The Stardust plan was a proposed and semi-successfully implemented way for the New Republic Defense Fleet to locate, disable, and study Grand Admiral Thrawn's cloaked asteroids in hazardous orbit over Coruscant.
Need for the planEdit
During the "Siege of Coruscant" nine years after the battle of Yavin, Thrawn's forces dropped cloaked asteroids into the Galactic Capital's orbit. Accompanied by blank firings of the tractor beams, twenty-two asteroids were dropped from the hangars of the Star Destroyers Chimaera, Death's Head, and at least one other ship (though with Chimaera only able to produce seventy-two of the two hundred eighty-seven firings, it is probable that at least four Star Destroyers participated).
One of the asteroids was able to impact and do severe damage to the frigate Evanrue before Thrawn ordered the remainder of the recycled astrological object destroyed. The brief moments while the asteroid was uncloaked before its destruction were the New Republic's only clue as to what had come from the Imperial ships' hangars.
Because the controllers on the ground had recorded the twenty-two actual firings and as well as the two hundred sixty-five false firings, Coruscant became effectively a quarantine zone. The planetary shields would not be lowered except in absolute need, to keep the asteroids from falling from orbit and damaging the planet's surface or killing its inhabitants.
In an effort to remove the very dangerous nuisances from orbit, Generals Garm Bel Iblis and Carlist Rieekan worked with Admiral Hiram Drayson to locate the objects. Being completely unable to track their paths from the original launch points, the officers sent several transports, including the Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser Harrier to drop dust particles in the vicinity of the asteroids in Coruscant space.
Firing negative ion beams into the field of dust, and careful not to carve exhaust grooves through the particles, the ships charged the dust. This caused all the particles to have the same polarity, and they repelled each other. The sensors looked for turbulence that the visual displays and the eyes alone could not detect.
After three drops and charging of the dust particles, the forces were able to locate and disable one asteroid. The cloaking field collapsed, but before the asteroid could be collected and studied, it self-destructed. Thrawn did not want his technology distributed and studied.
The Stardust plan was continued in the weeks that followed and twenty more asteroids were destroyed. Between the twenty-one asteroids the New Republic had located and the one that Thrawn ordered destroyed during the battle, all of the astrological obstructions had been removed. But the New Republic was completely unaware of their accomplishment.
Because of the false firings, the fleet continued to look for what it believed to be nearly three hundred more asteroids in orbit.
Finally, when Talon Karrde arrived to speak with Mara Jade, imprisoned on the surface, he was able to reveal the purpose of the plot and the success of the Stardust plan to Leia Organa Solo and Garm Bel Iblis. He and the Wild Karrde had been at Bilbringi and captured footage of the twenty-two asteroids undergoing cloak installation. Although they had been unaware of their purpose at the time, Karrde was able to deduce the Empire's aim. Iblis and Karrde concluded that since Thrawn would not want to spread out his secret technology, only those twenty-two asteroids had been involved in the plan.
- The Last Command (First appearance)