- "Odion's changing the map of this place. This is the big showdown."
- ―Narsk Ka'hane
The Battle of Gazzari took place in 1032 BBY during the second Charge Matrica. Following the destruction of a Daimanate testing facility, the Sith Lord Daiman planned to ambush his brother, Odion, at the planet Gazzari. Daiman allowed the captured Bothan Narsk Ka'hane, who was responsible for the destruction of the facility, to overhear a conversation between Daiman and the Sith Lord Ayanos Bactra, who agreed to deliver an arxeum mobile university to Gazzari. Daiman then allowed Ka'hane to escape and flee to his master, Odion, to alert him of the meeting. Unaware that Jedi Knight Kerra Holt had stowed aboard his ship, Daiman traveled to Gazzari with several mercenaries—including Jarrow Rusher, Mak Medagazy, and a Nosaurian mercenary—whom he had hired for the ambush. After Daiman's forces had assembled themselves on the ridges of a massive crater, Bactra arrived at the planet with the arxeum, which landed in the crater along with four transports filled with students.
The forces of Odion then arrived and landed inside the crater with a massive siege tower known as a Death Spiral. Odion's forces engaged Daiman and the mercenaries, destroying all four transports and significantly damaging the arxeum. The mercenaries bombarded the Death Spiral with cannon fire, but were unable to destroy the tower, which deployed several speeder bikes, airspeeders, and walkers from its base. As many of the mercenaries began to retreat, unable to withstand the firepower of the Death Spiral, Holt shepherded the students off the battlefield to the cliffs of the crater. Strapping explosives to a speeder bike, Holt jammed the bike's accelerator and sent it into the Death Spiral's speeder bays, which resulted in an explosion that destroyed the tower. Holt then convinced Rusher, who had lost the majority of his forces, to allow her and the students aboard his ship, the Diligence.
Ka'hane, meanwhile, received a message from his true master, Vilia Calimondra, who wished for her grandchildren, Daiman and Odion, to unite their forces and destroy Bactra. Ka'hane delivered the message, and Daiman and Odion immediately turned on Bactra, whose forces were observing the battle near Gazzari's sun. Bactra's ships retreated into hyperspace with Daiman and Odion in pursuit, while the Diligence, too damaged to continue fighting and crowded with the student refugees, made for Byllura, a planet located in another Sith state. Following the battle, the brothers invaded and conquered Bactra's territory, and Odion captured Bactra's capital.
- "We have a number of facilities that could reach your territory quickly. There is one near Tergamenion. Alphoresis. Gazzari…"
"Gazzari. That sounds well."
- ―Lords Bactra and Daiman
In 1032 BBY during the second Charge Matrica, the Bothan spy Narsk Ka'hane, who secretly worked for the Sith Lord Vilia Calimondra, was hired by Calimondra's grandson, the Sith Lord Odion. Odion ordered Ka'hane to gather information on Odion's younger brother Daiman's starship, Convergence, which was under construction at the Daimanate Dynamic Testing Facility on the planet Darkknell, and, subsequently, to destroy the ship. Using a Cyricept Personal Concealment System, Mark VI stealth suit, Ka'hane infiltrated the testing facility and downloaded the Convergence's technical readouts onto a datapad. Leaving several baradium thermal charges with the ship, Ka'hane left the facility. However, he was spotted by Jedi Knight Kerra Holt, who hoped to obtain the Mark VI for her own use against Daiman. After a chase through the streets of the city Xakrea, Holt incapacitated Ka'hane and activated his remote detonator, which caused the destruction of the testing facility. Taking Ka'hane's Mark VI and detonator, Holt left the Bothan in a garbage bin, where he was captured by Daiman's police, the Correctors.
Daiman, with suspicions of Odion's involvement in the destruction of the facility, plotted to ambush his brother. He brought Ka'hane to his fortress, the Sanctum Celestial, where he contacted the Quermian Ayanos Bactra, a neutral Sith Lord who preferred to gain power through corporate bureaucracy rather than military might. Daiman had recently allowed one of Bactra's corporations, Industrial Heuristics, to recruit students from Darkknell and elsewhere in his territory—known as the Daimanate—in exchange for the fruits of the students' research. Daiman requested an arxeum, a mobile university dedicated to the science of war, as well as recruits that Industrial Heuristics had taken from the Daimanate. In exchange, Daiman granted Bactra safe passage through the Daimanate to strike at Vellas Pavo, a gadolinium-rich planet. Bactra agreed to deliver the arxeum and the students to the volcanic world of Gazzari, on the frontier of Daiman's border with the Odionate—Odion's territory. Intending to lure Odion to Gazzari, Daiman allowed Ka'hane to listen in on his conversation with Bactra and secretly ordered the bonds holding the Bothan spy to be loosened, so that Ka'hane could escape and tell Odion what he had overheard. With the help of Holt, who sneaked into the Sanctum with Ka'hane's Mark VI, the Bothan fled and told his master of Daiman's plans.
Daiman had also invited several mercenaries to the Sanctum Celestial to help him execute the ambush. Among them were Brigadier Jarrow Rusher, Mak Medagazy, Kr'saang the Togorian, and a Nosaurian mercenary. After his meeting with Bactra, Daiman hired the mercenaries and directed them to Gazzari, where they were to deploy their forces and await the arrival of Odion. Kr'saang, though, refused to work for Daiman, insisting that he only participated in direct confrontations, not in ambushes. Instead of allowing Kr'saang to leave, however, Daiman killed the Togorian with his lightsaber. He then sent Correctors to appropriate Kr'saang's shock troopers and his ship, the Dar'oosh, making them a part of his slave army. Daiman also met resistance from Rusher, who was uncomfortable with the idea of using young students as bait. When Daiman began Force-choking the brigadier, however, Rusher agreed to participate. The mercenaries departed for Gazzari, as did Daiman, unaware that the Jedi Holt, who was in possession of several baradium nitrate charges stolen from Darkknell, had stowed aboard his ship, the Era Daimanos, with the intention of assassinating the Sith Lord. Holt, however, was unable to locate Daiman aboard the ship during its journey to Gazzari.
The Era Daimanos landed upon its arrival—although Daiman left the rest of his fleet outside the system—while Rusher's Brigade landed in the ship Diligence. Rusher's eight battalions—Coyn'skar, Dematoil, Flechette, Rantok, Ripper, Sat'skar, Serraknife, and Zhaboka—assembled their Kelligdyd laser cannons on the eastern ridge of a massive bowl crater several kilometers across. The Nosaurian mercenary positioned his Brock-Eight cannons on the northern ridge, and Medagazy's battle droids were arranged among the crevasses inside the crater. Due to the constant ash and rainfall on the planet, the floor of the crater had turned to a thick tar, which made landing a starship or building a structure virtually impossible inside the crater. However, Daiman and his mercenaries built several temporary structures to give enemy vessels the opposite impression. Daiman's forces, invisible from orbit due to the thick clouds of volcanic ash, lined the ridge on all sides, surrounding the crater, where the trap set for Odion was to be sprung.
- "It's a trap, Lord Odion!"
"Of course it's a trap. The little snot doesn't operate any other way."
- ―Narsk Ka'hane and Odion, upon arriving at Gazzari
Upon reaching Gazzari, Kerra Holt left the Era Daimanos and shed her Mark VI, which had become useless due to the planet's volcanic ash that clung to the suit. Carrying the baradium nitrate in a bandolier she had taken from Ka'hane on Darkknell, Holt made her way toward Daiman's command dome, planning to use the baradium and the remote detonator to kill him. She was spotted by a Nautolan trooper, but quickly killed him by suffocating the trooper with his own head tendril. She picked up the trooper's rifle and reached the command dome, where she heard Daiman speaking with his aide, Uleeta. Before Holt could detonate the explosives, however, four transports from Industrial Heuristics arrived and descended into the crater. Within a few moments, the arxeum set down a kilometer to the east of the transports. The transports lowered their landing ramps, and the young students inside them poured out, making their way toward the arxeum. Holt, realizing that the students were being used as bait, resolved to protect them. Cutting down two Daimanite troopers with her lightsaber, she ran toward the students in the valley, but was hindered by a stinging pain in her heart, caused by the arrival of Lord Odion in the system.
Aboard his flagship, Sword of Ieldis, Odion—who had taken Ka'hane to Gazzari with him—ordered his Givin navigator, Jelcho, to search for Daiman's forces. Although they saw no trace of Daiman's fleet in the system, they did spot about a dozen of Bactra's ships near Gazzari's sun, where they could observe the events on the planet from a safe distance. Although Odion knew that Bactra had just delivered the arxeum, he ordered his fleet not to fire on the Quermian's forces. Instead, his flotilla—which consisted of a quarter of his home fleet—formed an orbital perimeter around the planet and awaited the arrival of his most important weapon, a massive siege tower called the Death Spiral. Once the Death Spiral exited hyperspace behind Odion's fleet, the Sith Lord ordered his Thunder Guard units to their transports. He then boarded his own transport, ordering Jelcho and Ka'hane to come with him.
The Death Spiral landed in the crater, directly between the Industrial Heuristics transports and the arxeum, cutting the students off from their intended destination. After releasing scores of speeder bikes, airspeeders, and three-legged armored walkers from its base, the Death Spiral raised a powerful energy shield. The artillery units of Rusher and the Nosaurian mercenary began to pummel the Death Spiral with laserfire, but when Rusher noticed the Death Spiral continue to move and fire, he demanded a damage assessment from his spotter, Sergeant Wenna'lah. Wenna'lah reported that the Death Spiral had taken no damage, and Rusher ordered Ripper and Sat'skar Battalions to concentrate projectile attacks on the Death Spiral. He also commanded his energy weapons crews to fire on Odion's vehicles and personnel, which were fanning out across the valley toward the arxeum and the Industrial Heuristics transports.
Once Odion's forces had landed, Daiman's fleet made the hyperspace jump to Gazzari, hoping to trap Odion's forces in the system. On the surface, the members of Odion's Thunder Guard—many on speeder bikes—engaged Medagazy's battle droids, which were charging the valley from the east. Three members of the Thunder Guard on speeder bikes broke off to engage Holt, who was still trying to reach the students. Holt killed the three troopers and hijacked one of the speeder bikes, using it to reach the students. She shepherded them toward the arxeum, where they could use its massive body for cover from the Death Spiral.
Turn of events
- "All irregular units, attend to me. This operation has entered a new phase…"
- ―Daiman, upon receiving Calimondra's order
The Death Spiral meanwhile continued to rain fire on Daiman's forces, and disabled many of Rusher's Kelligdyd cannons. Tun-Badon, commander of Serraknife Battalion, was ordered by Rusher to unload the Gweith Brothers concussion missile launchers from the Diligence. However, the constant fire from the Death Spiral had put Serraknife, Flechette, and Sat'skar Battalions out of action. While Rusher searched for a safe route to pull his battalions back to the Diligence, Ryland Dackett, the Diligence's master, led a recovery team to Serraknife's position, hoping to salvage equipment and survivors from the battalion. Although Dackett had intended to stay on the ship, the presence of Odion was, unbeknownst to many, causing troops on the battlefield to act recklessly, even suicidally. Dackett was injured before he could reach Serraknife, but he was rescued by the clumsy Duros recruit Beadle Lubboon, who pulled him to safety with a cargo crawler and a makeshift stretcher. Rusher, meanwhile, ordered a general retreat, using the battalions on either side of the Diligence to protect the ship and the forces returning to it.
Aboard one of Odion's transports, Narsk Ka'hane, under surveillance by the navigator Jelcho, received a signal from his true master, Vilia Calimondra. The Sith Lord wished for her grandsons to unite against Bactra, who was still observing the battle from space, and she ordered Ka'hane to deliver her message to them. However, the Bothan's comlink was not working due to his proximity to the Death Spiral's energy shield. Convincing Jelcho to leave him and join the battle against Daiman, Ka'hane made his way south of the Death Spiral, where he hoped the reception would be clearer. However, he waited to deliver the message, as both Odion and Daiman were on the battlefield, approaching each other and preparing for a duel. With both Sith Lords engrossed in the battle, Ka'hane found it unlikely either of them would receive his message.
Meanwhile, Holt, who was still trying to lead the students to safety, also felt the subconscious suicidal effects of Odion's presence. As she leaped off her speeder bike to impale one of Odion's Vodran troopers, she noticed Daiman's command dome, untouched beneath its raised energy shield. Believing she had left the baradium nitrate just outside the dome, Holt prepared to detonate it, unaware that the bandolier was still slung over her shoulder. She was saved by Tan Tengo, a Sullustan student, who distracted Holt and prevented her from detonating the explosives. Holt, suddenly realizing that the bandolier was on her shoulder, saw a speeder bike flying toward her, piloted by Jelcho. Standing her ground, Holt used the Force to telekinetically push the bike to the ground and then knocked the Givin unconscious. Using her bandolier to secure Jelcho to the bike, Holt jammed the bike's accelerator and sent it flying into the speeder bays of the Death Spiral. Once the explosives were inside the speeder bays, Holt set off the explosives using the detonator she had stolen from Ka'hane, destroying the siege tower. She then led the students to the east, where the laser fire from the Death Spiral had created a path to the top of the ridge. Climbing to the top, Holt encountered Jarrow Rusher and the remnants of his brigade, whose members were now loading their weaponry onto the Diligence. After a lengthy argument, Holt convinced Rusher—who had lost five-sixths of his forces, including all of Dematoil, Sat'skar, and Serraknife Battalions—to allow her student refugees aboard his ship.
After the destruction of the Death Spiral, Ka'hane was able to deliver Calimondra's message to Odion and Daiman. One ship each from the Odionate and the Daimanate met on the surface of the planet as the Diligence, carrying Rusher, Holt, and the arxeum students, made for space, where the battle had been just as fierce. Several ships from both sides had been destroyed, while Bactra's forces observed the carnage untouched. As Daiman's mercenaries fled the planet, ships from both the Daimanate and the Odionate fired on them, unsure of whose side they were on. Witnessing the destruction of the infantry carrier Remorseless, Rusher ordered that the Diligence be brought closer to Bactra's forces, hoping to hide there for safety. However, Calimondra's order was finally received and transmitted to the fleets of both Daiman and Odion, and their forces began firing on Bactra's ships, destroying half of the Quermian's flotilla in under a minute. Nevertheless, the Diligence survived the onslaught as Bactra's forces fled to hyperspace, and Daiman and Odion ordered their troops to the planet Jutrand, Bactra's capital. As the forces of all three Sith Lords made for Jutrand, the Diligence, too damaged to continue fighting and carrying over a thousand students seeking refuge from the battle, fled to Byllura, a planet in the Sith state known as the Dyarchy, where they hoped they could find safety for themselves and the refugees.
- "I wish to offer you all my congratulations on the liquidation of Lord Bactra."
- ―Vilia Calimondra, congratulating her grandchildren at The Bequest
The forces of Daiman and Odion spearheaded an invasion into Bactra's holdings, known as the Bactranate. Numerous Sith of the Calimondra family, including Daiman, Lioko, and Malakite, all captured portions of Bactra's territory, and Odion himself captured the capital of Jutrand.
On Byllura, Holt and Rusher found that the planet's entire population were slaves to the Sith twins Quillan and Dromika, and as a battle broke out, they fled, taking Quillan with them. The planet was then captured by Arkadia Calimondra, Vilia Calimondra's granddaughter and the older sister of Quillan and Dromika. Arkadia, offering protection for Holt, Rusher, and the students, took the Diligence to the planet Syned in her own territory, the Arkadianate. According to her, Bactra had fled to a Quermian retirement colony following the fall of his capital.
Vilia Calimondra later initiated a Bequest, a meeting of her family, in which she praised her Sith grandchildren for their destruction of the Bactranate and doled out Bactra's various corporations to them. Vilia allowed Odion to maintain control of Jutrand, but gave control of Industrial Heuristics to Daiman. The Diligence later escaped the Arkadianate with the help of Narsk Ka'hane, and fled to Republic space.
Behind the scenes
Although the timing of the battle fits with the Sith civil war of the Republic Dark Age, Miller prefers to categorize the battle as part of the second Charge Matrica. Although this does not refute the possibility that the battle is indeed part of the Sith civil war, the novel gives the second Charge Matrica as the foundation of the conflict between Daiman and Odion.