6.5 years after the Battle of Endor (8.5 years post ANH), the Imperial Palace on Coruscant now houses the New Republic Provisional Government.
The following presents a description of the Galactic Empire following the Battle of Endor. Thus, the "setting" for the Emperor's Hammer in the chaos that is now the Imperium.
...The remnants of the Imperium and the New Republic Territories...
...Detailed view of the lines of battle between the Emperor's Hammer and the Rebel Squadrons...
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The following text was excerpted from the Dark Empire Sourcebook; Michael Allen Horne, West End Games; June, 1993; pp. 31-33:
(Images are primarily from X-Wing CD (1994) and TIE Fighter CD (1995), created by LucasArts)
The Old Republic had endured for millennia, evolving and maturing till it was as familiar as the night sky itself. Misty tales surrounded its birth and cloaked the heroes of its early years in the grandeur of legend. But as the Republic grew complacent, corruption flourished. Weakened thus, the Republic fell prey to the ambitions of one man and collapsed, a ruthless Galactic Empire rising in its place.
The Empire was founded by Palpatine and the members of his corrupt councils seeing the spirit of malaise. What no one could know was just how strong the unassuming president's ties to the Dark Side were. He knew only the Jedi Knights could defeat him, and so he took steps to eliminate them, Palpatine held absolute power through fear and violence. Compared to the Republic, the New Order was in its infancy, having endured only a couple of decades. But in that time its hold over the lives of its citizenry had become so invasive, its control so absolute, that those who fought against it seemed almost mad to rebel at all.
Around the New Order was gathered all the power a galaxy could offer: military might, in the form of star fleets; secret police, formed from the remnants of the Republic's intelligence services; and, an elite body of advisors and Dark Side Adepts.
The Defeat at Endor
During the difficult weeks immediately following the debacle at Endor, the problem was all too apparent to the Imperials themselves. In an absolutist state, power must be wielded absolutely. But by whom? It became increasingly apparent that succession to the throne was something the Emperor, so circumspect in everything else, had never seriously prepared for. When the Emperor was killed during the Battle of Endor, the speed with which the Empire's structure disintegrated amazed even some Alliance strategists. Obviously something was going very wrong in the Empire.
Some felt an unwitting heir might prove better than no heir at all, so a genealogical trace was proposed. Unfortunately, nearly all of Palpatine's personal records had been deleted from the known libraries. Nor had the Emperor left a will or any final orders.
During these chaotic months, the one person who might have offered some clue to a resolution was Grand Visier (Sate) Pestage. As Steward of the Imperial Personal Archives, he was privy to Palpatine's most secret holo-communications and recordings - if an heir was to be found in the Emperor's correspondence, this was where to look. Pestage refused, providing no explanation.
Many feared Pestage might have his eye on the throne. He had been running many of the day-to-day affairs of the Empire on his own even before the Battle of Hoth, allowing the Emperor to go about his arcane studies. To some minds, it seemed quite likely he might claim some executive privilege.
The ranks of Imperial Advisors, never cooperative in the best of times, felt a new kinship and closed ranks against Pestage. Within weeks, he was impeached as Visier, formally censured, and stripped of his properties, titles and privileges. All that saved him from the disintegration booth was his surprising offer to retire permanently to private life on Byss, the Emperor's personal sanctuary world. Little did anyone suspect his real reasons for doing this.
If the Emperor had not left a designated successor, and there was no constitutional procedure for one, then those with ambition felt they must make a new emperor from among themselves. But the Empire seemed uncontrolled and uncontrollable. Charismatic leaders who seemed capable of asserting power were toppled by jealous rivals and their own greed as time and the Alliance fleet trampled the once great Empire.
This crisis in authority was now seriously harming the war against the New Republic, and public confidence was eroding rapidly. Of course, the rule in the individual sectors had not changed significantly in the inner portions of the galaxy, but as Mon Calamari cruisers, Corellian corvettes and the rest of the Republic fleet drove Star Destroyers from planet after planet, there was a growing sense that the "Imperial juggernaut" would face defeat. Soon, when many spoke of Palpatine, it was as an emperor, no longer as the emperor. Sheer arrogance led them to blame Palpatine for the failings of the Empire, rather than look to their own weaknesses and folly.
It proved nearly impossible to coordinate the hundreds of surviving task forces across the sea of space. Access codes changed overnight, troops received inconsistent orders, and commanders were intractable and independent. The Navy might order a system under Rebel siege defended, only to find a few weeks later the same fleet had been, with all proper procedure, redirected to an insignificant fortress world deep in the core.
Furthermore, each planet to join the New Republic was one less world to pay taxes into the once limitless treasury, causing one fiscal crisis after another. This wasn't helped much by the fact that Palpatine had always kept the left hand guessing what the right was up to, so any attempt to streamline the enormous spending programs proved futile. All attempts to guarantee proper apportionment of credits vital to perimeter defense efforts failed. Huge sums continued to be spent on useless projects, like the long delayed palace in the Corporate Sector.
Most notable was the ceaseless construction on the prototype Eclipse-class Super Star Destroyer. Designed as the flagship for the late Emperor, it was typical of the type of self-aggrandizing acts that had once been obsequiously approved, yet couldn't now be justified. Clearly naval planners felt traditional ships of the line were what were needed to handle the Rebellion, not some grandiose yacht sitting for years in space dock with no sign of completion.
The Empire disintegrated under its own weight, splintering into countless factions with cautious allegiances to other factions, and all swearing loyalty to the "Empire". All this time, while party officials, admirals and advisors jockeyed for some clear mandate, the New Republic was more than ready to fill the vacuum. Of course, they had their work cut out for them: strategically the Empire was dying like a wounded vornskr, but that was when a vornskr was most dangerous. With so much chaos, it was unsurprising that dozens of systems opted out of either side and formed independent system-states. Neither Empire nor Republic could spare the personnel or resources to make much of an appeal to these iconoclasts. Both sides resolved to settle the more important matter of which government would survive first, and then parley with these worlds.
Ironically, many turned to nostalgia for the Old Republic as a solution. Despite his dissolution of the Senate, Palpatine had been elected by that body in the first place, so many tried to claim its backing. Former senators were drafted, cajoled or bribed into becoming figureheads, supporting this Moff or that general in their ambitions.
The Republic steadily forced the Empire back, claiming system after system, sector after sector. Some Imperial factions fought to the death, such as those under Lord Shadowspawn; others surrendered and were absorbed into the growing Republic.
Others proposed peace plans. For example, three years after Endor, Admiral Betl Oxtroe began making secret overtures to the New Republic to negotiate the creation of a parliamentary monarchy. She proposed Ederathh Pallopides, an eleven year old remote grandniece of Palpatine, as heir. The Republic's Provisional Council would replace the Imperial Advisors in exchange for amnesty for the military. Sadly, the first round of talks had only begun when the Admiral fell to an assassin's blade, presumably wielded by Noghri, and the plan was forgotten.
Four years after Endor, the New Republic controlled half the galaxy and was able to claim Coruscant, once the capital of the Empire."
The Empire was in ruin, only a parcel of what it once was a mere few years previously. With Admirals taking their own fleets and forming their own empires, all looks but lost, until a hero of the Empire emerges.
Appointed as the second to the last Grand Admiral, by Emperor Palpatine, Thrawn returns from the Unknown Regions and takes command of what is left of the Imperial war machine. To test his fleet's readiness, the admiral launched a hit-and-run attack on the planet Bpfassh and two other worlds in the Sluis system. He also stole mole miners from Lando Calrissian's mining operation on Nkllon to use in his next attack on the Sluis Van shipyards. In a move to trap the Republic leaders, Thrawn's ships released cloaked asteroids and confusing sensors into orbit above Coruscant.
At a climatic confrontation at the Bilbringi shipyards, Thrawn was surprised by the appearance of a fleet of smuggler ships aiding the New Republic, and his forces were defeated when he was taken unaware and stabbed by his own bodyguard.
Within the following week, Coruscant fell to the combined forces of the Empire who had been inspired by Grand Admiral Thrawn, however, they fell to pity bickering and began a civil war amongst themselves on the planet. Reeling from this small war, the Imperial forces had to defend Coruscant when the New Republic launched a counter-strike and attempted to retake the planet.
All of this of course, was but a mere portion of the Emperor's plan to weed out the weak and let the strong amongst the Empire live. Hidden away on the Emperor's sanctuary planet Byss, Sate Pestage activated the cloning tanks and resurrected the Emperor as ordered. With a fleet of warships, the resurrected Emperor dispatched a new line of command ships to his four most trusted officers, and took his prized Eclipse-class Super Star Destroyer against the New Republic at their new base of command.
The Emperor was defeated, yet the officers of the Empire lived on and continued to fight for what they believed in. Knowing that the Emperor had formed his base of power by eliminating the Jedi Knights, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker formed an academy to train those adept the ways of the Force. The Empire was at a loss, they had no way to combat Jedi Knights, especially seeing whereas just one had defeated the Emperor. Yet, their was still hope. Thrawn had been the second to last of the Grand Admirals and had been sent to tame the Unknown Regions. The last of the Grand Admirals had been given similar orders for the Minos Cluster.
Having survived for so long and still holding quite some ground for the Empire, the last of the Grand Admirals was one of the four officers that the Emperor trusted most and gave one of the new command ships, the Sovereign-class Super Star Destroyers. For five long years after the battle of Endor, an officer of such caliber arose, he was Grand Admiral Ronin. He had been given command of the Emperor's Hammer strike fleet as well as a perfect base of operations to attack the New Republic from. Building his remnant of the Empire with the aid of Dark Jedi, he was able to make a force worthy of his ranks holdings.
Now, prepared for the war of all time, with an army of veteran Imperial officers and Dark Jedi Adepts, Grand Admiral Ronin readies his fleet for the battle ahead. And so the adventure begins...
EH History last updated: May 5, 2009