- "You really have done superb work, Anakin. Saving the Rendili Fleet! Far better than I could have hoped."
- ―Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
When word came that Rendili, the planet home to the Rendili StarDrive corporation and producer of the Dreadnaught-class heavy cruisers, was possibly going to join the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and the Galactic Senate ordered a Jedi-led task force to Rendili. Their mission was either to convince the Rendili Home Defense Fleet to remain with the Galactic Republic or, if that failed, to destroy them lest they fell into the hands of Dooku. As the commander of the Rendili Fleet was Captain Jace Dallin, Jedi Master Plo Koon and Captain Jan Dodonna were sent as part of the fleet to negotiate with him, the three having fought together during the Stark Hyperspace War.
Arriving at Rendili, the Republic force discovered that an Independent Provisional Government had already assumed power on Rendili, and joined with the Separatists. Koon and Dodonna headed over to the Rendili flagship, Mersel Kebir, to speak with Dallin anyways. Despite some initial reluctance, Dallin agreed to order the fleet to defect to the Republic. At that time, Lieutenant Mellor Yago with the help of other junior officers such as Gallan arrested Koon, Dodonna, Dallin, and the other senior officers of the Mersel Kebir for treason against Rendili. Yago used them as hostages preventing an immediate attack, hoping that Saesee Tiin, commanding the Republic fleet, would hold off firing for at least twenty hours—the time at which General Grievous had promised a Confederate Navy support group would arrive at Rendili.
Interlude on the Titavian
Just before the negotiating team crossed to the Mersel Kebir Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the Jedi assigned to the Republic fleet, was asked by the Exploration Corps to investigate a missing ship for the Mycroft Intergalactic Zoological Society. Going to the coordinates given, he found the crippled ship, Titavian IV, with an old Jedi signal coming from it. Expecting perhaps to find Zao or Jerec onboard, Kenobi instead found Quinlan Vos, a renegade Jedi who had fallen to the dark side and defected to Dooku.
Vos was being hunted by seeker droids released by two of Dooku's minions, Asajj Ventress and Tol Skorr, who were charged with punishing Vos for his failure following the Battle of Honoghr, where he had realized that he had indeed followed the wrong path. Stranded on the Titavian IV when the two Dark Jedi had placed his ship, the Skorp-Ion, out of reach, Vos had nearly been overwhelmed before Kenobi's arrival. Retaking Vos' ship, evading the Dark Jedi's droids and a rancor released by them, and destroying their own ship, the two Jedi reversed the situation, escaping while leaving Ventress and Skorr stranded onboard the Titavian IV. Kenobi piloted their ship back to Rendili, despite the fact he anticipated trouble from Tiin over Vos.
- "The idiots are going to force us to kill them."
- ―Saesee Tiin
Meanwhile, Yago—expecting the arrival of the Confederate support group at any minute—had given Tiin an ultimatum: in one hour he would execute his hostages, starting with Koon. Onboard the Republic flagship, Sundiver, Tiin and Skywalker debated what to do. Deciding that there was no way to save the hostages, Tiin wished to destroy the Rendili Fleet ships, but Skywalker was convinced that in his starfighter, the Azure Angel II, he could set charges on the rear of the cruisers, leaving them stranded in space via a flaw in their original Mandalorian design. Tiin refused, as did Kenobi when he arrived shortly later with Vos. Tiin ordered Vos confined in a prison cell as Commander Adar Tallon, the Naval commander, reported that Confederate Lucrehulk-class Core Ships had emerged from hyperspace. Ordering the Sundiver to begin firing on the Mersel Kebir and the Triumph and Doneeta to fire on the Confederate ships, Tiin and the other Jedi headed to their starfighters to enter the battle.
Without permission, Anakin had the charges loaded onto his fighter and prepared to put his plan in motion. When the Sundiver was hit and suffered a power loss, Vos was able to leave his cell and get onboard a starfighter, entering the battle. Together with Kenobi, they infiltrated the Mersel Kebir as a means of destroying its Vulture droids from within, giving the distraction Skywalker needed to pull his plan through. Yago, in preparation for a hyperspace jump, had all the Rendili ships slave themselves to the Mersel Kebir; when sensors revealed this, Tiin ordered Tallon to ram the Sundiver into the Mersel Kebir, but this was made unnecessary when Skywalker succeeded in disabling the astrogation of the Mersel Kebir, leaving it and the other Rendili Fleet ships slaved to it stranded.
On board the Rendili flagship, Vos and Kenobi had managed to release the hostages. Dallin personally shot Yago, and retook command of the Rendili Fleet. Ordering that all other mutineers be summarily executed, he and Tiin ordered their combined fleets to concentrate fire on the Confederate ships, destroying them and ending the battle.
After the surrender of the fleet, the Independent Provisional Government was presumably quickly subdued as Rendili returned to the Republic by the end of the war.
Following the battle, the Rendili Fleet was taken to Coruscant to be refitted and used in the war effort. Due to their strong design, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine planned to turn them into prison ships for use in transporting captured Dark Jedi loyal to Dooku. Presumably they became some of the Imperial dungeon ships used during the Great Jedi Purge, alongside the Lictor-class.
At Palpatine's urging, the Senate passed a resolution that mandated all defense fleets to be assimilated into the Republic Navy, to prevent a similar situation from arising in the future. This influx of power into the central military while weakening local systems would form the basis of the Imperial Navy and the Imperial ability to "rule through threat of force rather than force itself".
Ventress and Skorr were rescued from the Titavian IV by General Grievous. Skorr was taken by Grievous to make an accounting of the fiasco to Dooku, while Ventress made her way to Coruscant to deal with Vos. When she saw Skywalker, she changed her tactics and followed him. She witnessed one of Senator Padmé Amidala's handmaidens bring him a hologram of his wife, and showed herself suddenly, threatening to kill the "Jedi toy" before finishing him. In a fit of anger, Skywalker fought Ventress, sustaining a permanent scar to his face before wrapping her in electrical cables and throwing her off a tower into the Coruscant underworld. She was presumed dead, but would later be found to be alive.
At a meeting before the Jedi High Council, Vos was cleared of all suspicion and welcomed back into the Jedi Order. They failed to realize that his true allegiance still remained with Dooku, who had engineered the entire situation as a means to get a spy into the Jedi ranks.
Behind the scenes
The novel Yoda: Dark Rendezvous includes a scene where Whie Malreaux sees a holographic representation of the "Rendili Fleet Crisis" in the Jedi Temple. However, The New Essential Chronology places the battle of Rendili after the Mission to Vjun due to the fact that in the novel, Asajj Ventress is known to be alive and well (she was seen by Whie and Scout which would have been revealed in their mission report). In Obsession, however, Anakin is convinced that Ventress is dead (he believes he killed her at the end of the comics miniseries The Dreadnaughts of Rendili). Thus, it has to be assumed that the "Rendili crisis" mentioned in the novel (which is referred to only as a 'crisis' and not a 'battle') must be a reference to negotiations that preceded the later armed conflict seen in the comic. In the first issue of the The Dreadnaughts of Rendili story arc, Anakin is shown arriving in the midst of these negotiations.
Further complicating matters, due to a number of continuity conflicts with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which is apparently set in the first year of the war, most of the events of the Clone Wars including the Battle of Rendili are likely to see redating to fit into the first year, as Anakin is shown to already possess his scar as of 22 BBY.
- Yoda: Dark Rendezvous (Possible mention as "Rendili Fleet Crisis")
- Star Wars: Republic: Dreadnaughts of Rendili (First appearance)
- Republic 78 (Mentioned only)
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 23 (PLO5, Clone Wars Ace Pilot)