- "No. A larger plan. This aberration of an attack must not become our dominant mode of doing business, Adea. We must deal with Rax quickly. Mercilessly. If he is given time, he will spin this as only he can. He will attempt to convince the others that it was sensible, a necessary evil."
"What if they do? Surely the New Republic will be left reeling—"
"Don't be seduced by Rax… The Empire is a hammer striking down disorder, not a knife slipped between unsuspecting ribs. Rax must be arrested. And then executed. I will be the one to do it."
- ―Rae Sloane and Adea Rite react to the Attack on Chandrila
The attack on Chandrila occurred during the festivities of Liberation Day—the day scheduled for peace talks between Mon Mothma of the New Republic and Rae Sloane of the Galactic Empire—on Chandrila, newly-freed prisoners from Ashmead's Lock on Kashyyyk who were under the influence of controller chips, involuntarily attacked Mothma and other New Republic leaders. Mothma and Kyrsta Agate were injured in the attacks, while Hostis Ij, Crix Madine, and others were rumored to be dead. Masterminded by Gallius Rax, the attacks horrified Sloane, who considered the tactic too close to the tactics of the Rebel Alliance and New Republic she despised.
By 5 ABY, the New Republic, the successor government to the former Rebel Alliance, had secured large swaths of the galaxy from the embattled Galactic Empire. With the loss of the planet Kuat and its massive orbital shipyards, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, the highest-ranking Imperial Military officer and the public face of the Empire, posed as the mysterious Operator and contacted Chancellor Mon Mothma, Fleet Admiral Gial Ackbar, and Princess Leia Organa via hologram to propose peace talks with the New Republic.
Chancellor Mothma agreed to entertain Sloane's peace talks but reiterated that the Galactic Senate had to be party to these negotiations. However, Grand Admiral Sloane proposed that she talk to her people and suggested holding the peace talks on the planet Chandrila with minimal guard as a gesture of trust. Sloane told Mon Mothma to contact her using a secure channel before ending the meeting. Following this meeting, Chancellor Mothma gave orders to convene an emergency session of the Galactic Senate to discuss holding peace talks with the Empire.
In secret, the peace talks were merely a ruse for Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax's planned attack on Chandrila, the New Republic's capital. Rax was the true leader of the Empire and operated from behind the scenes through Sloane and her Shadow Council. With Sloane disagreeing with his long-term strategy for the Empire, Rax wanted to assassinate her during the peace talks through his agent Adea Rite, Sloane's aide.
While Sloane was aware that the peace talks were a ruse for Rax's attack, she did not know that Rax was intending to use the liberated rebel prisoners from Ashmead's Lock to assassinate the Chancellor and key New Republic officials. Rax had inserted the prisoners with inorganic chips and made arrangements with his local agent the Senate Guardsman Windom Traducier to "activate" the prisoners with a transponder planted on Hanna City's opera house.
The facade of diplomacy
A month after Sloane's initial contact with the New Republic leaders, the Galactic Senate voted to proceed with the peace talks. A public celebration called Liberation Day was also organized to celebrate the liberation of prisoners from the secret Ashmead's Lock prison on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk, which was still under Imperial occupation. Liberation Day was a public relations campaign designed to promote the New Republic and would be broadcast live on HoloNet to the galaxy. Several systems were considering joining the New Republic and Chancellor Mothma hoped to sway them.
When Chancellor Mothma suggested discussing the liberation of Kashyyyk, Princess Leia considered the freedom of the Wookiees a non-negotiable matter. Her husband Han Solo's co-pilot Chewbacca was a Wookiee and Solo had undertaken a campaign to liberate the Wookiees as a gesture of friendship. Despite her persistent efforts, Leia had failed to marshal the votes needed to send aid and troops to Kashyyyk since the New Republic was already preoccupied with protecting and aiding other worlds and systems that had been liberated from the Empire. Though Mothma had given orders for the New Republic Defense Force not to attack Kashyyyk, this did not stop Han, Chewie, and their team of smugglers and Wookiee exiles from organizing a slave revolt.
Putting Rax's orders into action, Windom Traducier used the transponder to summon the Ashmead Lock captives and outfitted each of them with small concealable, graphene blasters. Since the former captives would mingle with Chancellor Mothma and the New Republic leadership, Traducier deduced that they would be reliable assets. When Temmin Wexley discovered his father Brentin Lore Wexley, a former Ashmead's Lock inmate, meeting with Windom, Windom ordered Brentin to "deal" with his son. Brentin stunned Temmin and locked him inside a chest.
Meanwhile, Grand Admiral Sloane and her aide Adea Rite landed in Hanna City where they were greeted by Chancellor Mothma. Per the arrangements of Rite, the two were invited to witness the Liberation Day celebrations. Later, Temmin managed to free himself with the help of his B1-series battle droid Mister Bones. The two attempted to enter the Old Gather-House where the celebrations were taking place but were blocked by Senate Guards. A tussle ensued as Temmin and Bones tried to force their way in. While Chancellor Mothma gave a speech, the former Ashmead's Lock inmates involuntarily attacked their New Republic hosts.
Bloodbath on Chandrila
At Rax's signal, Brentin and the other prisoners opened fire on Chancellor Mon Mothma and other New Republic officials. Brentin's wife Norra Wexley managed to save the Chancellor's life by pulling his arm away. Meanwhile, Commodore Kyrsta Agate was badly wounded by the former Rodian inmate Esdo. Only Norra's quick intervention saved the Commodore's life. Admiral Sloane was horrified by Rax's tactics but nonetheless ordered her Royal Guards to fight their way through the New Republic Guardsmen. Sloane then ordered Rite to get them offworld so that she could punish Fleet Admiral Rax. However, Adea then turned on Sloane and attempted to assassinate her. Following a struggle, Sloane managed to shoot Adea in the chest with her blaster.
New Republic Senate Guardsmen arrived and managed to subdue the attackers with blasters set to stun. Amidst the chaos, Norra and Temmin tried to pursue Brentin. Temmin tried to talk to his father, who was recovering from the effects of the microchip implants. Still confused, Brentin punched Temmin in the stomach before fleeing into the night. Meanwhile, Traducier carried out Rax's orders to assassinate the turncoat General Jylia Shale and freed the former Imperial adviser Yupe Tashu from New Republic custody. Norra later managed to corner Grand Admiral Sloane and attacked her, believing her to be the mastermind behind the attack. Following a fistfight, Sloane managed to flee but was hit in the back by a blaster bolt.
Despite her injury, Sloane managed to escape on a Chandrilan HHG-42 Bulkstar cargo ship only to discover that a vengeful Brentin had stowed aboard. Following an initially hostile encounter, the two learned that they shared a common enemy in the form of Fleet Admiral Rax. After Brentin tended to Sloane's blaster wound, the two agreed to hunt down and kill Rax. Sloane was also contacted by the bounty hunter Mercurial Swift, who informed her that he had uncovered a trove of information on Rax on Quantxi, the planet Ord Mantell's moon.
The attack on Chandrila succeeded in sowing chaos and disillusionment within the New Republic. Some senators proposed the creation of an Independent Systems Alliance. The New Republic subsequently suspended hiring bounty hunters, believing it made its security services look weak.
While Chancellor Mon Mothma survived the assassination, other New Republic officials including Hostis Ij and Crix Madine were rumored to be dead. Commodore Agate survived the attack but had to undergo extensive facial reconstructive surgery. While Chancellor Mothma awarded Norra a medal, she declined the medal and instead embarked on a quest with her son Temmin, his droid Mister Bones, the former Imperial loyalty officer Sinjir Rath Velus, and the Iridonian Zabrak bounty hunter Jas Emari to hunt down Grand Admiral Sloane, whom they believed to be responsible for the atrocity. Norra and her team received the personal and financial blessing of their new friend Princess Leia.
The New Republic authorities managed to subdue most of the prisoners with the exception of Brentin. Investigations by the New Republic Security Bureau confirmed that the liberated Ashmead's Lock prisoners had been implanted with inorganic bio-chips. They also arrested Windom Traducier and discovered that he had planted a transponder on the top of the Hanna City opera house which had been used to scramble Imperial signals. While Traducier was unrepentant and defiant, he was killed by Sinjir. Claiming that Grand Admiral Sloane had perished on Chandrila, Gallius Rax assumed the position of Counselor to the Empire and marshaled the remaining Imperial forces for a showdown with the New Republic at Jakku.
Following the attack on Chandrila, the New Republic relocated its capital to the Mid Rim agrarian world of Nakadia. Several senators, diplomats, advisers, generals, and admirals perished during the attack. Efforts by the slicer Conder Kyl to access the list of targets embedded in the control chips were foiled when the chips malfunctioned as part of some kind of planned degradation. Due to his role in the events on Chandrila, Norra was suspicious of her husband Brentin but reconciled with him shortly before his death during the Battle of Jakku. Due to the significance of the Imperial attack, Chancellor Mon Mothma dictated that the signing of the Imperial Instruments of Surrender and the Galactic Concordance take place on Chandrila.
Behind the scenes
The Attack on Chandrila serves as one of the twin climaxes of Chuck Wendig's 2016 novel Aftermath: Life Debt alongside the liberation of Kashyyyk. The conflict was later mentioned in the 2017 sequel Aftermath: Empire's End.
Notes and references
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- Aftermath: Empire's End
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY and further dates Shara Bey and Kes Dameron's move to Yavin 4 in 5 ABY. The move is placed six months after the Battle of Endor by Before the Awakening. Since Aftermath: Life Debt is set just after Shadow Fall, which takes place around six months after the battle, the events of Life Debt must also occur in 5 ABY, around six months after the Battle of Endor.