- "Welcome to the township of Bestine. Sandy jewel in the Imperial crown, as I'm sure you'll find."
- ―Colonel Gert Talnin, to a passerby
Bestine, fully known as the Bestine Township, and formerly as Bestine Point, was a small city on the Outer Rim Territories planet of Tatooine. Melnea Arnthout and other survivors of the crashed Dowager Queen founded the original settlement alongside an additional group of colonists from the Red-Sin Valon starship. After its founding, Bestine suffered early difficulties, including a severe economic depression and a lack of water. However, Bestine survived, and its residents even had a hand in forming other settlements across Tatooine, including Fort Tusken and Mos Eisley, the latter of which was built around the remains of the Dowager Queen. Following the Declaration of a New Order, Bestine was adopted by the Galactic Empire to serve as the planet's officially recognized capital. The office of Governor Tour Aryon was based in Bestine, and other Imperial officials, such as Prefect Eugene Talmont, regularly conducted business in the capitol. By the time following the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY, Bestine was a thriving city, regarded as a stately gem of Imperial politics. Due in large part to the influx of Imperial personnel and their credits, Bestine flourished while other cities on Tatooine struggled. By then considered to be the safest of all cities on Tatooine, Bestine was attractive to honest traders and merchants interested in doing legitimate business on Tatooine. The city also played host to a series of divisive political elections between Director of Commerce Sean Trenwell and Officer of Defense Victor Visalis, both of whom held radically opposing views on how to manage the city. As the Galactic Civil War intensified, the Alliance to Restore the Republic recognized Bestine as an important strategic location. As such, the Rebel Alliance launched a daring invasion of the city, culminating in a series of ongoing sieges that saw the city exchange hands between Imperial and Rebel forces throughout the course of the war.
Located in the southern region of the Jundland Wastes, Bestine had its start as a small mining and farming community before expanding into one of the safest and most economically successful cities on Tatooine. About 200 kilometers to the east, colonists from the crashed Dowager Queen used parts salvaged from the starship when first constructing the initial village. Otherwise, the early settlement of Bestine contained little more than buildings for the settlers, and water, power, and food processors for basic survival. A violent sandstorm during Bestine's first season nearly destroyed every building, but Bestine survived and became one of the most lucrative moisture farming locations, partly due to the pure water which could be extracted from Bestine's Gorgal Springs. Following the rise of the Galactic Empire, Bestine was transformed into the seat of Imperial power on Tatooine, by which point it was considered to be a stately gem of Imperial politics. In the heart of Bestine, the palatial capitol building and Museum of Tatooine stood as two of few places Bestine had to offer. However, by the time following the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY, the thriving capital had a number of other venues which catered to both the city's one thousand residents and their many visitors. The Cheapside Cantina and local tavern were but two such locations. Located in the eastern portion of the city near the shuttleport, Bestine's tavern was surrounded by a number of small residential buildings. The house of Sean Trenwell was also located nearby, across from the museum. The Bestine Hotel was situated just to the southwest of the capitol, while the Bestine Pilot's Club association hall, used by the Imperial Storm Squadron as a base of operations, was situated to its northeast. Just behind the capitol, three more large association halls could be seen positioned around Bestine's main square. These included the Combat Guild Hall, Bestine University, and a hall for Bestine's Commerce Guild. Bestine's bank could also be found near the local cantina, not far from the slums which extended towards the southernmost reaches of the city. The Lightwind Orphanage was located in Bestine as a refuge for the city's homeless children, as was the Tatooine Visitors Bureau, a place which distributed brochures and promoted tourism on the planet. The local salon, positioned between the city's cantina and cloning facility, provided travelers with image design services. The Bestine Starport was situated on the western boundary of the city, just south of the hospital. A warehouse district could also be found in the city. Many of the buildings spread throughout Bestine bore a sandstone architecture reminiscent to those seen in other cities across Tatooine, such as Mos Eisley and Mos Espa. One notable exception was Bestine's Imperial garrison, a drab gray and foreboding military base positioned on a tall hill overlooking the city to the north.
- "Dedicated by the first settlers of Tatooine—founders of Bestine Township—in memory of brave Captain Moraj."
- ―Description of a historical marker outside Bestine
A branch of the Galactic Republic known as the Republic Survey Corps rediscovered the Outer Rim Territories planet of Tatooine in 1100 BBY. Deemed "nominally habitable," the world was opened to colonization. Settlers gravitated to the planet in bits and spurts over the course of many centuries. Most vanished within a couple generations, beaten by the desert world. Anchorhead, the only lasting vestige of the planet's earliest visitors, was reinhabited and deserted again and again. Eventually, near the end of the millennium around 100 BBY, a new attempt to colonize the planet was spearheaded by hopeful Human settlers supplemented by miners. Among them was Melnea Arnthout, a Human female leader of the miners who endeavored to leave the aquacultural planet of Bestine IV and establish a mining colony on Tatooine. However, she and her fellow colonists were forced to change plans when their colony ship, the Dowager Queen, crash-landed on the desert world amid a vicious sandstorm. Following the crash, Arnthout supervised construction of temporary shelters and organized work crews and security details. Under her direction, the settlers located their original target zone about 200 kilometers to the west, an area named Bestine Point for its comparative suitability as farmland. Arnthout and the others survivors of the Dowager Queen established a settlement at Bestine Point with the help of another group of colonists who crash-landed nearby in a starship of their own, the Red-Sin Valon. Among them was the brave Captain Moraj, regarded as a local hero for his part in becoming one of the first settlers of Bestine. With parts scavenged from the fallen Dowager Queen, a village at Bestine Point was constructed in the southern region of the Jundland Wastes. Within a year, by 99 BBY, the village was ready for habitation. As construction of a second settlement commenced, Bestine Point became known simply as Bestine.
- "Despite the early difficulties—a severe economic depression, lack of water and so forth—Bestine survived and became the thriving city we see today. There's so much more depth to it…"
- ―A historian, to a passerby
Bestine was Tatooine's first modern settlement, but its start as a farming and mining community was fraught with challenges. During its first precarious season, sandstorms nearly destroyed every building, most of the banthas disappeared, and barely enough food was grown. Exasperating matters, a local group of Tatooine's native Jawa's stole 2PO, a protocol droid belonging to Arnthout. The settlers were enraged, and Arnthout felt pressured to confront the Jawas. She quickly concluded, however, that the Jawa's were mostly harmless. When the Jawa's led her back to where they were keeping her droid, it translated for her their innocent intentions toward the colonists. Within minutes, Arnthout negotiated not only a mutual nonaggression pact, but water rights, salvage rights, and agreements for the free trade of information. Within a few months, Jawas were a frequent sight in and around Bestine, where they could be found teaching the local miners important tips on how to survive Tatooine. Contending with dwindling water supplies, Arnthout and the colonists decided to spread farther apart in hopes of maximizing the efficiency of their moisture-gathering vaporators. A permanent mining facility had already been established in the Jundland Wastes far to the north, and Bestine's inhabitants deemed it logical to establish a permanent community there. By 98 BBY, construction on Tusken was completed, and both Bestine and Tusken got down to the serious business of ore mining and learning the delicate art of coaxing moisture from the atmosphere for growing crops. However, Tusken, which was named after an island on Bestine IV, was quickly raided by the planet's violent Sand People. Even when attempts to fortify Tusken were successful, the Sand People still managed to wipe out the inhabitants and take Fort Tusken as their own by 95 BBY, thus earning them the moniker "Tusken Raiders." Under the direction of a Tusken King, the Sand People went on to plague Bestine's first settlers for many cycles.
When another ship full of settlers arrived, the Tusken Raiders appeared outnumbered and seemingly vanished back into the desert sands. However, this new group of settlers showed no interest in rebuilding Fort Tusken. Instead, in 93 BBY, they reestablished a community in the ruins of the much older settlement named Anchorhead. Because all their ships landed intact, the people of Anchorhead were able to construct a spaceport in a very short time. All ore exported from Tatooine passed through Anchorhead, resulting in its prosperity. As Anchorhead gradually transformed into the seat of government on Tatooine, Bestine lost much of its importance, and was forced to pay expensive export fees levied on them by Anchorhead mining concerns. To regain some of their prestige, the residents of Bestine voted to construct their own spaceport, centered around the scavenged remains of the Dowager Queen further to the east. A third group of settlers comprising of Rodian refugees lent their support to this endeavor. However, they also brought with them a great deal of corruption. Regardless, the planned "ultramodern" spaceport of Eisley was established in 85 BBY, and it eventually evolved into the seedy den of vice of violence known as Mos Eisley.
A short but spectacular series of space station and transport accidents was eventually blamed on the inferior ore coming out of Tatooine. Determined to be useless, ore freighters stopped visiting Tatooine, the sandcrawlers stopped refining ore, and the miners stopped working. Starting in 70 BBY, a period of economic depression ensued all over Tatooine, including Bestine in particular. Sensible colonists who could afford to leave did so without delay, while others who could not or chose not to, remained behind in a desperate attempt to keep Tatooine's support industry going. Moisture farming became the bare minimum survival occupation on Tatooine, and vaporator import and leasing jumped dramatically as hundreds of miners became subsistence moisture farmers. Lending organizations set up permanent offices in Anchorhead and Mos Eisley to handle debt collection. Things looked bleak for the latest of Tatooine's countless colonies. Then, five years later in 65 BBY, the Hutts arrived. When the dirty money made by unscrupulous traders and local racketeers began to attract the attention of the notorious Hutt crime lords, they arrived on Tatooine aboard their opulent transports. Despite their reputation, the Hutts brought a much needed boost to Tatooine's economy, and alleviated the economic depression. Public utilities were restored to full working order, and water shipments from Adriana resumed. With many new jobs created, cities like Bestine survived.
The Hutts insinuated themselves so well into Tatooine life that they became a part of it. Slavery became an accepted institution, and crime was simply seen as another danger to be avoided, like the planet's womp rats or sandstorms. Poverty under the Hutts continued, but it was not seen much differently than poverty as an independent miner. Over the next few decades, life on Tatooine remained mostly unchanged. By 22 BBY, the Hutts played at least some role in Bestine's moisture farming business. Bestine and its outskirts were host to some of the wealthiest moisture farms, and Gorgal Springs, based in Bestine, served as a source of Tatooine's purest water. Crates of the water bore labels of a fat Huttese face leering above a slogan which read, "Gorgal Springs Genuine Pure Water Bestine's Finest."
- "There are some really weird things going on. I think the Empire is becoming more and more strict with who and what come out of Bestine. Between you and me, anyone who's sympathetic with the Rebels should be careful. I've seen too many singled out and executed nowadays."
- ―A Bestine citizen, to a passerby
In 19 BBY, the Declaration of a New Order formally transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. Shortly after its formation, the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi brought the son of Anakin Skywalker, named Luke, to Tatooine in order to hide him from the Empire. Not long after doing so, Kenobi traveled to the property bureau in Bestine to confirm if a certain derelict structure in the Jundland Wastes was uninhabited. A year later, the Empire stationed several battalions of stormtroopers on the world, but they were largely abandoned. It would not be until 11 BBY that the Empire established a firm presence on Tatooine. They subsequently occupied Bestine, and transformed the once modest agrarian township into the seat of Imperial power on Tatooine, supplanting Mos Espa as the official planetary capital. An Imperial garrison was established on a hill overlooking Bestine, and Moff Alexander Julstan IV appointed a woman named Tour Aryon to serve as Tatooine's governor. Like her ineffectual and apathetic predecessors, Aryon was largely disinterested in the daily affairs of her people. When first appointed, she moved her offices to an almost palatial house in Bestine, appointed Orun Depp as her Imperial Prefect, and charged him with running the day to day affairs of Tatooine. The governor occupied much of her time in Bestine with lavish parties and expensive imported entertainment, whilst neglecting the moisture farmers and mechanics. Tour's contributions to Tatooine, however, were not entirely nonexistent, though they were mainly cultural. Due in part to her and the Empire's presence, Bestine Township, as it was fully known, became the most cosmopolitan and cultured settlement on Tatooine. The Museum of Tatooine was established in the city, where it served as the planet's only museum. Replete with a complete krayt dragon skeleton and other artifacts, the museum was one of the few places Bestine had to offer at that time. Due largely to the influx of Imperial personnel and their credits, Bestine flourished into a thriving economic hub while other cities on Tatooine struggled. While Mos Eisley attracted smugglers and their ilk, Bestine became a magnet for honest traders and merchants interested in doing legitimate business on Tatooine. Bestine was also recognized as the safest of all cities on Tatooine. Imperial stormtroopers patrolled the streets, protecting the local populace from common thugs. The Imperial forces also defended the city from Tusken Raider attacks and guarded the routes to and from Bestine. In 0 BBY, Kenobi finally decided that Luke Skywalker was ready to begin his Jedi training, and embarked with him on a journey to Mos Eisley to secure passage to Alderaan. Despite being the Imperial capital, Obi-Wan and Luke spent the night in Bestine to avoid suspicion from Imperial forces by traveling after sunset. Early next morning, they continued their journey to Mos Eisley. Due to a huge surge in Rebel activities after their success at the Battle of Yavin, Imperial forces seized greater control over Bestine by locking down the city and placing it on high alert. By this time, Bestine had a spaceport of its own, and was was widely appreciated as a stately gem of Imperial politics, or as one Colonel Gert Talnin called it, a "sandy jewel in the Imperial crown."
The capitol was naturally the source of much of the city's political intrigue. After his assassination in 0 ABY, Orun Depp was succeeded by Eugene Talmont as Imperial Prefect. When he was not in Mos Eisley, Prefect Talmont could be found conducting business in Bestine's capitol along with Governor Aryon. After his appointment, Bestine became embroiled in a series of heated elections between two young politicians, a powerful merchant named Sean Trenwell and an ambitious Imperial officer named Victor Visalis. Both vied for the publicly elected position of aide to Governor Tour Aryon. Sean served as the Director of Commerce, while Victor served as the Officer of Defense. Both held radically opposing views on how to manage the city. Sean wished to enrich the lives of Bestine's people through commerce, by establishing new market places, funding the museum, and hiring historians to uncover the mysteries surrounding the city. Victor, on the other hand, vowed to protect and preserve the life of Bestine's people by heightening security against unwanted Tusken Raider attacks. To achieve this, Victor wished to hire new stormtroopers, which he believed would open up jobs for the city's homeless men and women. Because the elections were conducted every couple months, both Victor and Sean had the opportunity to be elected as Tour Aryon's aide, and enact their various policies. As the Galactic Civil War between the Galactic Empire and the Alliance to Restore the Republic intensified, Bestine's importance became more pronounced. Even Darth Vader, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces, traveled to Bestine aboard his personal Lambda-class T-4a shuttle ST 321. During his visits, Vader inspired Imperial citizens to fight against the Rebel Alliance in a number of focused initiatives, including Operation Green Light and Operation Molecular Clamp. The elite Imperial Navy Storm Squadron also stationed their operations at Bestine Pilot's Club near the capitol. From their base of operations, the squadron oversaw missions throughout the Outer Rim, which included routine circuit patrols along the Primary Commerce Route, a route used exclusively by commercial vessels to travel to and from Bestine every day.
A city under siege
Around this time, a Trandoshan bounty hunter named Bossk became involved in capturing the Emperor's Most Wanted, individuals from a list of high-paid bounties on critical Rebel Alliance leaders. Bossk eventually delivered his captives to an Imperial prison facility in a rough mountain area near Bestine. Back at the Bestine Starport, Bossk was loading a repulsorlift stacked with cargo onto his personal vessel, the Hound's Tooth, when he was approached by a Rebel agent pretending to be working for Borvo the Hutt. The agent tried to learn the location of the facility where the Rebel prisoners were held, but Bossk was unwilling to share such information, and summoned some thugs who worked for him to teach the messenger "a lesson." However, the Rebel did not come unprepared and, with a help of some backup, was able to defeat the thugs and subdue Bossk. The Trandoshan was asked about the location of the facility again, and although he continued to taunt the Rebels, he relented and described the location. To prevent Bossk from alerting the Imperial authorities of the upcoming raid, he was temporarily held in Mos Eisley for a few hours of questioning.
When a large shipment of ryll went missing on its way to a Rebel medical facility, the Imperial Security Bureau endeavored to obtain the shipment before the Rebels. Many agents were deployed to pursue various leads, including Jeffren Brek, who eventually arranged a meeting with a smuggler named BoShek in Bestine's warehouse district. However, by that time, he was already being trailed by Loza Sil'ban, an agent of Bothan Spynet. Sil'ban reported about Brek's involvement to her employer, Lando Calrissian, as well as an Alliance agent who was also looking for the shipment. When Brek, backed by a few stormtroopers, was finally able to talk to BoShek, the smuggler was able to convince him that he had no useful information and left. Shortly thereafter, Brek was approached by the Rebel agent, who introduced themselves as a merchant from Glakka. Brek asked the individual if they knew Zoort or Raurlu Eloz, and when the so-called merchant replied negatively, Brek easily deduced the individual to be a Rebel spy. However, with the help of Loza Sil'ban, the Rebel managed to strike down the stormtroopers, leaving Brek with no other choice but to surrender and reveal BoShek's identity. While the Rebel departed to look for BoShek, Loza Sil'ban volunteered to take care of Brek. However, he soon managed to escape after injuring her head and stealing her blaster.
Matters in Bestine escalated further when Imperial counterintelligence agents embedded within a Rebel Bothan spy network intercepted a transmission sent by Leia Organa, a top leader of the Alliance. In the transmission, Leia revealed that the Rebel Alliance was making it a top priority to expand their intelligence gathering networks and secure vital communication routes. In addition to Dearic on Talus and Keren on Naboo, the Rebellion recognized Bestine as a key Imperial outpost, and a hotbed of corruption and political turmoil. They believed that if they could take and hold the city, they would control a wealth of information that moved through the galactic underworld. In Imperial Naval Communiqué 31756, Director of Intelligence Ysanne Isard confirmed the authenticity of the transmission to Fleet High Command and other senior officers. She also indicated that Lord Vader had taken a personal interest in the matter, and that failure to prevent the Rebellion from gaining a foothold in Bestine would not be tolerated.
Armed with this new intelligence, the Empire heavily barricaded Bestine with 1.4 FD P-Towers and other turret placements, guard towers, and defensive fixtures to repel any potential full frontal assault. Under the command of an Imperial general, Bestine witnessed a substantial boost in its military presence. Stormtrooper and sandtrooper numbers were increased and even augmented by specialized novatroopers, dark troopers, and dark novatroopers. The defenses were warranted, as the Alliance Military launched an unprecedented invasion of Bestine in the years leading up to 3 ABY. Rebel SpecForce soldiers from the Alliance Special Forces, accompanied by Rebel Assault Commandos, Rebel Desert Troopers, and repurposed All Terrain Experimental Transports, attacked the city from multiple directions in an effort to penetrate the defenses, kill the general, and occupy the streets. The initial invasion culminated in a series of ongoing sieges that saw the city exchange hands between Imperial and Rebel forces throughout the course of the Galactic Civil War. At times, the Rebels were successful in driving away the Imperial forces and securing a foothold in the city. However, whenever they did so, a massive force of Imperials comprised of various stormtroopers, shock troopers, and All Terrain Scout Transports would launch a counter-invasion in an effort to drive the insurgents back out of their capital.
Despite the ongoing conflict, the political dealings in the capitol continued. By 4 ABY, Tour Aryon was still the governor of Tatooine, and she still conducted business in Bestine. When the Emperor's Hand Mara Jade was dispatched by Emperor Palpatine to infiltrate Jabba Desilijic Tiure's criminal empire, she briefly considered reaching out to Governor Aryon's office in Bestine to receive up-to-date information on Jabba and his entourage. She quickly concluded, however, that doing so could compromise her mission, as she could not be sure of Aryon's competency, or whether or not she was on Jabba's payroll. Later that year, the Empire's defeat at the Battle of Endor culminated in the civilian population of Tatooine revolting against the Imperial forces stationed throughout the world. During the uprising, Dark Jedi Sariss, who had worked for Governor Tour Aryon for many years, saw an opportunity to leave her menial job by "disappearing" in the upheaval and link up with her master, Inquisitor Jerec, elsewhere. In the wake of the Empire's defeat, the Tatooine Visitors Bureau was still based in Bestine, where they offered tours to a number of historic vistas, including the ruins of Jabba's personal sail barge, Beggar's Canyon, and trails used by the ancient Tusken Raiders. The bureau also continued to encourage travelers to visit the Bestine Museum, which still displayed art sculptures from artists across the galaxy.
Bestine was originally founded and inhabited by Human colonists and miners from the crashed Dowager Queen. Chief miner Melnea Arnthout was one of them. Bestine's earliest inhabitants also included Captain Moraj and other settlers from the Red-Sin Valon, a vessel which crashed much closer to Bestine to the south. A problematic ancestor of Bestine's Director of Commerce, Sean Trenwell was one of the settlers aboard this starship. In addition to its largely Human presence, Jawa's began to regularly visit Bestine within a few months after its construction. By the time it was taken over by the Empire, Bestine had just over one thousand permanent residents. Tatooine's Imperial governor, Tour Aryon, was one of them. After her appointment, she moved her offices to a palatial house which served as the capitol of Bestine. Other Imperial officials, politicians, and ordinary commoners made their homes in Bestine. Director of Commerce Sean Trenwell possessed a home located across from Bestine's museum. A local criminal named Farious Gletch also inhabited a humble abode in the city's slums.
Government and politics
- "I want to join your campaign."
"A wise choice. However, I know that words do not weigh much in this life. It is action that makes or breaks a nation. The governor has ridiculous restrictions on the voting process. By her words, you will need evidence in order to vote—evidence of a good deed I have done. Childish."
- ―A campaign supporter and Victor Visalis
As the leader of the miners who crashed aboard the Dowager Queen, Melnea Arnthout was largely entrusted with the responsibility of supervising the construction and growth of Bestine. She was single-handedly responsible for establishing diplomatic ties with the local Jawa's shortly after Bestine's founding. In the years that followed, Bestine had adopted at least some form of a democratic governance. When the Anchorhead mining concerns forced Bestine to pay expensive export fees, the residents of Bestine voted to construct what would eventually become the Mos Eisley spaceport. After the Galactic Empire assumed control of Bestine, Tour Aryon was placed in charge as the governor of Tatooine. Although it was her responsibility to govern the entire planet, she was also charged with the responsibility of governing the city itself. She was at times referred to as the "Governor of Bestine," and managed the city much in the same way a mayor would. Even though Bestine was under the control of an authoritarian regime, the city still maintained some semblance of a democracy. Aides to Governor Tour Aryon were elected by the citizens. However, nominees to the position required the good graces of the governor herself, and it was up to Tour Aryon's discretion whether or not to accept or reject votes. In fact, Aryon would only accept a vote for a given candidate if the voter also provided her with evidence of a good deed conducted by the candidate. Many politicians in Bestine's capitol were interested in running for the office of aide to Governor Tour Aryon, but only two made the cut. They were Director of Commerce Sean Trenwell, and Officer of Defense Victor Visalis. Despite Bestine's distinction as a stately gem of Imperial politics, the city was not immune from the same sort of corruption that oftentimes plagued other settlements on Tatooine. Sean, for instance, was rumored to have payed for his expensive art and history habits by embezzling credits from the Bestine Treasury's official commerce accounts. The Hutts, aware of his shadowy commerce dealings, were able to blackmail him. Sean's opponent also alleged that he had cheated on his past political exams. However, Victor was himself accused of a number of offenses. Smugglers in the area rumored that Victor had given bribes to the Hutts to overlook some illegal activities. The local police also became embroiled in an investigation of murdered police officers that might have been Rebel spies. As it turned out, Victor authorized the extrajudicial killings of such suspected Rebels and criminals as a means by which to keep Bestine's streets clean. Victor even went so far as to have his troops eliminate Edwind Vintue, a particularly meddlesome rival who attempted to ruin his campaign by spreading damaging stories. Being a spiteful man, Victor even proved willing to withdraw Bestine's complement of stormtroopers in the event of an electoral defeat, thus placing Bestine at a higher risk of Tusken Raider attacks. The government of Bestine was comprised of a number of departments and other bureaucratic institutions, such as the aforementioned Bestine Treasury. The Bestine Chamber of Commerce was another institution which was partly responsible for protecting the moisture farming industry. During the time of the Galactic Civil War, the Bestine Chamber of Commerce cooperated with the Tatooine Moisture Farm Collective by offering rewards to anyone willing to eradicate creatures that began attack various moisture vaporators.
Bestine had a local police force responsible for investigating crimes, and Imperial security guards and other officers were stationed throughout the city. However, it was the Imperial stormtroopers who patrolled the streets, protecting the local populace from common thugs and Tusken Raider attacks. These stormtroopers also guarded the routes to and from Bestine. The Officer of Defense was at least partly responsible for regulating the amount of stormtrooper defenses in Bestine. Aside from the more common stormtroopers and sandtroopers, storm commandos guarded the city in a limited capacity. A duo of oppressor-7 class dark troopers guarded the entrance to the capitol, while glory-class, victory-class, and dark novatroopers protected other areas of Bestine in limited numbers. Many of the Empire's activities in Bestine were directed from the Imperial garrison, a military base situated on a hill overlooking the city to the north. A number of stormtroopers and Imperial officers were stationed there, including Captain Jasha and Major Caleb Knolar. Bestine was a significant Imperial recruitment station, and recruiters could be found at the garrison and in other areas throughout Bestine. Despite Bestine's distinction as one of the most orderly and safe cities on the planet, it was not completely devoid of crime, and the Imperial authorities were largely ineffective when it came to resolving murder cases. During one season, a man's son was ambushed and killed by thugs while heading out to Anchorhead for power converters and other supplies. When the father reported his son's murder to the Imperial authorities in Bestine, they said they could not find the killers. The father doubted that they had even looked, as it only took him two days to find the band of theives himself. Seeking revenge, the father attempted to hire an assassin to wipe out the band of murderous thugs.
Bestine's slums were especially susceptible to criminal activity, and the area was not afforded the same level of protection as the rest of the city. As the Tusken Raiders became more daring, they launched constant attacks on the outskirts of the city. During one particular night, the Tuskens attacked the outer walls of the slums, killing several and kidnapping the son of one of the poorer women there. The Empire kept quiet about the incident, hiding news of the attack from the common folk of Bestine in order to prevent panic. While the Empire failed to prevent the attack, the Officer of Defense took pity on the mother of the kidnapped son. Victor took his own soldiers and managed to destroy the Tuskens, and successfully returned her son back to Bestine safely. News of this success proved helpful to Victor's campaign prospects during his election against Sean Trenwell. However, Victor was also known to use less than reputable means to maintain law and order in Bestine. Despite Bestine's Imperial inclinations, the local police force was alleged to contain a number of Rebel spies. Victor secretly ordered the summary execution of such individuals, including a known Rebel informat named P'lya Hera, a Rebel commander named Petre Fairlight, and a Rebel operative by the name of Tyanna R'khila who headed smuggling efforts in Bestine. Victor believed these killings were justified in order to prevent supplies from being stolen, and to keep Bestine clean. Victor viewed members of the Rebel Alliance as a disease which needed to be eliminated from Bestine as quickly as possible. One of Victor's campaign proposals included establishing a special force of troopers to eradicate more of these kinds of individuals.
The Hutts, however, maintained a different level of respect among Bestine's political elite. Victor officially acknowledged that questionable activities conducted by approved members or affiliates of the Hutts would be rendered "unseen" to the authority of the Officer of Defense and his official troopers. However, in return for Victor's complicity, the Hutts were expected to do nothing to damage Victor's reputation in the the eyes of the voting public. The Director of Commerce was also beholden to the Hutts as a result of blackmail, and even Governor Tour Aryon proved willing to mostly ignore the criminal activities of Jabba Desilijic Tiure's criminal empire as a means by which to keep the peace on Tatooine. However, to avoid unwanted scrutiny from the Imperial capital of Coruscant, Aryon had long attempted to guide Jabba the Hutt away from using violence to solve his problems, albeit to little avail. Because Bestine had become a key base of operations for Imperial Naval activities in the Outer Rim, many ships and men were moved through the region on a daily basis. Colonel Gert Talnin, the Imperial officer in charge of Bestine's starport, was responsible for authorizing all incoming and outgoing space travel. In order to ensure uninterrupted delivery of critical supplies, the Empire's Storm Squadron patrolled the Bestine Orbital Region and Primary Commerce Route to scan for illegal cargo and to protect the commerce lanes and supply transports from pirate attacks. Emboldened by the recent successes of the Rebel insurgency against the Empire, the Commerce Raiders became more inclined to disrupt Imperial Naval operations in the Tatoo system. Working with Imperial Intelligence, the Storm Squadron aimed to eliminate pirate leaders in order to restore order in the system. Another group known as the Bestine Pirates could also be found flying around a region of the Tatoo system named Pirate's (Muon) Gold. Although they named the region after their favorite spice, the pirates were themselves named after the city.
Public health and safety
The Bestine Transportation Safety Commission was responsible for ensuring the safety of landspeeder lanes around the city. During one particular season, landspeeders accidents increased by 8% due to the presence of non-sentient animals alongside central travel routes. The creatures would periodically dart in front of oncoming speeders, causing operators to lose control and crash. In order to improve landspeeder safety on Tatooine, the Bestine Transportation Safety Commission, in conjunction with Imperial Prefect Talmont, began hiring contract exterminators to eliminate various animal lairs. However, the Empire's assurance of safety did not extend so much to the use of local shuttles. After gaining power, the Empire installed military jurisdiction over the galactic transit services. This included a special oversight group that set flight schedules and repair budgets. In the past, transport pilots were never allowed to run more than two shifts back-to-back, but under the Empire's new oversight plan, pilots began running as many shifts as they could handle. According to the Mon Calamari Gil Burtin, founder of the Free Pilots Guild, a Zabrak friend of his logged more than a dozen shifts in a row under the Empire's new rules. Adding to the problems, Gil Burtin knew of a few transport shuttles in Bestine that had not seen maintenance for over nine months, when they were required to receive regular maintenance four times each cycle. For these reasons, Burtin was reluctant to pursue a career as a shuttle pilot, after being put out of work by the Empire when they decertified his guild.
The Bestine Hospital provided medical services to the people of Bestine. At one point, local medics began to see patients suffering from small bites or scratches. In at least two cases, the wounds became infected with a strain of bacteria highly resistant to common medical approaches, including bacta. While the risk to individual patients from the actual bites was not severe, there was concern that the bacteria might migrate to other hosts and cause much more severe problems. The medical professionals who evaluated the threat recommended that the original host population be exterminated. To that end, the Bestine Hospital Medical Chief sought individuals willing to eliminate local creatures believed to be carrying the potentially dangerous bacteria. The Bestine Hospital was also staffed by Doctor Melios Purl, a Human male who took care of patients, including a young moisture farmer named Maikeen Storn who had gotten bitten by a womp rat. He also became concerned with a sudden spread of the Gray Rot disease, an agonizing plague which would cause the victim's skin to go scabrous and gray until it eventually cracked and ulcerated. Death would follow in its later stages, days later. To learn more about the disease, Doctor Purl researched a hide from a dead mutant womp rat, and developed a vaccine. In order to protect the people of Bestine and the rest of Tatooine from this plague, Doctor Purl worked with Aroy Sekun of the Affiliated Moisture Farmers to distribute the new vaccine.
Through the use of dozens of sturdy underground cables, a power and distrubtion station located outside of Anchorhead named Tosche Station supplied energy to cities like Bestine. On one occassion, creatures managed to dig up the power cables, disrupting services to their wealthier customers. Prefect Talmont was one such customer, and he was quite displeased when the power in Bestine blacked out during his favorite holodrama. In order to keep influential individuals like Talmont off his back, a mechanic in Tosche Station named Laze Loneozner sought skilled adventurers to kill the creatures that had been tearing up their power cables. Pest infestations such as these were a common problem for Bestine. An Imperial Custodial Officer named Pfilbee Jhorn oversaw pest eradication measures from his post at Bestine's Imperial garrison. Private citizens like Gerak Vurtimis took pest control measures in their own hands. Fearing for his son who would soon be visiting Bestine, Vurtimis sought to clear the areas surrounding Bestine by thinning out the population of certain creatures, including worrts.
Bestine was a member of the Tatooine Reclamation Society, a coalition which included Mos Espa and other major cities on Tatooine. In order to improve life on the desert planet, the coalition joined forces with the Empire to spearhead the Tatooine Reclamation Project. As part of the project, the society planned to construct waystations between the planet's primary settlements. The society broadcasted the coordinates of problem lairs blocking the construction areas, with the hope that loyal Tatooine citizens would take it upon themselves to aid the Reclamation Project by destroying these obstacles. A suitable reward was offered to anyone who participated in these efforts. Even though Bestine was one of the most economically successful cities on Tatooine, the city still suffered from a homelessness problem. In spite of their vastly differing policy positions, both Sean Trenwell and Victor Visalis were interested in curing this problem. After one tragic accident, Sean Trenwell opened his own home to the victims, sacrificing his own comfort and, in some cases, freedom for their benefit. Victor, on the other hand, believed that Bestine's homeless problem could be resolved by hiring more stormtroopers in Bestine, thus opening up jobs for the less fortunate. According to the capitol's job registry database, Victor Visalis had opened up more than one hundred new jobs for the growing number of Bestine's homeless species.
Arts and entertainment
One of Bestine's most definining features was its museum, the only one on the entire planet. The museum proudly displayed an impressive collection of sand and sandglass sculptures. The main hall of the museum also boasted the only complete, fully mounted and properly displayed krayt dragon skeleton on the entire planet. The museum was curated by a corrupt Imperial official named Lilas Dinhint. In order to encourage the Imperial budget committee to allocate funds for his museum's so-called anti-theft protection, the curator sold a number of artifacts and then claimed they were stolen. He then asked a lackey of his to forcibly retrieve the artifacts from the same individuals he had just given them away to. In doing so, Dinhint was allowed to pocket the profits made from his sales, whilst maintaining the integrity of his museum's collection. Criminal machinations aside, the curator also helped to exhibit a number of paintings from various artists across Tatooine. Once per month, museum visitors were allowed to vote for their favorite painting, and the winner would be featured in the museum. Prints of these winning paintings were subsequently offered by Lilas Dinhint to customers for the sum of 48,000 credits.
The Cheapside Cantina served as the city's main entertainment venue. Originally owned and bartended by an old woman named Binna Jode, the cantina was frequented by such individuals as Phinea Shantee, a Rodian hunter named Qakkee, an Imperial captain named Jevan Monsul, and even the infamous Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk. Elsewhere in Bestine, nearer to the capitol and further to the east, was a smaller tavern. In celebration of the founding of the first colony in Bestine, the Bestine Historic Society would hold the seasonal Arnthout Hunt, a ritual named for the famous pioneer who founded the capital. For the event, the Bestine Historic Society called on participants to take part in a hunting expedition. However, the society was forced to choose a new target to represent the early prey, as the first settlers had already wiped out the original species long ago.
Behind the scenes
- "Did you come in from the south?"
"No… no, we live in the west, near Bestine township."
"Bestine? Let me see your identification."
"You don't need to see his identification. These aren't the droids you're looking for."
- ―Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a stormtrooper
Bestine was first mentioned in the Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization published on November 12, 1976. In the novelization, when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker are stopped by Imperial stormtroopers, Luke mentions that he lives in the west, "near Bestine township." When asked for their identification, Kenobi manages to use the Force to mentally trick the stormtroopers into thinking that R2-D2 and C-3PO were something other than the droids they were looking for. In both the novelization and a deleted Tosche Station scene from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Biggs Darklighter refers to a friend who has a friend "on Bestine" who might help them make contact with the Rebel forces. Because Darklighter says on Bestine, rather than in, he is evidently referring to the planet rather than the city. Bestine received a brief entry in A Guide to the Star Wars Universe in 1984, and its background was later explored in greater detail in subsequent sourcebooks like Galaxy Guide 7: Mos Eisley and the Star Wars Technical Journal of the Planet Tatooine in 1993, and Secrets of Tatooine in 2001.
Bestine's first appearance was in the 2003 video game Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Sony Online Entertainment and published by LucasArts, prior to its closure on December 15, 2011. The city of Bestine was one of the first locations up and running for beta testers of the game. Since beta testing started in July of 2002, the city remained a hub of activity, offering the testers a place to convene and test all of the major game systems. During one beta test session, about three dozen testers engaged in blaster duels in and around Bestine. The Bestine cantina was noted as a particularly attractive location for entertainers testing the game, many of whom gained a bit of fame among the beta community. Some of these players included members of the Barefoot Band, a player-made band which performed barefoot, and Emma Freestar, a player who could almost always be seen dancing in the cantina. Another beta tester, named Nathan "Moraj_Markinnison" Larkins, became well known for a more tragic reason. After losing his life in a car wreck in early October of 2002, the Star Wars Galaxies team placed a Moraj Memorial flag outside Bestine to honor his dedication to the game and the community. The flag marked the location where the beta testers entered the game, and provided an in-universe description which read, "Dedicated by the first settlers of Tatooine - founders of Bestine Township - in memory of brave Captain Moraj." This was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the earliest virtual memorial ever included in an MMORPG, as first noted in an entry of the Guinness World Records 2008: Gamer's Edition.
After the game's launch, Bestine's shuttleport was originally positioned between the city's cantina and bank, but by December 16, 2003, it had been relocated closer to the capitol. Additional changes were made to the city in the "Bestine Redesign" update, which released on February 11, 2004 as part of Publish 6 The Imperial Crackdown. In addition to an increased Imperial presence, another significant modification made to the city during this update was the inclusion of a political election system in which players could vote for either Sean Trenwell or Victor Visalis as the aide to Governor Tour Aryon. Each candidate had their own quest and rewards. The quests were to gather positive evidence that demonstrated why either candidate would do a better job as the governor's right hand man. Players who took these quests were required to find evidence of good deeds by either candidate, and turn it in to the governor in the hopes of getting enough evidence to cause the governor to select their chosen candidate. Each candidate was in power for two full months, and at the end of the election month, the governor would count up the pieces of evidence turned in by the players and select her new aide. Different city events would occur depending on which aide to the governor was in control. Sand People had the potential to raid Bestine, the Imperial presence could increase, and players could have the option to seek out historians for quests to learn more about the genuine history of Bestine. The update also included a new Bestine Museum event, in which players could vote for their favorite painting to be exhibited.
As part of the Galactic Civil War planetary control game, Bestine was designated as an Imperial stronghold which could not be occupied by Rebel forces. However, the developers overhauled the Galactic Civil War system as part of Game Update 15 on January 15, 2010. With the update, Bestine was designated as an invasion city, along with Dearic and Keren. Whichever faction controlled the Bestine planetary region would occupy the city and be designated as the defending force. Every three hours, an invasion of Bestine would be carried out by the opposing faction. This included a thirty minute preparation phase in which defending players would manufacture equipment, scout the city defenses, and entertain troops. The invasion phase lasted another thirty minutes, during which the objective was to defend the city from the enemy. Preventing the enemy from killing the defending general in the center of the city won the conflict for the defenders, while killing the defending general in the center of the city won the city for the attackers. Because the conduct of the sieges depended on the players input, the canonical results of the invasion cannot be definitively determined in the Star Wars Legends continuity. However, this article assumes 100% game completion, and that both factions were successful in invading and occupying the city at various points during the Galactic Civil War. Because Bestine was the Imperial capital by default, and the Star Wars Galaxies™ Galactic Civil War: Forces Under Siege (Game Update 15) news article indicates that the Imperials were still in control of the city, this article assumes that the Rebels were the first faction to kick off the invasion of Bestine.
- Boba Fett: Hunted (Mentioned only)
- Kenobi (Mentioned only)
- Shadow Games
- Drawing the Maps of Peace: The Moisture Farmer's Tale (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization (First mentioned)
- The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Mentioned only)
- Swap Meet: The Jawa's Tale (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (First appearance)
- Star Wars Galaxies: Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed
- Star Wars Galaxies: Rage of the Wookiees
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – Galactic Hunters (Light Side scenario campaign)
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – Agents of Deception (Light Side scenario campaign)
- Sleight of Hand: The Tale of Mara Jade (Mentioned only)
- A New Hope: The Life of Luke Skywalker (Appears in flashback(s))