- "You ruined it. You ruined it all for us!"
"Yeah, I don't see anyone else complaining."
- ―Molierre Cundertol and Han Solo
A battle took place between forces of the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances and the Ssi-ruuvi Imperium in 28 ABY, during the Yuuzhan Vong War. Prior to the battle, the unscrupulous Prime Minister of Bakura Molierre Cundertol had agreed to betray his people as entechment subjects to the Imperium in exchange for being transferred into a Human replica droid. Creating a faux popular rising by the P'w'eck slave caste under the mutant, multi-colored Ssi-ruu known as the Keeramak, the Imperium made peace overtures to the Bakurans and the Galactic Alliance; lulling the planet into a false sense of peace.
Given the Ssi-ruuk and P'w'ecks' fear of dying on an unconsecrated world, the P'w'ecks offered to seal their peace agreement with the Bakurans in a consecration ceremony. However, the ceremony was interrupted by a bomb attack planted by the Deputy Prime Minister Blaine Harris who had plotted to overthrow Cundertol in order to install himself as prime minister. Luckily, heavy casualties were averted by the efforts of the Jedi Knight Jaina Solo and her mother Leia Organa Solo who managed to apprehend Harris.
Taking advantage of the ensuing chaos, the orbiting Ssi-ruuvi ships launched a ground and space offensive, taking the Bakurans and the Alliance by surprise on land and space. However, the Ssi-ruuk were defeated due to the death of their leader, Keeramak, at the hands of the P'w'eck leader Lwothin. The Keeramak's death sparked a real P'w'eck uprising which quickly turned the tide of the battle in favor of the Alliance and Bakurans. Cundertol escaped into Ssi-ruuvi Space only to be killed by the Ssi-ruu general E'thinaa, who was an undercover Yuuzhan Vong agent.
- "The Keeramak was the one who led us to victory over our former masters. It conceived our revolt and consolidated the aftermath. Within a year, Lwhekk was ours and the Ssi-ruuvi Imperium a thing of the past. And now, five years on, the Keeramak still guides our destiny"
"Impressive, throwing off an oppressor is only the beginning of a long and difficult journey."
- ―Lwothin through C-3PO and Leia Organa Solo
Having suffered losses during the Invasion of Bakura, the Ssi-ruuk had retreated to their star cluster where they would remain sequestered for years. To prevent a second Ssi-ruuvi attack on the worlds on the edge of Wild Space, the Rebel Alliance's successor state—the New Republic—organized an invasion force for an expedition into the Ssi-ruuvi Imperium's territory. This task force consisted of the captured Shriwirr which had been renamed Sibwarra, 12 Nebulon-B2 frigates and several escort warships.
The New Republic also provided the fragmented Imperial warlords with intelligence on the Ssi-ruuk in the hopes of a securing a second joint attack on the Ssi-ruuk. However when the New Republic fleet emerged in Ssi-ruuvi space, they discovered that the Chiss Ascendancy under Force Commander Thrawn had already launched a blistering campaign in Ssi-ruuvi territory; devastating the Imperium capital of Lwhekk and fragmenting the Ssi-ruuvi socio-economic caste system. The Chiss had attacked in retaliation for attacks on several Chiss worlds which had seen several of their citizens enteched.
Above the wrecked Ssi-ruuvi capital world, the New Republic fleet clashed with the remnants of the Ssi-ruuvi fleet under Ivpikkis. Having reached a stalemate, the New Republic attempted to negotiate unsuccessfully with the Ssi-ruuk. With the Ssi-ruuk unable to mount another campaign for an unforeseen period and with the growing conflict with the fragmented Imperial warlords looming in the horizon, Chief of State Mon Mothma ordered the withdrawal of the New Republic fleet from Ssi-ruuvi space for an attack on imperial-held Clak'dor VII.
So great was the devastation of the Chiss attack that it was not until many years later that the Ssi-ruuvi contemplated renewing their expansion. Three major events occurred in that time. One was the birth of the Keeramak—a mutant Ssi-ruu of mixed ancestry with all the colors of the different castes—an event of major significance in the Ssi-ruuvi religion. The Keeramak himself was a master strategist and politician. The Imperium's leadership organized a faux P'w'eck slave uprising by the P'w'eck Emancipation Movement under Lwothin, positing the Keeramak as its leader in 23 ABY.
The second event in the fields of Ssi-ruuvi technology was the development of a means to preserve enteched souls for a longer period of time with distilled concentrations of algae and microscopic lifeforms. The other event was the secret takeover of the Imperium by the extragalactic Yuuzhan Vong, who secretly placed made one of their own, E'thinaa, a ranking general.
Meanwhile on Bakura, when her uncle Yeorg retired from public life, Gaeriel won the election to succeed him as Prime Minister, and had the distinction of being Bakura's youngest Prime Minister. One of her main accomplishments was the establishment of the Bakuran Defense Fleet; she placed Pter Thanas, the former commander of the Imperial garrison on Bakura, in command of it.In 18 ABY, Bakura withdrew from the New Republic in protest of the misuse of its Defense Force during the attack on Centerpoint Station during the Corellian Crisis. Unwilling to make the same mistakes as the Old Republic which adopted a hard-nosed attitude towards the Separatist movement, the New Republic did not interfere with Bakura's decision.
E'thinaa and the Keeramak devised a new strategy for continuing the invasion. They made a secret deal with the Prime Minister of Bakura, Molierre Cundertol. In exchange for gaining "immortality" by being enteched into the body of a Human replica droid constructed by the company Onadax Droid Technologies, Cundertol would betray his people to the saurian Ssi-ruuk as entechment stock. In 28 ABY, the Bakuran public and a Galactic Alliance delegation including Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, their Jedi daughter Jaina and C-3PO were deceived into believing that the Keeramak had led a popular uprising of the lower classes which toppled the Imperium and introduced reforms including the abolition of forced entechment.
- "The gulfs of space are not home to us and neither are the barren worlds. The worlds of fire and the worlds of ice are not home to us. Where oxygen burns and water flows, where carbon bonds and ozone protects—there we plant our roots. The seed of our species is fertile; all we require is the soil in which to plant it."
- ―The Keeramak closing the ceremony via translation by C-3PO
To demonize the opposition and to deflect public attention, Cundertol arranged for himself to be kidnapped by members of the anti-New Republic Freedom resistance movement under Malinza Thanas. Freedom was secretly backed by Cundertol's deputy Blaine Harris as a means of reaching his goal of thwarting Cundertol and becoming the new Prime Minister. In order to allow a successful occupation of Bakura, Lwothin and the Keeramak arranged for Bakura to be "consecrated" during a public ceremony at a Salis D'aar podium.
In space, a Ssi-ruuvi contingent consisting of the two Sh'ner-class planetary assault carriers Errinung'ka and Firrinree and a host of P'w'eck-powered Swarm-class battle droids arrived with the Keeramak. Unaware of the plot, the Bakuran Defense Fleet and the Galactic Alliance naval contingent including Jagged Fel's Twin Suns Squadron welcomed their presence. When the Keeramak and his P'w'eck entourage arrived, the stadium was packed with thousands of Bakurans.
Due to his ability to speak and translate almost any language, C-3PO was commissioned as a translator. Meanwhile, the Keeramak used both his reputation as a liberation leader and his speech-making skills to lull the Bakuran and Alliance delegates as a means of lowering their guard. Meanwhile Jedi Knights Tahiri Veila and her Ryn companion Goure Conor spotted Harris and his Rodian accomplice Salkeli leading the missing Jaina, Malinza and Vyram through a backdoor in the stadium.
The unscrupulous Deputy Prime Minister Harris had planned to frame Jaina by forcing her at gunpoint to trigger a remote detonator in the stadium near a row of seats where the Bakuran leadership and Alliance delegates were seated. The bomb would detonate; killing many Senators including Cundertol and creating a power vacuum which would allow Harris to assume power as Prime Minister. Harris would then claim later that Jaina had coerced the escaped Freedom operative Malinza into kidnapping him and then turning against Jaina too late when learning that she had planted a bomb. By then, it would be too late for the bomb to be defused and the ensuing explosion would kill Jaina and Malinza, leaving Harris as the sole survivor.
However, Jaina—sensing her Jedi comrade Tahiri was nearby—managed to used her Force-abilities to overpower Harris and Salkeli. She then freed Malinza and Vyram from their bonds with a flash from her lightsaber before using the Force to project a warning to her mother who was seated with the delegates. Meanwhile at the consecration ceremony, Leia received the warning of danger from Jaina and was able to alert her husband and the seated delegates to the presence of a bomb. This prompted a hasty evacuation of the seats just seconds to the detonation. While this saved the life of most of the delegates, the ensuing blast killed two senators, two guests and six guards and wounded 40 guests including Cundertol who was knocked unconscious.
Luckily, Jaina and her companions were unharmed due to their proximity from the epicenter of the blast. Amid the rubble and burning wreckage, she came across an emotionally-shattered Tahiri who had succumbed to her Vong programming following her ordeal on Yavin 4. Jaina reasoned that she had survived because she had used a Force bubble to shield herself from the debris. Meanwhile, Bakuran rescue teams had arrived at the stadium and begun evacuating the wounded and survivors.
In response to the bombing, General Grell Panib had declared marshall law from the Bakura-class destroyer Sentinel. Jag Fel also received reports from Captain Todra Mayn of increased activity at Salis D'aar spaceport where the P'w'eck ships were parked. Meanwhile, news had spread of the arrest of Harris due to his involvement in the bombing. Back at the stadium, the Keeramak and his P'w'eck entourage had survived the blast and were continuing the Consecration ceremony. Meanwhile, reinforcements in the form of three D'kee-class landing ships arrived in the skies over the wrecked shell of the former stadium.
In space, the Ssi-ruuvi warships jammed all transmissions between Bakura and the orbiting Alliance and Bakuran fleets. Colonel Jagged Fel—son of the esteemed Imperial fighter ace Soontir Fel—and the rest of Twin Suns Squadron found themselves engaged in a ferocious dog fight against swarms of Swarm-class droid fighters and the rarer but more powerful V'sett-class fighters which were piloted by living Ssi-ruuvi fighter aces. Jag attempted to communicate with the Alliance frigate Selonia only to find his transmissions jammed.
Meanwhile, the droid fighters—which had been flying in formation with their Bakuran counterparts as an honor guard shortly before the battle—began using their tractor beam projectors to capture the Bakuran fighters. The captured starfighters would be dragged into the hangar bays of the orbiting Ssi-ruuvi carriers and their pilots would be enteched. Assessing the situation, Jag and his squadron intervened and came to the rescue of the Bakurans; opening fire on the droid fighters. However, this had little impact due to the tough deflector shields.
By now, the Bakura-class destroyers Sentinel and Defender had gotten hand of the Ssi-ruuvi tactic and launched more starfighters in an effort to rescue the "kidnapped" fighters. The Twin Suns Squadron meanwhile found itself engaged against enemy fighters over the dangerous dense and volatile orbits around the planet Bakura. Piloting his vaunted Chiss Clawcraft, Jag took two V'sett fighters on a wild chase over the rocky surfaces of one of Bakura's two moons. Luckily for Fel, his pursuers were destroyed by a passing BTL Y-wing starfighter.
Using their superior firepower, the two Ssi-ruuvi Sh'ner-class carriers and their fighters had inflicted a withering attack on the Sentinel and Defender—which formed the backbone of the tiny Bakuran Defense Fleet. Clusters of captured fighters hung around the Ssi-ruuvi carriers waiting processing and entechment. Emerging from his pursuit, Fel found himself trapped by the combined tractor beam projectors of seven V'sett fighters.
Back on the ground, the three "D'kee"-class landing ships landed at the stadium and began disgorging rows of armed red-scaled Ssi-ruu warriors. It turned that the Consecration ceremony was little more than a smokescreen for a full-scale invasion of Bakura. Upon landing, the Bakuran troops fired upon the advancing Ssi-ruuk who retaliated by firing their paddle beamers. Using their trichoid physiology and large size, the Ssi-ruuk overpowered the Bakurans; forcing them to retreat.
The bomb survivors and remaining troops fled into a series of underground tunnels under the stadium with the Ssi-ruuk close behind them. On the way, the Solos and C-3PO stumbled upon a bound Harris who demanded that he be released and installed as Prime Minister; thinking Cundertol was dead. All of a sudden, the supposedly dead Cundertol stepped out of the shadows. He then revealed that he had been working for the Ssi-ruuk all along. Discovering Harris' treachery, Cundertol proceeded to kill his deputy with a blaster shot.
Revealing his plans to betray the others to the Ssi-ruuk, Cundertol uttered a phrase in the Ssi-ruuvi tongue—a feat physiologically impossible for Humans. Soon, two parties of Ssi-ruuk warriors arrived including a large, beautiful female followed by the Keeramak and his entourage of P'w'eck guards and golden-scaled Ssi-ruuk priests—who had been disguised as P'w'ecks during the Ceremony. Through C-3PO, the Keeramak gave them an offer of being assigned "productive" tasks following entechment if they would surrender peacefully. However, many of the survivors including the Solos rejected the offer despite the efforts of the collaborator Cundertol to persuade them; claiming that it was immortality. The Keeramak then ordered his P'w'eck guards under Lwothin to execute the prisoners.
Turning the tables
- "Stay calm, people! Maintain your original formations! Do not fire on the droid ships! I repeat do not fire on the droid ships. They're piloted by P'w'eck, remember, and they're on our side. They were the ones who got us here."
- ―Jagged Fel
Lwothin gripped his paddle beamer and with a startling cry, fired point blank. But instead of opening fire on the Solos and their companions, he instead incapacitated his master the Keeramak; killing him with a shot to the chest. This proved to be the signal for a genuine P'w'eck uprising against their Ssi-ruuvi overlords. Taking advantage of the shock, the P'w'ecks attacked the remaining Ssi-ruuk which fought back doggedly despite the death of their leader.
Realizing that the P'w'ecks were their allies after all, the Solos and their companions entered the battle fray. Using the Force and igniting her lightsaber, Jaina killed a Ssi-ruu which would have slain Lwothin with a quick slice to the neck while deflecting the paddle beamer beam from another. Demoralized and outnumbered, the surviving Ssi-ruuk quickly capitulated and handed over their paddle beamers to a jubilant Han Solo who prompted to hand them over to the Bakurans. A bitter Cundertol blamed the Keeramak for the turn in events. In response to his remark, a cocky Han Solo commented that he did not see anyone else complaining.
Meanwhile, Lwothin informed his allies that the jamming had been interrupted temporarily to allow the Alliance leadership to communicate with the capital ship Pride of Selonia and the hard-bitten Bakuran and Alliance starfighter pilots. Lwothin also told Leia to order the starfighter pilots to allow themselves to be captured by the Ssi-ruuvi fleet. Despite skepticism to Lwothin's plan, Leia and Han reluctantly agreed to give the order to Captain Todra Mayn on the Pride of Selonia who would in turn transmit the message to the starfighters.
Back in space, Mayn openly addressed the Alliance and Bakuran pilots via open frequency; instructing them to submit to the Ssi-ruuvi fighters or the Ssi-ruuk would unleash paralysis weapons capable of immobilizing an entire city on the capital Salis D'aar. Unaware of the new developments, Jag questioned her orders. To convince him to cooperate, Mayn claimed that the Ssi-ruuk had taken his girlfriend Jaina captive. With hundreds of other fighters, Jag was drawn into the space under the Errinung'kas powerful shields.
Meanwhile on the Ssi-ruuvi cruisers, the P'w'eck crew launched a full-scale mutiny in coordination with Lwothin's assassination of the Keeramak. Back at the scene, the P'w'eck droid fighters quickly lowered the tractor beams holding the Alliance and Bakuran fighters; setting them free. Jag quickly realized that the P'w'ecks were really rebelling against the Ssi-ruuk. As part of their plan, they had delivered the undamaged Alliance and Bakuran starfighters under the shields of the carrier Errinung'ka in order to launch an attack. Lowering the shields to receive reinforcements would leave the carrier open to Bakuran firepower.
Jag hastily signaled his fellow pilots by clicking three times rapidly on his dash board. With the shields lowered, Jag then sent the signal to his wing mates to attack. Free of the tractor beam, the resurgent Alliance and Bakuran fighters launched a counter-offensive against the V'sett fighters. Knowing that the droid ships were piloted by allied P'w'ecks, he ordered the other pilots not to open fire on the droid fighters and to remain in formation. Soon, the mighty cruiser was under attack by swarms of enemy fighters.The Ssi-ruuvi onboard were unable to get reinforcements since that would have meant lowering the shields and being exposed to enemy fire from the Alliance and Bakuran capital ships.
Jag and the remnants of his squadron descended on the carrier bays of the Errinung'ka; intercepting 12 V'sett fighters which were being pursued by six P'w'eck fighters. Caught between Twin Suns squadron the P'w'eck droid ships, the V'setts were quickly overwhelmed. Meanwhile, Jag ordered the other pilots to strafe the carrier's tractor beam and deflector-shield projectors. However, he warned them not to inflict serious structural damage since a P'w'eck mutiny was occurring onboard. Due to a sustained attack inside and outside, the Errinung'ka surrendered to the P'w'ecks and their Alliance allies. Eventually, the second Ssi-ruuvi carrier Firrinree also capitulated; effectively ending the Ssi-ruuvi resistance on land and space. News of the change of events for the better in the space battle were transmitted to the ground by the Selonia. On the ground, the remaining Ssi-ruuvi hold-outs were presumably defeated.
- "You are nothing to me. Perhaps, had you remained alive, we might have taken you as a slave or sacrifice; but as you are, you are worthless, unliving filth. We have destroyed the machine that made you and purified the hands that made you with the blood of a thousand captives. We would never deign to deal with dead stuff such as you are made of. Life is tissue; it is soil; it is blood. It is death."
However, the sweetness of victory for the Alliance forces on the ground was shattered by the escape of Cundertol. Using his enhanced abilities infused by his HRD body, the former Prime Minister made an escape and overpowered Vyram. Amid the rubble of the bombed stadium, Cundertol led his pursuer Jaina Solo on a wild chase; running at a physically-impossible pace. Despite her Force-enhanced abilities, Jaina found that she could not keep up with Cundertol's pace— whose body seemed impervious to exhaustion.
Using his high vantage position, Cundertol began hurling bolts—something physically impossible for humans. Even with her Force abilities, Jaina was unable to incapacitate him with a Force push. Continuing the chase through the stairwell, Jaina confronted Cundertol in a dark corridor. During the ensuing fight, Cundertol used his enhanced abilities to attack Jaina; knocking her to the ground and even throwing her five-meters across the corridor.
Attempting to block his escape, Jaina used the force to hurl her lightsaber at Cundertol; severing his arm. Despite his wounds, he was still able to escape using his enhanced HRD body. Hurt from her struggle, Jaina could only watch as her companions caught up with her. When the severed arm was examined, Jaina and her mother Leia noticed the absence of blood and an un-human chemical smell. This led Jaina to suspect that Cundertol was a droid. Later, her suspicions were confirmed by Bakuran lab technicians who concluded that Cundertol was actually a Human replica droid.
Meanwhile, Cundertol escaped on a P'w'eck shuttle carrying the remains of the slain Keeramak to Lwhekk as a means of appeasing the Ssi-ruuvi leadership. Despite the loss of his arm, Cundertol used his enhanced HRD body to overpower and kill the six P'w'eck crew; hijacking the vessel. He then piloted the shuttle to an abandoned New Republic research base in the borders of Ssi-ruuvi Space where he had undergone his life-changing operation.
Arriving there, his shuttle was picked up by an Fw'Sen-class picket ship which extended docking grapples that attached the former to the latter. By now, the stump of his severed arm had healed itself. Onboard the Picket ship, the former Prime Minister was confronted by general E'thinaa who expressed pleasure at the turn-of-events on Bakura much to the former's surprise. Cundertol was also horrified to learn that the saurian Ssi-ruu general had sensed his deception despite his HRD body's ability to mask stress and anxiety.
Seeking funds to find new contacts and to rebuild his arm, Cundertol demanded his "side" of the bargain from E'thinaa who refused; claiming that he had already provided the former with a HRD body and displeased by the debacle of the P'w'eck revolt. Desperate, he challenged the Ssi-ruu officer to a duel; believing that his HRD body's enhanced abilities would give him the upper hand. However, E'thinaa used Vong technology to verbally activate a restraining bolt on Cundertol.
With Cundertol rendered incapacitated, E'thinaa remarked that Cundertol was just a mere pawn and then revealed himself to have been a masked Yuuzhan Vong infiltrator. The Vong agent also informed Cundertol that the Yuuzhan Vong had launched an offensive into Ssi-ruuvi space; defeating the Imperium and slaying many Ssi-ruuk as sacrifices. Unleashing his hatred of technology and droids, E'thinaa ordered his escort of warriors to execute Cundertol. The former leader was lashed and torn apart by the ferocity of the warriors' deadly amphistaff till he died; passing into chaos.
- "And that process was entechment. I can't believe he voluntarily turned himself in to the Ssi-ruuk so they could suck out his soul."
- ―Jagged Fel conversing with his companions over Cundertol
Following the battle, the Bakuran government and the P'w'eck Emancipation Movement signed a formal treaty which formed an alliance between the two peoples. Some of the terms of the treaty included holding elections in a month, sharing all captured Ssi-ruuvi assets and supporting a liberation program for the P'w'ecks in the Imperium. In exchange for tracing the missing credits and a promise not to engage in anymore illicit activities, Freedom agents Vyram and Malinza were exonerated of their kidnapping charges and their organization was allowed to participate in the elections. Despite this turn of events, Bakura chose not to rejoin the New Republic's successor government—Galactic Alliance. However, with the Yuuzhan Vong making new strides with the destruction of the HoloNet, Bakura joined the Galactic Alliance, contributing ships to the Defense of Mon Calamari and giving the Galactic Alliance Defense Fleet access to the HIMS technology for use during the Battle of Yuuzhan'tar.
Leia predicted that there would be an influx of P'w'eck refugees from the Imperium within months and a possible Ssi-ruuvi invasions within a year. However, the Ssi-ruuvi Imperium appeared to have been weakened by a Yuuzhan Vong attack in coordination with their invasion of the known galaxy. Whether the Imperium attempted to launch another invasion or was weakened by the Vong attack remains unclear. Meanwhile, the deceased Keeramak's body was returned on a P'w'eck shuttle bound for Lwhekk as a gesture of appeasing the Ssi-ruuvi Conclave while arousing its the Elders' Council. En route, the shuttle was hijacked by Cundertol who himself was slain by E'thinaa upon arriving at scheduled asteroid location.
Meanwhile on Bakura, Harris' accomplice Salkeli received a lengthy imprisonment for his crimes. Later, Bakuran technicians examining Cundertol's arm discovered that he was a Human replica droid. While conversing, Jaina and Jag reasoned among themselves that someone in the blackmarket must have made progress in the development of HRD technology since its conception by the Rebel Alliance's secret Project Decoy which aimed to replace high-ranking Imperials with programmed droids and Simonelle's redevelopment of the AA-1 VerboBrain. They also reasoned that there had been advances in both HRD and entechment technology which made Cundertol's transfer of his life source into a droid body via entechment possible. Unfortunately, Tahiri still remained in an induced coma following the bombing.
Behind the scenes
The battle of Bakura first appeared in The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic II: Refugee, which was first released on April 29 2003. The novel was the second book in Sean Williams and Shane Dix's Force Heretic trilogy within the larger The New Jedi Order series. It reintroduced and expounded upon some key elements from Kathy Tyers's 1994 novel The Truce at Bakura including the planet Bakura, the saurian Ssi-ruuk and P'w'ecks, Molierre Cundertol and entechment.
It forms the climax within the Bakuran subplot of the novel which centers around the activities of Jedi Knight Jaina Solo and her parents Han Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo. The novel also introduces and expands upon some new concepts including the Keeramak—the resurgent Ssi-ruuk leader, the P'w'eck Emancipation Movement and its leader Lwothin. The battle was also referenced in Daniel Wallace and Kevin J. Anderson's The New Essential Chronology which was published in October 2005.
- The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic II: Refugee (First appearance)
- "Or Die Trying" – Star Wars Insider 75 (Indirect mention only)
- The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic III: Reunion (Mentioned only)
- The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force (Mentioned only)