- "We will not bow, to these invaders or any other. We have our pride. We have our weapons. We will have our freedom."
The Battle of Balmorra was a major conflict between the Galactic Republic, the Sith Empire, and the people of Balmorra during the Great Galactic War and the period of Cold War that followed. Balmorra was a historically violent, yet ardently independent world that was renowned for its highly developed military manufacturing sector. This reputation, along with the world's strategic positioning, attracted the attention of the Sith upon their return to the known galaxy in 3681 BBY. Early in their war against the Republic, the Imperials resolved to take control of Balmorra's manufacturing capabilities, and so launched an invasion of the world that killed numerous citizens and displaced thousands of others as refugees. In response, the Balmorrans organized a resistance group to fight against the invaders and maintain their political independence.
Recognizing the threat posed by a Sith-controlled Balmorra, the Galactic Republic dispatched military and Jedi forces to aid the Balmorran resistance. Although the relief effort was maintained for a length of time, the continuing war elsewhere in the galaxy forced Republic Military leaders to reassign the units that were fighting on the world. As their allies gradually pulled out of the conflict, the Balmorran freedom fighters were left to battle the Empire largely on their own—a battle that resulted in the Empire gaining control of the planet's industries. Even as the Great Galactic War came to a close with the Treaty of Coruscant, the Resistance continued to fight the Sith, and even did so with the covert aid of an illegally operating Republic contingent. After several years of this guerrilla warfare, the Republic began to once again ramp up its military presence on Balmorra, thereby pushing the limits of the Treaty of Coruscant in an effort to free the world's workers from Sith servitude.
In 3681 BBY, the Sith Empire returned to the galaxy and began the Great Galactic War against the Galactic Republic. In the years before the war, the planet Balmorra was one of the galaxy's leading independent industrial worlds, producing weapons and droids in its many factories and manufacturing plants across the planet. A number of powerful corporations effectively controlled the planet, including the Okara Droid Company, Traken Industries, and Balmorran Arms, and Balmorra maintained a close relationship with the Republic but the planet's corporations kept the world largely independent of most galactic conflicts. Balmorra's government was a corporate-run oligarchic democracy that was centered in the capital city of Bin Prime. When the Great Galactic War started, the Republic offered ships and troops to protect Balmorra as its trading partner.
The Great Galactic War
Sometime before 3670 BBY, the Empire set its sights on Balmorra, believing that the planet's proximity to the Core Worlds and its weapons production facilities were a major strategic resource. In an assault planned by Admiral Ivernus, the Empire began their assault by slicing and reprogramming the networked security systems of the planet's laboratories, factories, and weaponry, turning the planet's defenses against the people. These efforts included the release of a number of mutated Colicoids, an insectoid sentient species, from the genetic research facility Lab 352. Lab 352, which had been experimenting on Colicoids in hopes of turning them into bioweapons, was quickly overrun by the creatures when Imperial saboteurs released them from the facility, leading the area to become known as "Bugtown."
Imperial technicians infiltrated the automated Okara Droid Factory and uploaded a virus to the factory's computers in hopes of turning its droids—some of the the finest military droids in the galaxy—against the Balmorrans. However, the virus worked more than the Empire intended: the factory's defense systems and droids became independent, resuming production and attacking any biological life that approached the factory. With the orbital defense satellites and towers offline, the Empire then bombarded the surface, devastating Balmorra's military forces and its central government in order to forestall a unified response to their assault. The Empire soon landed a full invasion force, which prompted the Republic to come to the planet's aid and deploy the Republic Military there. The Balmorran Arms factory became a stronghold of resistance, as the Balmorrans turned the structure into a heavily-defended fortress that supplied the Republic and resistance forces with supplies and weaponry.
The bombardment destroyed also many of the waste-processing facilities on the planet, including the Traken-4 ChemWorks, and the system of underground sealed storage facilities for toxic materials known as hazard vaults. As a result, the toxic waste leaked out onto the surface in various regions, destroying wide swaths of land and damaging the environment. The mutated Colicoids from Bugtown quickly spread to other regions of Balmorra, particularly the hazard vaults and other sites of toxic waste. The bombardment also completely wiped out the Balmorran maweater, the primary predator of the flying wingmaw species—causing the wingmaw population to rise rapidly in the years afterwards. As the invasion and then occupation progressed, wingmaws soon became threats to combatants and civilians on both sides of the conflict, as swarms of the carnivorous scavengers often attacked convoys and individual fighters across Balmorra.
During their invasion, the Empire made an effort to preserve the corporate hierarchy on Balmorra, as they desired to put the planet's industrial facilities to use as part of the Imperial war machine. The Republic forces were aided by many native Balmorrans, including former members of the planet's army, but the battle was largely a stalemate for most of the Great Galactic War, though the Empire began to gain the upper hand as the war drew to a close. Several cities, including Sobrik—which was the original capital of Balmorra and had been largely decimated by bombing runs during the battle—continued to hold out against Imperial control for most of the invasion. A number of small factory towns across Balmorra were wiped out by the Empire during the invasion, including one near the Karill River. The area became known as Ghost Town as the resistance slowly retook the area and began launching guerrilla attacks on the Empire.
A side effect of the bombardment was the extinction of most of the bormus, slow-moving and peaceful herd creatures. Many bormus perished in the bombardment, and the toxic waste released during the assault poisoned many more of the creatures, leaving the bormu on the brink of extinction as they were now vulnerable to smaller predators. The zeldrate, a smaller creature that preyed on bormus prior to the invasion, began to target sentient beings in the absence of their favorite prey. Zeldrates were hunted prior to the Imperial invasion on account of a caustic chemical useful as an industrial cleaning solution that zeldrates secreted naturally, and with the Balmorran industry operating below half its typical capacity, the zeldrate population experienced a slight increase during the years of warfare that was balanced out by the rise in zeldrate deaths caused when the creatures attacked soldiers.
In 3653 BBY, the Great Galactic War was brought to an end when the Empire sacked the Republic capital of Coruscant and held it captive to force the Republic into signing the Treaty of Coruscant. Per the terms of the Treaty, the forces of the Republic Military were to withdraw from every battlefield across the galaxy, including Balmorra. To the surprise and anger of the Balmorran people, the Republic Military was ordered to withdraw from Balmorra, and General Buryn and the other Republic officers began preparations for withdrawal. However, some refused to back down: the Jedi Knight Fortris Gall disobeyed Buryn's orders and departed Base 11A to rescue Demolitions Squad 419, which had been captured and was being imprisoned at the Troida Military Workshop.
Gall infiltrated the workshop and, after defeating a Sith who tried to stop him, rescued Squad 419 and evacuated them back to Republic territory. Gall continued to battle the Empire despite orders to stand down, forcing Grand Master Zym of the Jedi Order to send Gall's former master Orgus Din and Lieutenant Harron Tavus of the Republic Special Forces Division to convince him to withdraw. Buryn's forces remained on-world to wait for Gall's return as the Empire's deadline for withdraw approached, and the Empire attacked when the deadline expired, trapping Buryn's forces on world. Din tracked down Gall as he was leading Republic forces against Imperial Forward Outpost XT-23, and though Gall was victorious, Din convinced him to depart Balmorra while Din stayed behind to enforce the Treaty.
The Cold War
Early years of occupation
In the aftermath of the Treaty, the Empire declared victory on Balmorra and established its planetary headquarters in Sobrik, on account of the city's proximity to the Balmorran Arms Factory and the Okara Droid Factory and its resistance to Imperial invasion during the war. Imperial engineers rebuilt the city, though the outskirts of the city in the Gorinth Canyon remained in ruins, and they installed powerful defensive shields over Sobrik. In an effort to rebuild the planet's shattered industry, the Empire forcibly removed those corporate executives who refused to cooperate with the Empire and replaced them, turning the planet's corporations into Imperial puppets—some of which were eager to cooperate with their new rulers. Corporate executive Brel Orus sold out almost immediately to the Empire, and he was rewarded with a comfortable position in the new government in Sobrik, overseeing the confiscation and storage of corporate technologies.
Despite the Empire's initial claim of victory, they soon found themselves under constant harassment from the resistance, and the Imperial presence quickly became understaffed and undersupplied as Imperial High Command focused on more pressing issues. By the end of the Cold War, Lysennius Melchiro was serving as the thirteenth governor of Balmorra since the initial bombardment decades earlier, and Balmorra had become a career quagmire or deathtrap for the Imperial officers and soldiers assigned there. In the absence of an official Republic presence, Balmorrans took it upon themselves to organize and train themselves in the resistance. The resistance soon developed into a formidable fighting force with superior knowledge of the terrain, and they waged an endless guerrilla war against their Imperial overlords. Other Balmorrans also rebelled: the Empire was confronted by rebellious citizens and factory foremen, saboteurs, assassins, and terrorist cells across the planet. In response, the Empire placed all regions of Balmorra that were under its control under a strict lockdown. Using a combination of military policing, curfews, and propaganda, they subjugated the Balmorran population throughout the Cold War, forcing all citizens to apply for official IDs—a process that tests Imperial loyalty—or else they would be arrested as rebel sympathizers. When the resistance attacked the Imperial infrastructure, the Empire regularly punished the families of resistance members and even the entire population in response.
The Troida Military Workshop was soon put back into work, becoming a supply depot and weapons manufacturer for the Imperial forces at nearby Sobrik, and the workshop's overseers were expected to worry about Imperial concerns over their own profit. Troida's workers were known to harbor resistance sympathies throughout the occupation, and because of the strategic importance of its production, the caravans between Sobrik and Troida were frequently targeted by guerrilla resistance attacks. The Empire made repeated attempts to take control of the Okara Droid Factory, but their efforts met with little success for much of the invasion and occupation. The Balmorran Arms Factory, however, remained a stronghold of the resistance and their primary headquarters as it was transformed into a heavily-defended fortress and weapons supplier. Resistance scientists and engineers also began developing a planetary hyperspace beacon, which in theory would allow starships that tracked the signal to jump into the Balmorra system directly in Balmorra's orbit, above the factory.
Grand Marshal Cheketta of the Republic Army refused to retreat from Balmorra despite the Treaty, and he and the contingent of Republic troops and Jedi with him were declared rogue by the Republic in response. Throughout the Cold War, the resistance was aided by various offworld mercenaries, a group of whom were cyborgs and saw heavy fighting in the Gorinth Wilds region. The resistance also used stealth field generators to infiltrate Imperial outposts and assassinate their officers and soldiers, though the Empire was unable to locate the stealth fighters' camp. The remaining members of the government-in-exile, led by former trade secretary Tai Cordan, joined the Rift Alliance: a coalition of powerful and resource-rich worlds who were dissatisfied with the Republic's failures during the war. However, former Minister of Defense Vol Argen continued to support the resistance from off-planet, sending weapons, supplies, generators, and other resources to those fighting on Balmorra. Cordan also contributed to the cause, sending the freelance operative Giana Kayl with lists of major supply caches that were hidden before the occupation, but Kayl's ship Meridian Grace was shot down over Balmorra and the Empire recovered the lists from the ship's wreckage in the Gorinth Fields.
As the Imperial occupation progressed, the resistance continued to occupy Ghost Town, using the town's small gardens to supply food and the nearby caves to stage anti-aircraft attacks on Imperial starfighters. The resistance also set up a base in the ruins of the Traken-4 ChemWorks that they named Outpost Traken-4, though the outpost's fighters were regularly rotated to other parts of Balmorra in order to prevent long-term exposure to the chemical waste in the area. The paths between the toxic pools in the area formed natural choke points that were easily defensible by the resistance, as they Empire was unwilling to reach the camp without traveling along those paths between the pools. The resistance established a base their named Outpost Victory in a crater formd by the Imperial bombardment, and though it was originally a small outpost, it quickly developed into one of the Balmorrans' largest and most heavily-defended bases on the planet. Imperials who were captured by the resistance were imprisoned in the lower levels of Outpost Victory, and the Republic's few remaining forces—including General Aakars and Marren Atma, the base's defense coordinator—were headquartered in Outpost Victory.
An Imperial officer almost caused a diplomatic incident when the officer killed a delegate of the Chiss Ascendancy, an ally of the Empire, after an argument in the back rooms of Sobrik's Sunken Sarlacc cantina. However, Officer Breerdin moved quickly to contain the situation, sequestering the delegate's guards in the cantina back room and having a recording of the crime doctored to frame the resistance for the delegate's death. He then arranged for the guards to be killed and the recording planted, preserving the Empire's alliance with the Ascendancy.
The Imperial Army's Fifth Infantry was a large part of the forces deployed on Balmorra during the Cold War, with the division's First Battalion and Second Battalion being deployed in the regions around Sobrik. A unit of the First Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Piloc was sent to retrieve the plans for a neutron detonator from the ruins of Bugtown so that the resistance could not acquire them, though incompetent leadership on Piloc's part saw Private Suzoku and half of Piloc's unit killed by the mutated Colicoids in the area. Piloc was unable to convince Privates Ganbar, Erelut, and the others in his squad to try again, even after he shot Private Camm as motivation, so Piloc was forced to seek other help from Imperial forces in order to retrieve the plans.
Operation Breaking Point and the capture of Balmorran Arms
Captain Rigel of the Imperial Conquest Consolidation Corps and his second-in-command Lieutenant Davrill developed a plan they termed "Operation Breaking Point" to break Vol Argen's support of the resistance. The first phase of the plan saw Imperial forces attack the Neebray Warehouse in Gorinth Canyon to destroy the generators given to the resistance by Vol Argen, thereby cutting off power to their anti-aircraft emplacements in the area. In phase two, Lieutenant Thorpe at Markaran Imperial Outpost determined a way to use the technology of the cyborg mercenaries in the Gorinth Wilds against them, so Imperial forces scavenged the technology from the cyborgs after killing them, and they were able to push the mercenaries out of the region. With the help of a resistance defector named Cavill Arin, the Empire was able to locate the stealth fighters' camp in the Gorinth Wilds and wipe them out, ending the string of assassinations they had been conducting.
The Empire's successes greatly angered Vol Argen, causing him to journey to Balmorra himself, and Colonel Vrain—the head of the ICCC—was so pleased with Rigel's work that he came to Balmorra to oversee the final stages personally. Under Vrain's orders, Imperial forces infiltrated the Balmorran Arms Factory and disabled the power before shutting off security systems, and they also succeed in killing Vol Argen himself. However, the Imperials were ultimately unable to capture the factory, and Grand Marshal Cheketta led the resistance in driving the Empire back out of the factory—a failure that greatly angered the Empire's Dark Council and led them to send Darth Lachris, the former apprentice of Dark Councilor Darth Marr, to Balmorra to take command. Executing Governor Lysennius Melchiro for his incompetence, Lachris then set in motion plans to capture the Balmorran Arms Factory and eliminate Grand Marshal Cheketta.
During a raid on an Imperial research post, the Republic managed to steal plans for a new walker design, though the ship with the plans was brought down by Imperial anti-aircraft guns. Imperial Intelligence offered a reward for securing the plans, and Lieutenant Quisun was able to recruit help in recovering the plans. After tracking the plans to a resistance-held cave network with Jedi defenders, Imperial forces recovered them and passed them off to Intelligence's Agent Nianla.
In light of increased Republic activity near the Balmorran Arms Factory, Imperial Intelligence's Watcher Eight sent Agent Veld on a reconnaissance mission to the area—but when Veld failed to check in, Watcher Eight sent additional resources into the area to locate him. With their help, Veld was able to retrieve code cylinders from several Republic officials, and the other operatives created a distraction for Veld by planting explosive charges on Republic ships on the landing fields outside of the factory.
As Imperial forces pushed closer to the Balmorran Arms Factory, forces under Sergeant Tulsar sabotaged the Republic gun turrets along their defensive line, allowing the Empire to breach the line and gain ground on the Sundari Flatlands.
The resistance established a base known as Outpost Freedom in Bugtown at one point during the occupation, but they ultimately abandoned it because of the threat of the Colicoids in the area. The Empire eventually decided to establish a new base of operations on the site of Outpost Freedom in addition to the Empire's smaller Camp Vogel, and Captain Augatta was part of the team tasked with driving the Colicoids from the area. To do so, Augatta's forces planted infrared markers at specific points in the area as targets for the Empire's orbital bombers, which then used specialized toxic bombs to wipe out Colicoid nests there. Despite this, the Colicoids soon became prevalent in the area again, and the Empire ultimately abandoned their plans to establish a base there.
The Imperial Science Bureau established Project Hexapod, an effort by Doctor Revis to analyze the weaponization of Colicoids on Balmorra. After he determined the original facilities in Bugtown where the Colicoids were created before the bombardment, Revis employed outside help in recovering all of the labs' data on the project. However, the data upload was halted from the lab's lower levels, where Revis's outside help discovered Cessik, a Colicoid of the Colicoid Creation Nest—the Colicoids who had provided the DNA for the original experiments. Cessik gave the Imperials the project data as a way of forming an alliance between the Nest and the Empire and also to ensure that the experiments would continue.
A Republic spy infiltrated an Imperial capital ship and, after killing sixteen Imperial officers, stole a sample of an Imperial bioweapon and escaped, only to crash-land in the Spire Swamp. Upon learning of this, Captain Jaggard dispatched Imperial forces to the swamp to retrieve the bioweapon before Republic rescue teams could recover it.
The resistance began scavenging unexploded thermal detonators from battlefields and using the thermite from the detonators to build improvised bombs, but when one of the scavengers was captured and interrogated by Officer Kytoma of Imperial Intelligence, the Empire learned of their efforts. Imperial forces returned the favor, stealing the resistance's bombs and using them against the rebels.
Working on shuttles stolen from the Empire, the resistance developed prototype stealth shuttles that could avoid Imperial sensors, but an Imperial scout accidentally discovered where the resistance was keeping the shuttles. Commander Moriden then dispatched Imperial forces to steal the pilots' key codes, disable the resistance's anti-aircraft defenses, and steal a shuttle, and with the stolen shuttle the Empire was able to neutralize the effectiveness of the stealth shuttles.
When the Gold Neebray rebels began to arm gun emplacements at Outpost Traken-4, which would then allow them to attack the Empire's Markaran Outpost, Colonel Teeg called for reinforcements to Markaran Outpost to take out the emplacements. Resistance forces killed Teeg's reinforcements before they reached him, but Teeg, unaware of their fate, sought help from other forces in the area and successfully destroyed the emplacements.
In the weeks after the capture of the Balmorran Arms Factory, a number of Cheketta's lieutenants—the Jedi Knight Noth Armin, Sergeant Tove Weylan, and the mercenary Korin Norrus—began rallying resistance forces in the Markaran Plains and conducting anti-aircraft raids against the Empire. After they succeeded in downing three Imperial squadrons, Darth Lachris issued a bounty on their heads that soon resulted in their deaths. Despite this, the resistance overran the Troida Military Workshop and turned it into a rallying point for the resistance as it became one of their largest remaining bases.
Near the end of the Cold War, the Empire finally succeeded in securing the Okara Droid Factory, and they set up a base of operations there as their technicians began working to reverse the effects of their virus. Outpost Victory was conquered by the Empire at heavy cost to the resistance, and the Empire converted it into an Imperial installation, renaming it Camp Conquest to remind the Balmorran people of the price of rebellion. The Empire ultimately succeeded in capturing Ghost Town and much of the Jacent Valley, establishing Camp Jacent in the ruins of Ghost Town. The Sundari Flatlands around the Balmorran Arms Factory also became a hive of Imperial activity, and Outpost Traken-4 was eventually captured by the Empire and converted into an Imperial outpost named Camp Traken-4.
Galactic War (3642 BBY)
During the early days of the Galactic War, the Republic sent a military force to Balmorra, which had been occupied by the Empire since the first Great Galactic War. Together with the Balmorran resistance, the Republic was able to force the Empire offworld and reclaim the planet, giving the Republic access to Balmorra's weapons factories. Amongst the Balmorran resistance members was a Twi'lek named Zenith. When a powerful Jedi Consular that was the third Barsen'thor of the Jedi Order arrived on the planet to assist the Rift Alliance and free the planet from Imperial control to convince the Rift Alliance to join the Republic, Zenith allied with the Barsen'thor and together they journeyed through the planet, slaying Imperial forces everywhere. At last, the duo reached Darth Lachris, the Sith Lord in control of Balmorra. As the governor of Balmorra, Lachris was supported by other Sith and Balmorrans. The Sith Lord Darth Minax, also with Lachris, would suffer the same fate when Lachris was slain by the Barsen'thor. With Lachris, Minax and the Imperial forces destroyed, Balmorra was safe from Imperial power once again.
- (First appearance)
- The Old Republic: Deceived (Indirect mention only)
- The Old Republic: Deceived audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- The Old Republic, Threat of Peace Act 2: New Galactic Order (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire (Mentioned only)
- The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Explorer's Guide
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia
Notes and references