- "If there's a spark of life, bacta will keep you going."
- ―Corran Horn
Bacta was an organic chemical substance that consisted of gelatinous, translucent red alazhi and kavam bacterial particles that were mixed within a colorless, viscous fluid known as ambori. When a patient was exposed to bacta, the bacterial particles within sought out wounds and promoted rapid tissue regeneration while preventing the emergence of scar tissue. Bacta was often thought of as a "miracle fluid" and seemed to be effective against almost every type of injury and ailment across an incredible cross-section of species throughout the galaxy. It was considered the best medicine available anywhere, replacing the previously used kolto.
- "Everyone uses Bacta. We've been using it so long, it's replaced most conventional medicine."
- ―Uldir Lochett
Bacta could be administered via disposable bacta patches, direct injection, consumption (via bactade), a salve, a Bio-Bacta tank, or submersion in a standard bacta tank. For bacta immersion, the patient would be clothed in either just white shorts or a white sleeveless top and briefs depending on the person's gender. The method of administration depended on the severity of the wounds. It was imperative that bacta be applied in a solution of clear fluid which mimicked the body's own vital fluids.
Bacta tanks came in two varieties: large tanks for installation in medical facilities, and portable collapsible tanks for emergency use. Field tanks required patients to lie on their backs or stomachs while the bacta was run out and in again through filters.
Bacta had a cloying fragrance and a lingering sour taste that was reminiscent of flat or stale lum. It reputedly stayed in the mouth and nasal cavity for weeks after immersion in a tank. The patch left a somewhat weaker-smelling residue.
Bacta was invented by the Vratix on the planet Thyferra in antiquity, with the galaxy at large learning of its properties around 4100 BBY. The Vratix were willing to share the technology, but the substance could only be made on their homeworld, where the needed resources were abundant. Struggles on Thyferra were often caused by disputes over control of bacta, often between the two main producers of bacta, the Zaltin Corporation and the Xucphra Corporation, or over the bacta the planet produced. Before its obsolescence, kolto was used along with bacta for medical treatments. Bacta later outsold kolto and eventually replaced it altogether. After the reorganization of the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars, the new Galactic Empire only allowed bacta to be produced on Thyferra, which was then stockpiled on Bespin.
More than six months after the Battle of Yavin, the Empire's Moff Kohl Seerdon led an attack against Rebel Alliance's bacta supplies on Thyferra. Rogue Squadron thwarted the attack, and Seerdon was killed.
At some point, Emperor Palpatine had the chemical sequence for bacta stored at his stronghold on Wayland, possibly intending to develop a weapon to neutralize the properties of the compound. However, his scientists never developed a weapon, and the sequence remained stored on Wayland. When the Yuuzhan Vong War gripped the galaxy, the Yuuzhan Vong conquered the planet Wayland where Shapers managed to analyze the bacta formula whereupon they created a virus that targeted the alazhi plant on a genetic level. This was in order to create a bio-weapon designed to kill anyone who was treated by bacta. However, their plans were thwarted by Klin-Fa Gi along with Uldir Lochett as well as his crew.
During the Swarm War, the Killiks staged a coup against the Thyferran government, which cut off the Galactic Alliance's supply of bacta during the Battle of Tenupe, thus crippling the medical abilities of the Alliance.
- "So I was in for, what, a week?"
"What? I should have been in there much longer than that for those injuries."
- ―Corran Horn and a Zaltin medtech on Thyferra
Bacta was produced in various strengths and potencies based on many different factors. A batch's quality depended upon how the various ingredients were blended, the site where the ingredients were produced, and the Vratix Verachen that oversaw the blending. As Thyferra was the source of almost all the bacta in the galaxy while it was produced under the Imperial-backed duopoly of Xucphra and Zaltin, it was also the source of the strongest bacta. Such high-quality product was generally not exported; if it was, it was sold at incredibly high prices. Export-quality bacta was, typically, nowhere near as effective, meaning that more grievous injuries required longer exposure in order to be properly treated and healed.
Ashern rebels once contaminated a portion of bacta. The contaminated bacta caused an allergy to bacta in all who used it. Upon discovery of the contamination, Ysanne Isard had much of it funneled into the black market. Ton Phanan and Gil Bastra both possessed an allergy to bacta. Moff Tharil Tavira was also allergic, making his recovery from a stroke much more difficult.
Behind the scenes
In terms of in-universe chronology, the earliest mention of bacta occurred in the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi - Dark Lords of the Sith audio drama. It was also mentioned (later in galactic history) in Knights of the Old Republic 3. However, the author, John Jackson Miller, admits that this may be a continuity error, and proposed a possible retcon, asserting that Marn Hierogryph was referring to some other thing coincidentally named bacta in the comic. The issue was resolved with a reference in The Essential Atlas to bacta's discovery about a century before the Tales of the Jedi series.
Bacta's color has been portrayed inconsistently. Many official sources have indicated that bacta is bluish, and pictures provided on LFL seem to strengthen this claim. Rumor has it that it only appeared clear in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back because of the lighting and camera angles.[source?] The novelization of The Empire Strikes Back says that bacta was a thick red liquid. It is possible that rival producers added an artificial tint.
Kolto tanks were the predecessor to bacta tanks, and were later replaced in favor of bacta, which explains the similarity in appearance between the two.
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, p. 53
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
- X-Wing: The Bacta War
- X-Wing: Rogue Squadron
- The Essential Atlas
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron: The Official Nintendo Player's Guide
- Emissary of the Void
- I, Jedi
- "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #3", John Jackson Miller, last accessed on October 8, 2008