imperial Security Bureau wanted to send one of their agents Gudry into the mine to collect intelligence on the insurgents' defenses and equipment for a planned Imperial orbital strike. Agent Gudry however also had a secret mission to attach remotely-controlled explosives to the insurgents' weapons and deflector shield. Though Pryce was only a civilian, she managed to convince the ISB Colonel Wullf Yularen that she could help get Gudry into the mine and spy on the insurgents' defenses.
For the mission, Agent Gudry posed as "Mattai Daw" and adopted the cover story that he was entering the mine to find his friend "Blazye Jono" who had gotten mixed up in the "mine situation." To hide her true identity, Pryce donned a long blonde wig and contact lenses. To avoid arousing suspicions, Colonel Yularen with Thrawn's approval arranged for Gudry and Pryce to travel from Dennogra aboard a regional planet hopper and land at Paeragosto City. Their travel from Thrawn's Imperial Star Destroyer Chimaera to Dennogra and back to Batonn took twelve hours.
Meanwhile, Thrawn ordered that repairs be made to the three damaged Imperial light cruisers Flensor, Shyrack, and Tumnor, which had taken part in the Battle of Scrim Island. The ships orbited Batonn and were supposedly in a vulnerable state. However, Thrawn had secretly equipped the repair barges with a complement of TIE fighters loaned by Admiral Durril. When Colonel Yularen queried about Thrawn's unusual positioning of the light cruisers in a 100 km equilateral triangle above space, Command Vanto told Yularen to trust Thrawn's decision-making.
Behind enemy linesEdit
A disguised Pryce and Gudry managed to travel through the insurgents' checkpoint and reunited with Talmoor and Elainye at the couple's home. Having found her parents, Pryce and "Mattai Daw" managed to convince Talmoor to lead them into the mine under the pretext of finding "Blayze Jonoo", who was purportedly a weapons expert in the mine. Talmoor revealed that the Batonn insurgents had holed themselves up in the mine. He expressed sympathy for the rebels and claimed they were fighting for peoples' rights against a "repressive and dangerous government." While publicly supporting Daw's plan to find his friend, she secretly swapped her mother's comm for her own since she planned to escape the mining complex with her parents before the Empire attacked.
Meanwhile, Thrawn contacted the insurgent leader Nightswan from orbit to arrange a face-to-face meeting. The two agreed to meet at a field two kilometers northeast of the Creekpath facility. Thrawn had chosen the site because it included a ridge of low hills that blocked casual observation, but was still easily accessible from the insurgent camp. Thrawn traveled to the site in a disguised freighter.
Talmoor managed to convince the second ring of insurgents guarding the mine to let him, Pryce, and Gudry through. While Gudry was walking with Talmoor, Pryce hid inside a speeder truck and used her mother's comm to contact her father. Pretending to be her mother, Pryce called Talmoor and claimed that Elainye was ill and needed him at home. Gudry reluctantly allowed Pryce to leave the mine with her father so that he could spend the next hour completing his mission. Before leaving, Gudry reported that Nightswan had police gunships and skim fighters. Pryce in returned alerted him to the presence of a speeder truck carrying Makrid String crates, a wire explosive.
Parleying with NightswanEdit
Meanwhile, Thrawn and Nightswan met at the empty field. Nightswan admitted that he was behind the earlier insurgent encounters with Thrawn. Nightswan also revealed that the Empire was siphoning off large amounts of doonium, iridium, and other metals for an unknown project, which turned out to be the Death Star. While Nightswan had envisioned bringing all the insurgent and rebel groups together under one roof, he abandoned the idea due to the paranoia, distrust, and squabbling among the various rebel cells.
Seeking to end the siege peacefully, Thrawn discussed his motivations for joining the Empire. He explained that his people the Chiss Ascendancy had sent him to forge an alliance with the Empire due to the presence of mysterious "evil things" in the Unknown Regions. While Thrawn acknowledged the the Empire was indeed corrupt and tyrannical, he regarded the Empire as preferable to the threats in the Unknown Regions and a chaotic galaxy.
While Nightswan believed that the rebellion would bring justice, mercy, and freedom, Thrawn believed that the fall of the Empire would bring chaos and lawlessness as in the Clone Wars. Despite serving Emperor Palpatine, Thrawn recognized the Emperor's flaws and hoped to use his authority to influence the appointment of a more worthy successor in the event of the Emperor's death. Thrawn then offered Nightswan a place among the Chiss Ascendancy if he would abandon his people and insurrection. Despite Thrawn's reassurances that he would ensure that Nightswan's followers could return to their homes and jobs without reprisals, Nightswan believed that Governor Restos and Thrawn's superiors would not honor the deal.
Despite being unable to break the siege, Nightswan extracted a promise from Thrawn to protect the civilians of Creekpath. Thrawn agreed and also offered clemency if they surrendered. After parting company, Thrawn was picked up in an airspeeder by Colonel Yularen, who expressed anger that Thrawn had been talking with the enemy. While the two were close friends, Yularen warned that others could misconstrue Thrawn's meeting with Nightswan as a sign of treason. Thrawn also reassured Yularen that the light cruisers were in safe hands. In return, Yularen informed him that Gudry had managed to attach explosives to the shield generator and explosives cache at Creekpath base.
Pryce's escape and Thrawn's trapEdit
Upon returning to the Pryce home, Arihnda told her parents that they needed to get away from Gudry. Unaware of Thrawn's plans, Pryce claimed that Thrawn's task force was going to bomb Creekpath and that they needed to flee. Before they could leave, Pryce was confronted by Gudry, who discovered her deception. He chided her for abandoning their search and revealed that his mission was a "search and destroy mission." Gudry by then had attached four triggers to an explosives cache and the shield generator. He planned to used his comm to remotely trigger the explosives. Pryce insisted on taking her parents but Gudry responded that they would only draw attention.
Before Gudry could shoot them, Pryce flung a stack of datacards at him. Pryce managed to fight him in unarmed combat and broke his elbow. Pryce also managed to snatch his blaster and shot him in the chest three times. While her parents fetched their medpac and suitcase, Pryce took the opportunity to search Gudry's clothes for the trigger. Meanwhile, Yularen attempted to contact Pryce and Gudry but was unable to reach them. Still, he refused to trigger the explosives until there was clear evidence they had been captured or kill. Commander Faro had also deployed the Chimaeara's TIE fighters on patrol duty around Batonn.
Based on Gudry's intelligence about the Batonn insurgents having gunships and skim fighters, Thrawn planned to use the Chimaeara to bombard the insurgent ships once Creekpath's shield had been taken down. While preparing for ground assault, Thrawn convinced Yularen to loan him a special-duty squad to rescue Pryce and Agent Gudry; unaware of what had happened on the ground. Thrawn also ordered the ground commanders on the west and north to harass the Creekpath insurgents. However, he added that they were not to enter the complex until the shield was down or he gave new orders.
Shortly later, the Chimaera's bridge crew reported that three attack squadrons consisting of thirty ships had emerged out of hyperspace to attack Thrawn's task force. Thrawn had in fact presented the damaged light cruisers and the Chimaera as bait to lure the Batonn insurgents into launching their attack. While Vanto was alarmed, Thrawn remained calm and ordered Senior Lieutenant Lomar to order the light cruisers to detach from the barges. The barges then deployed three squadrons of TIE fighters which attacked the insurgent ships. With the tables turned on the insurgents, Thrawn unleashed the Chimaeara's turbolasers on the insurgent fleet.
As the Pryce family made their way towards the insurgents' outer picket line, the Imperial forces began opening fire on the north and west of the complex. While Talmoor dealt with a sentry, Pryce blew up a bulldozer-type machine with a comm-triggered blasting cap. She was cornered by another guard but managed to shoot him while the bulldozer exploded. When her parents noticed the fallen insurgent, she claimed that he had been hit by shrapnel fire. At Arihnda's urging, she and her parents reached the Imperial picket lines where they were greeted by two Imperial Navy troopers. They informed her that Colonel Yularen had sent a rescue team to her parents' home. The troopers brought the Pryces to their commanding officer Major Talmege. In attempt to prevent the special squad from reporting Gudry's dead body, Pryce used Gudry's comm to blow up the second remote, which set off Nightswan's cache of explosives.
The explosion destroyed the entire Creekpath complex within the boundaries of the deflector shield. When the surviving insurgent ships in space learnt about the bombing, they abandoned their attack and fled into space. Thrawn allowed them to escape in order to demoralize the other rebels. The entire Batonn insurgent movement holed up at Creekpath complex including Nightswan were killed during the bombing, along with numerous civilians. Imperial forces found Nightswan's body in one of the outer areas, where the damage was less extensive. As a result, the insurgents in the Batonn sector were eliminated.
The bombing of the explosions cache in the Creekpath mining complex ended the siege in the Empire's favor. While many believed the insurgents had blown themselves up, Arihnda knew that she was responsible for the bombing. When Elainye criticized the Empire for the bombing, Pryce blamed the rebels. Pryce then arranged for her parents to be ferried on the transport Duggenhei to Lothal, where she made arrangements to host them in one of the guest suites at the governor's mansion. Admiral Thrawn ordered Colonel Yularen and the ground commanders to embark on a search and rescue operation for many survivors. He also summoned Pryce and Yularen for an audience aboard the Chimaera.
Colonel Yularen expressed outrage at the high fatality rate and the deaths of civilians. Pryce claimed that Gudry had been captured by the insurgents and ignited the explosives in order to avoid capture. However, Yularen expressed skepticism that Gudry would have ignited the explosives first but acknowledged there was insufficient evidence to question Pryce's account. Yularen also blamed Pryce for the deaths of the troopers that he had sent to rescue her. Despite the high civilian death rate, the Emperor was pleased with Thrawn's pacification of the Batonn insurgency. While Thrawn shared Yularen's distaste for collateral damage, he took credit for the victory at Batonn at the urging of Pryce, who became his informal political adviser. In private, Thrawn and Vanto confided that Pryce somehow had a hand in the explosion.
Following the siege, Thrawn met with his benefactor Emperor Palpatine, who promoted him to the rank of Grand Admiral and gave him command of the Seventh Fleet. At the request of Governor Pryce, Thrawn was dispatched by Governor Wilhuff Tarkin to deal with the rebel insurgency in the Lothal sector. While the ISB Agent Alexsandr Kallus expressed concerns about the high civilian death rate, Pryce responded that the casualties were within "acceptable margins" since the rebel presence in the Batonn sector had been eradicated.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Siege of the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex was first indirectly mentioned in Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow, which premiered at Celebration Europe on July 16, 2016. The siege was later explored and developed in Timothy Zahn's 2017 novel Thrawn, which serves as a canonical origins story for the eponymous character.