- "Good climate. Lots of natural resources. The thick growth of trees will give us perfect air cover. And from the looks of it, no dangerous animals. We might have found just what we're looking for."
- ―Leia Organa
Arbra was a densely forested planet that became the headquarters of the Rebel Alliance after the evacuation of Golrath Station, around 3 ABY. Home to the lagomorphic Hoojibs, Arbra was once inhabited by an ancient race who had resided in subterranean cities.
As a safe haven in a desperate hour for the Rebellion, Arbra earned the nickname "Salvation." They launched many missions against the Empire from the world during their stay. The location of Arbra was kept top-secret, and the Rebel base on its surface was heavily secured. Though the planet was never attacked by Imperial forces during the Rebels' stay, there were close calls, and Arbra offered its own share of dangers.
After the Battle of Endor, Arbra remained a member of the Alliance of Free Planets, and later the New Republic. The system was overlooked by the Yuuzhan Vong during their invasion, and served as a location to slowly build up military forces.
- "This planet seems perfect!"
Occupying the second orbit in its system, Arbra had one moon. Unlike most planets, it was not a spherical world. The world was located in the Outer Rim Territories, approximately midway between Omwat and Naboo.
From the air, Arbra looked like any other undeveloped forest world, covered mostly with trees—some up to a mile in height—with the occasional mountain jutting up and lakes and small seas filling what space was left. There was no trace of technology on the world's surface, causing many observers to assume it lacked intelligent life.
Despite the tranquil appearance of the surface, hidden deep within a huge cavern was a vast array of geothermal power rods that drew energy from the planet's core. The geothermal energy was then transformed into electricity and released into the atmosphere as high-altitude lightning, thus regulating the planet's stability. It was also the primary food source for the native Hoojibs, a species that consumed energy directly. Luke Skywalker believed the energy stemmed from the the Force, somehow balancing out the dark side energy well in the ancient Arbran city lying underneath the cavern.
Despite being rich in resources, Arbra remained a relatively unknown world until the Rebels arrived. The Rebels found this mysterious, and had no satisfactory explanation for it.
In the pre-Republic era, Arbra was colonized by the Sith; located in the southern quadrant far from the Sith Worlds, it was the most distant from the other Sith colonies. By the time of Xim the Despot, the Arbrans had settled themselves in a large city deep within the lowest levels of the crystalline cavern that would house the future Rebel base.
The Arbrans discovered a way to remove their base emotions—anger, fear, hatred—from themselves, in the process creating a corporeal being that embodied all the negative emotions, known as the Darker. It would have been possible to destroy the creature, but as it was in some ways a part of themselves, they decided to let it live, locking it behind a force screen that prevented the passage of anything exhibiting negative feelings. At some point the Arbrans then migrated offworld, leaving their city and the Darker locked behind the screen. The Hoojibs knew that there was a darkness in those caverns, but did not know its nature and learned to avoid it.
In 1 BBY, the smuggler Han Solo abandoned his partner Billal Batross on the world. Around 3 ABY, a Yuuzhan Vong creation known as the slivilith, which had been drifting through space for millennia, was caught by Arbra's gravity. It detected the warmth the planet's unique crystals generated and took up residence in the crystal cave. Unfortunately for the Hoojibs, this was their main food source, as they consumed the crystals' energy directly. Driven out of the cave, they were forced to forage for other power sources.
- "We could search a dozen galaxies and not find a better base site than this!"
- ―Rebel scout
Following their loss at the Battle of Hoth, the Rebel Alliance was in desperate need of a new permanent base of operations, hidden from the Empire. It was during this time that a force under the command of Leia Organa and General Carlist Rieekan discovered Arbra. Preliminary reports on the world were promising—there was no dangerous wildlife, and the planet's only native species, the Hoojibs, were non-threatening and assumed to not be very intelligent—and so the Rebel fleet set course for the planet. While the fleet waited in orbit, a survey mission led by Leia Organa traveled to the surface to gather more information and determine any possible dangers.
At first, the planet seemed paradisaical, and the Rebel scouting team nicknamed it "Salvation." Initial contact with the Hoojibs seemed to support the reports on them. In order to keep the bulk of the Rebel forces from being caught unawares, the fleet moved away from the planet while the ground team carried out their mission, setting a course along the ecliptic and looking to return in three days. On the first night, however, the survey team awoke to find that Hoojibs were swarming over their machinery and droid C-3PO.
When the Rebels awoke, the Hoojibs scattered, but Chewbacca apprehended one. He was surprised to find it speaking telepathically to him, and it identified itself as Plif, the Hoojib spokesmind. Plif explained to the Rebels their nature as energy-consumers and the crisis with the slivilith, which had forced them to feed on the Rebels' power supplies. All but two of the Rebels' blasters were now non-functional, and with their radio drained of power they could not contact the fleet to be rescued, and so they joined forces with the Hoojibs to defeat the slivilith. After a heated battle, the creature was killed by Chewbacca.
When they saw the slivilith's cave and its power rods, the Rebels realized how advantageous relocating to Arbra could be. However, the Hoojibs were not willing to give up their home, and fighting threatened to break out between the two groups. Leia broke the standoff, promising that, as it was the Hoojibs' world, the Alliance would leave them be. However, Plif relented, offering to share their territory with the Rebels. When the fleet returned to orbit, they began the process of moving into their new base on Arbra.
Arbra was well suited to its role as a hidden base. Its location was considered to be prime, and the lack of any civilization but the Hoojibs made it ideally secluded. The closely intertwining branches of the expansive forests shielded ground movement from observers in the air, and the cave system provided a convenient shelter. The pleasant climate and abundance of natural resources, including the practically unlimited power obtainable from the geothermal crystals, only made it more ideal. The cavern itself was deep enough to resist Imperial probes and large enough to house the Rebels' entire operation.
The Alliance engaged in regular scouting patrols, using T-47 airspeeders painted in green camouflage. The approach to the main base was along a narrow path carved through the forest growth, with sentries in the branches along its edge monitoring the way, and guns poised to shoot down any intruders. Arriving vessels were required to transmit a code phrase to identify themselves.
The base itself, located in the mountain that held the crystal caves, was lined with gun emplacements. Its hangar and launch bay, located in the mouth of the cave, was also the only entrance to the base, and was concealed by a blast-shielded false rock wall that covered its entrance when it was not in use. As this entrance was a vulnerable point, Chief Logistics Officer Captain Kavel Mesa arranged for other tunnels out of the base and emergency exits for ships to be dug.
As the main base of operations, Arbra was the launching point for many Rebel missions in this period. The rescue of Lando Calrissian from the Imperial-controlled Cloud City, the strike against Spindrift Station, the destruction of Golrath Station, and the mission against the the fleet of Mils Giel, which resulted in the apparent death of pilot and Imperial spy Shira Brie, were all carried out from the Arbra base. Arbra was also where Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa planned and launched the rescue of Han Solo.
The Alliance was very careful to keep Arbra's location secret, only giving its coordinates to the most trusted Rebel operatives. Shira Brie tried to obtain them by claiming to have a personal matter to attend to on her supposed homeworld of Shalyvane, but was unable to convince Princess Leia to give her the information. To protect the location of Arbra, the Alliance was forced to destroy their former base at Golrath Station when they discovered the unique image-recording capabilities of the rocks on that world.
In orbit around the planet, the Rebel fleet could be easily spotted, risking the exposure of the Arbran base. In response, Leia Organa proposed a risky plan; using five Kerts-Bhrg generators, capable of holding back the heat of a star's chromosphere, a pyramidal net could be created around the fleet, allowing it to enter the outer layers of the Arbran sun and so evade detection.
Moments after the fleet was in place, Rebel scanners detected Imperial vessels in the quadrant. Leia promptly left the fleet in a shuttle, accidentally leaving behind C-3PO and R2-D2. The latter had detected a failure in the generator's equipment, which soon knocked the crew unconscious and began to weaken the protective field. Meanwhile, the Imperial vessels, four TIE fighters, arrived in the system, forcing Leia's shuttle to hide. Back in the Arbran chromosphere, the two droids were the only beings capable of fixing the generator and saving the fleet.
The TIE fighters soon left, not having detected the Rebels. Meanwhile, C-3PO and R2-D2 made a daring spacewalk from the generator to a Nebulon-B frigate in the fleet, where they connected a power cable from the former to the ship's reactor. This was sufficient to boost the generator's ability enough to keep the fleet safe. Repairs were presumably made, as the fleet remained hidden in the sun from then on. A quarter of the fleet's starfighters were kept with the fleet.
The cave in which the Darker resided had lain undisturbed until the arrival of the Rebels, which the being sensed. It detected that their technology was capable of destroying the force screen keeping it trapped, and began broadcasting a mental cry for help. R2-D2, traveling through the cave system, heard this and accidentally found his way into its domain. There the creature took him apart, determined to use the droid's parts to escape and avenge itself upon the long-gone Arbrans.
The Hoojibs, seeing this, warned C-3PO and Chewbacca, and the entire group went down into the Darker's cave. After making the Hoojibs flee by instilling fear in them, the creature used its powers to turn Chewbacca's loyalty into hatred against C-3PO. After a short chase, C-3PO discovered the secret to destroying the creature in the Arbrans' library. By making Chewbacca remember Han Solo, C-3PO broke the Darker's spell over him, and the Wookiee turned on the being, flinging him into the force screen. The screen absorbed the Darker's energies, killing it and emitting a surge of energy that collapsed the underground city, with the droids, Chewbacca, and the Hoojibs barely escaping in time. C-3PO later recommended that guards be posted at the entrance.
Shortly after the Darker incident, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and others left Arbra in search of Han Solo, though they would return after being sidetracked from their search by other Rebel business. Around this time, the Rebels may have brought supplies from their former base on Hoth to Arbra.
New Republic memberEdit
With the death of Emperor Palpatine and the destruction of the second Death Star, the Rebel Alliance and soon after the newly-formed Alliance of Free Planets relocated its core group to Endor, the site of its victory, and the base on Arbra was abandoned.
However, the Hoojibs remained part of the Alliance. Shortly after Endor, Leia spoke in front of the Alliance's Provisional Council to support Plif's nomination as the representative of Arbra in the new government. The Alliance made use of Arbra once more in the Nagai-Tof War, when General Carlist Rieekan pulled a large deployment of soldiers to Haven Base following the Nagai's attack on Endor and the subsequent Alliance evacuation of that world.
Plif would later go on to become the Senator of his world in the New Republic, where he was noted for his wisdom and compassion. Arbra would remain a steady member of the Republic. Despite Arbra's suitability for colonization, Senator Plif convinced the Republic leadership to make no major settlements on the world itself. Mining facilities, a refueling station, and a small shipyard were constructed on other planets in the system and in orbit around Arbra.
An ancient pre-Republic civilization, the Arbrans, had once lived on the world, but they had left long before the Rebellion arrived. By the time of the Empire, the sole native species were the Hoojibs, a diminutive furry race that communicated through telepathy. They lacked any technology, and survived by feeding off power. The government of the Hoojibs was clan-based, each clan arranged in a communal structure and having its own clan speaker, and the entire Hoojib race was represented by one spokesmind; Plif during the time of the Rebellion.
The only other known sentient inhabitant of Arbra was the Darker. With the power to instill negative feelings in beings, it also had telepathic abilities, and seems to have been a manifestation of the dark side of the Force. The Darker was killed by Chewbacca in 3 ABY, leaving its city uninhabited.
Haven Base, also known as the "Hole in the Ground," was the cavern base established by Alliance High Command that housed the Rebels in their time on Arbra. The cavern was deep enough to resist Imperial scans and large enough to house the Rebels' entire operation, as well as having its own built-in power source in the power rods.
The Arbran base was divided into numbered modules and corridors; the mess, for example, was located at Corridor 14, Module 3. Other facilities included a briefing room, a laboratory, a courtroom where Luke Skywalker once stood trial for the apparent killing of Shira Brie, private quarters for higher-ranking Rebels, and the Great Hall, where ceremonies were held.
Hoojibs were a common sight throughout the base, and often communed with the Rebels in the mess. After their first contact with the Rebels, the Hoojibs avoided feeding on the energy of Rebel droids.
Located in a grotto directly underneath Haven Base, the ancient city of the Arbrans once housed their race, but in later years would be the home of the Darker. Amongst its building, it held a library, a dining hall, and a central plaza with a fountain. The entire city was surrounded by a force shield sensitive to negative emotions, designed to keep the Darker trapped within.
When the Darker was thrown into the force shield, killing it, the subsequent release of energy sealed the entrance to the city, and may have completely destroyed it.