The destruction of Starlight Beacon, also known as the attack on Starlight, was an attack launched by Eye of the Nihil Marchion Ro upon the Galactic Republic space station Starlight Beacon in 230 BBY. Ro sent three Nihil loyalists, Cale, Leyel, and Werrera, along with seven Nameless creatures which could cut Jedi off from the Force, to infiltrate the station. The aura emitted by the creatures disoriented the Jedi while the three saboteurs worked on disrupting the station's systems, before detonating a bomb which caused the Beacon to fall out of orbit and onto the planet Eiram. The Jedi worked to evacuate as many survivors as possible from the upper and lower halves of the station, which split apart during the descent, but the Nihil's goal of destroying the Republic and Jedi Order's symbol in the Outer Rim Territories was achieved.
After the Attack on Valo, the Galactic Republic began cracking down on the activities of the pirate organization known as the Nihil, as part of Operation: Counterstrike, which caused battles on Cyclor, Galov, and other areas across the galaxy. However, the Nihil had begun to test their new living weapon, the Great Leveler, on the Jedi Order on Grizal and Xais, resulting in the death of Loden Greatstorm and the hospitalization of Force-sensitive bond-twins, Terec and Ceret. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, Marshal Avar Kriss decided to lead a team to hunt down Lourna Dee and her Tempest in No-Space. Jedi Council member, Stellan Gios, warned her the council did not support her and that if she left, her rank of marshal of Starlight Beacon would be revoked. Regardless of the consequences, she decided to go, taking with her fellow Jedi Keeve Trennis, Sskeer, OrbaLin, Goonral Monshi, and Nooranbakarakana. In response to this, Gios was appointed as the new marshal of Starlight Beacon, which soon moved to the planet Eiram to assist the planet in helping the injured and to help rebuild the infrastructure after a massive cyclone disaster on the planet.
Meanwhile, the secret leader of the Nihil, Marchion Ro, began executing his plan to destroy Starlight Beacon, sending three loyal followers, Cale, Werrera, and Leyel, under the disguise of workers, to the space station, in a ship claiming to hold Rathtars, but that really held seven Nameless. When they arrived, the three began to sabotage the station, with the contained Nameless hiding their actions and causing the Jedi to feel disconnected from the force, with Gios himself suffering heavily from insomnia and nightmares. The Jedi of the station developed different ideas as to what was causing the problem, such as the rathtars that had recently arrived, the general stress and fear of the Nihil's attacks, or just being tired of the recent fighting most of them had been involved in. Meanwhile, the three Nihil found former Nihil members Nan and Chancey Yarrow imprisoned on the station and decided to free them to assist them in their mission and to honor of Nan's fallen comrade, Hague.
Ro had also commanded simultaneous attacks on the Echerta system, Aleen, Yeksom, Japeal, and Tais Brabbo, forcing the Republic to spread their forces across the galaxy to respond to the assaults. Starlight also offered refuge and opened their hangar bays to more people so they could repair their ships, receive medical help, and be protected from the Nihil attacks, pushing Starlight to its capacity.
The Destruction of Starlight Beacon
The Nameless attack
Although he was dismissive of the disturbance at first, after talking to Orla Jareni, a Jedi who had just arrived at the station and felt the drainage of the force, thus confirming that the problem was something within the station, Jedi Regald Coll decided to investigate the feeling, tracing it towards the cargo hold. He, along with his fellow Jedi Jareni and Indeera Stokes, split up to investigate the source. Coll moved close to where the Nameless were lurking and was thus killed by the creatures. Stokes also approached the area, and although she survived, a confrontation with the Nameless caused her to pass out into a coma. Stokes was found by Jareni and taken up to the medical tower. Coll's body was also found, but it had been turned in a husk and was reduced to ashes upon being touched. Stokes's damage was so deep, her own Padawan Bell Zettifar couldn't feel her in the force while she laid next to him. While investigating the scene, Jedi Master Elzar Mann realized that he wasn't affected by the Nameless due to himself being distant from the Force.
Arriving to the Eiram system in the cruiser Ataraxia, having captured Lourna Dee and much of her Tempest, Avar Kriss contacted Starlight and got involved in an argument with Stellan Gios about her actions. As this occurred, Ro's agents set their plan in motion, setting off the bombs, cutting off all communications within the station, blocking off the top half of Starlight from the bottom half, locking all hanger bays from opening, unleashing the Nameless upon the Jedi, shutting off the lights in the medical tower, and pushing the station into Eiram's gravitational pull.
Feeling the shockwaves of the explosion, Avar had the Ataraxia board the top half of the station, doing so by cutting a hole into the station with her lightsaber. She discovered dozens of people who were stuck on the station hoping to escape and started to lead them to the Ataraxia. However, herself, Nooranbakarakana, and Keeve Trennis began to be affected by the Nameless, making them believe Sskeer was a monster, with Avar activating her lightsaber in defense of Trennis, whom she thought Sskeer would attack. Sskeer, not being affected by the Nameless due to his disconnect with the Force, attacked the creatures and scared them off, saving Trennis and Kriss, but not before Nooranbakarakana was turned into a husk. Sskeer promised Trennis that they would see each other again, before going on to attack the Nameless himself.
Arriving to the system following their successful mission capturing Kisma Uttersond, Jedi Master Emerick Caphtor and investigator Sian Holt, along with Beesar Tal-Apurna, arrived to a burning Starlight Beacon.
Realizing all communications were failing, Elzar Man, Stellan Gios, and fellow Jedi Nib Assek met and discovered all of the station's lifts were disabled and the maintenance shafts were covered in dangerous levels of radiation. The Jedi in the bottom part of Starlight then met at the quartermaster's office to discuss what their next move was. However, Assek split off from the others to continue to investigate the mysterious creatures. As she inspected the spot where Regald Coll died, Assek suddenly began to feel the air around her growing cold, and saw a shadow across the corridor. She pursued the shadow cautiously, but she began to feel terror for the first time in years, feeling not only the overwhelming darkness of the creature, but also the hunger that it felt. Pilot Leox Gyasi was able to get through Starlight's communications block on his ship, the Vessel, which allowed Gios to contact the Jedi Council and inform them of the situation. However, he learned that by the time any Republic forces with the power to save them could arrive, they would likely already be dead.
Elsewhere in the station, Jedi Master Torban Buck and Jedi Knight Qort, along with several other skilled Jedi, fought off the Nameless in order to protect the younglings and Padawans aboard the station. Qort was able to injure one of the creatures and Buck got some of the monsters' blood on his clothes, but many other Jedi were killed by the Nameless. Adding to the chaos, Nihil prisoners escaped their cells and fight back against the Jedi and attempt to escape the falling station.
Starlight splits in half
Investigating the explosion, an Eiram medical cruiser flew around the medical tower of Starlight to see what was going on. From the tower, Bell Zettifar was able to boost the communication range of an LT-16 droid to communicate with the cruiser. From the cruiser, a scan of the station's damage was given to Zettifar and Burryaga Agaburry, so the Padawans regrouped with the other Jedi stuck on the bottom half of Starlight to form a plan. Zettifar and Agaburry were sent to calm the crowds of people in the docking bay. There, they realized the auxiliary power was weakening, so the two Jedi gathered a team and went to fix it. Elzar Mann went down to the maintenance tube to get more power cells to improve the life support system, when he felt the station beginning to split in half.
On board the Ataraxia, Jedi archivist OrbaLin also noticed the station was breaking apart, but he believed they could still save the station by activating the cruiser's tractor beams to stabilize the superstructure. However, at that moment, Lourna Dee's Tempest broke free of the Ataraxia's cells and moved to take over the ship. Monshi attempted to fight them off and warned OrbaLin of the attack, but Dee still managed to reach the bridge and shot the archivist in the head, killing him in revenge for beating her during the Attack on Valo. Watching the station break apart, Lourna decided to steal the Ataraxia, and made her escape.
On the Vessel, Stellan Gios warned Queen Thandeka of Eiram the situation. Although she grieved for the situation, she cautioned him that the second half of the station would likely fall onto one of their largest cities below, and they may eventually have to blow apart the station in order to save thousands on the ground. He approved, and she assured him that they'd give them as much time as possible to give them a chance to repair, save their half of the station, and save everyone remaining on the station.
As Sian Holt's ship approached the station, Emerick Caphtor began to feel the effects of the Nameless onboard Starlight. Uttersond explained to them that the Nameless, sometimes called the Shrii-ka-rai: Eaters of the Force, caused hallucinations to Force users through unknown means. Seeing the station splitting, Uttersond urged them to get out of the area, but Emerick refused and decided they should board the station to help anyone escape if possible. They crashed their ship into the station, where they ran into Torban Buck and his group of younglings and padawans. Qort guided the padawans onto the ship while Buck explained the situation. Caphtor, Holt, Qort, Uttersond, and Beesar traveled further into the station to learn more about the Nameless and confronted one down a hallway. Feeling the effects of the creature, Caphtor was nearly killed by one of them, but Holt shot the creature and Caphtor sliced a hand off of it. Uttersond threw a grenade at the creature, killing it but attracting the Nihil prisoners to them. The Nihil forced the Jedi group to retreat back to the ship. Buck gave Caphtor his robes, which were covered in the blood of the Nameless from his battles with them, and tan into the station to continue to fight while Caphtor and Holt left the station, having gotten the samples of the Nameless and rescued a group of younger Jedi from certain death.
Meanwhile, Elzar Mann was able to get communications back online on what remained of Starlight. Mann then worked with Logistics droid JJ-5145 to fix the life support system. While walking the halls, Stellan Gios was confronted by one of the Nameless, causing him to be disoriented and greatly weakened. Gios was able to use an airlock to cut himself away from the Nameless, saving himself. Meanwhile, Bell Zettifar was able to stabilize the auxiliary power and he and Burryaga Agaburry went to find Orla Jareni, only to find her corpse, having been killed by the Nameless, along with the corpse of Nib Assek, who had gone looking for Orla. After he and Gios were informed of their deaths, Mann decided to ask for the help of the other non-Force-sensitive people on Starlight to seal off the corridors in order to contain the Nameless on what remained of the station, as they seemed to have no interest nor have any noticeable effect on those who didn't use the Force.
On the ground, Eiram began evacuating their cities, particularly the ones within the coastal regions. Although at first many citizens thought it was impossible for the station to be destroyed, as time went on more and more people saw how dire the situation was becoming and left by the hundreds to move inland.
Meanwhile, Avar Kriss and Keeve Trennis arrived at the hub of Starlight, where they discovered Jedi Master Estala Maru holding the station together with the Force, preventing it from breaking apart in an attempt to give more people a chance to escape. He told them to get off the station, but they refused. While Trennis went to the healing chamber to get the twins, Terec and Ceret out of the station, Kriss assisted Maru in holding the station together, while also activating her Force network to give strength to the other Jedi still fighting aboard the station, including Mann, Buck, Vernestra Rwoh, Gios, Agaburry, Trennis, and Zettifar. Trennis reached the healing chambers, but an explosion made a hole in the wall that began to suck her into space, but she was luckily saved in time by the twins waking up due to Kriss's network and used the Force to hold her. Trennis then rushed them to the escape pods. As the top half of the station entered the atmosphere, it began to burn up, breaking Kriss's network. Maru told Kriss to go, but she refuses to leave without him. Having known she would do this, he had KC-78 push her out into an escape pod, saving her and KC-78, but sacrificing himself as the top half of the station burned up in the atmosphere. Maru's sacrifice could be felt by Mann as he watched the top half of the station separated form the bottom and burst into flames after his death. After the separation, the hub remained together for a short time after, before it, along with everyone inside, became engulfed in flames.
The second half remains
After watching the destruction of the top half of the station, Leox Gyasi's co-pilot Affie Hollow decided to use the Vessel's communications system to hack into Eiram's satellites and send out a wider call for help around the galaxy, hoping someone could arrive to save the day. Although at first some believed the message to be a prank or lies from the Nihil, soon word spread across the galaxy of the situation at Eiram. Within minutes, civilian spacecraft from across the galaxy began racing towards Eiram to offer any aid they could. Some planetary governments that had been attacked by the Nihil in the past sent their flotillas and medical ships to rush to their aid. Even Chancellor Lina Soh urged people across the galaxy to come to the Jedi's aid. As a fleet of mostly civilian craft began to appear in the system, hoping to help in any way they can, Marchion Ro's Gaze Electric arrived hidden in the crowd in order for him to watch the burning of Starlight in person. He also ordered all Nihil forces to refrain from attacking the station any further. Meanwhile on Eiram, Avar Kriss began to give her strength to those who remained on Starlight through her Force song, hoping for the survival of them all.
While sealing off the corridors, Bell Zettifar devised a way to save some of the people on the station, by having them board the ships in the cargo bay and cause an explosion on the cargo doors that would allow those ships to flee. However, during this plan, he accidentally released several rathtars that were on a cargo ship. Activating their lightsabers, Zettifar and Agaburry engaged the creatures. Zettifar killed one by stabbing it through its body, and then someone set off an emergency flare, distracting the creatures enough for them to flee and seal the rathtars in the cargo bay.
Gios ordered Zettifar to return to the medical tower to find a way to evacuate the patients there. Mann came up with a plan to use the retrofitting subsystems to change the configuration of Starlight Beacon so smaller ships could fly inside it. This would allow them to move from the docking bay to the cargo bay so they could leave the station when the Jedi opened the bay via explosive decompression. The reconfiguration would also allow Mann to use a repair pod to travel down to the positional thrusters and mechanically get them working. With the growing tensions, partly caused by one of the civilians on board the station, Koley Linn, a fight broke out within the docking bay. When Gios arrived on the scene, lightsaber in hand, Linn aimed his blaster at a kid and tried to force his reckless plan of escape, but then the Vessel's Navigator Geode jumped between Linn and the kid. Linn fired onto Geode, only for the blaster bolt to be shot back onto Linn, killing him. After explaining the plan to the assembled refugees, Mann lead them through the station and into the cargo bay. As the group arrived, they were attacked by rathtars. He and Agaburry fought them, but were failing due to the effects of the Nameless weakening them. Mann was able to get the cargo doors open, causing explosive decompression and allowing many people to escape the station in their ships, but Burryaga was chased by the rathtars and was believed to have died in the decompression.
As he made his way back to the tower, Zettifar formed a plan, realizing the medical tower could theoretically be separated from the rest of Starlight if he created a large enough explosion that could push the tower out of the station. After getting his plan approved by Gios, Zettifar constructed a crude bomb, and set the bomb at the base of the medical tower, closing every air lock he could on the way back up. He detonated the explosives and the tower blew away from the falling station, and was caught by the Eiram medical cruiser's tractor beam. As the station got farther away, Bell felt his connection to the Force growing stronger yet again.
As the window to destroy the station before it crashed on Eiram's surface got closer, the Eiram government debated on destroying the station, however Queen Dima refused to do so, even as her defense minister argued otherwise. She reminded them that they had known and accepted every risk since the station arrived in the first place, and refused to let the Nihil turn them into murderers.
Mann began to make his way down what was left of the station in a shuttle, passing by a Nameless on the way down. At the bottom of the station, Nan and Chauncey Yarrow were trying to repair the thrusters when Werrera, Cale, and Leyel came and fought to stop them, but the three were killed by the duo. The two women got back to work, and nearly repaired the station in time, but Mann arrived, and assuming they were further sabotaging the ship, sliced Yarrow in half with his lightsaber, killing her. Only then did he realize they had been trying to save the station, all too late as the station fell past the point of saving. Nan ran off while Stellan arrived to the controls.
After the patients on the medical tower were secured, Zettifar got into a shuttle and flew back to Starlight to see if he could help in some way. Getting in contact with Affie Hollow, they worked together to restore and free the escape pods, which he visibly confirmed as safe from his distance before they launched. As the station grew closer to the ground, Leox Gyasi decided to take a risk, since now most of the people aboard the station had already left, leaving only a few behind. He brought out a thermal detonator that was hidden on the Vessel and used it to blow a hole in the doors. From there, he was able to get out and open the doors. However, after doing this, Gyasi himself was pulled out into the atmosphere, although his glider suit was able to save him from his death. With the doors finally opened, the remaining ships were able to escape at last, including Nan, who decided to steal Kaley Linn's ship, the Ace of Staves and escape.
Gios sent Mann back up the station to escape. On his way out, Mann came across an injured Sullustan and helped him to an escape pod. Mann got into another pod and escaped the station alive, landing near an ocean on Eiram. Gios stayed on the station to the end, and knowing he couldn't save the station but could prevent it from destroying the city below, was able to use the thrusters to move the station to fall into the ocean instead. Although he did not survive, Gios prevented potentially hundreds of more deaths as a result of his sacrifice.
Many of the surviving Jedi, including Avar Kriss, Elzar Mann, Bell Zettifar, and others returned to the surface to help survivors of the incident and repair the damages caused by the station's fall, including a desalination plant that was deactivated by the station hitting the ocean.
The destruction of the station caused at least 13 Jedi, from padawans to masters, to be either dead, captured, or missing in the aftermath, including Estala Maru, OrbaLin, Sskeer, Nooranbakarakana, Monshi, Stellan Gios, Orla Jareni, Nib Assek, Regald Coll, Burryaga Agaburry, Torban Buck, Farzala Tarabal, and Lula Talisola. Each of these deaths effected many of their friends in different ways, many of them feeling the chaos and deaths across the galaxy, particularly those close to the people on the station. Avar Kriss and Elzar Mann greatly mourned Gios's death, who they considered to be the polestar of their trio. Gios's death also left his seat on the Jedi council empty. Once before, Zettifar had believed his master dead, only to having to been revealed that he was, in fact, alive, so he went off to search for Agaburry, hoping his friend was still alive. Zeen Mrala felt similarly about her friend, Lula Talisola, who was listed as dead by the Republic, but Zeen did not feel Lula's death in the force and believed she was still alive. Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus had felt the death of his friend Orla Jareni, which became the main inciting factor in his decision to leave the Jedi Order. With the deaths of so many Jedi, along with the reveal of the Nameless and their power over the Jedi and the destructive nature of the Nihil, caused the Jedi council to activate their emergency beacon, recalling every Jedi back to Coruscant and to avoid the outer rim as much as possible.
In the immediate aftermath of Starlight's fall, Marchion Ro extended invitations to all active Nihil members, with the exception of Tempest Runner Lourna Dee, to rendezvous in an unmarked star system where they could celebrate his victory with a grand feast without being disturbed by the Jedi or the Republic. He then broadcast a transmission to the Republic wherein he revealed himself as the true Eye of the Nihil and claimed responsibility for orchestrating the Nihil conflict and the destruction of Starlight Beacon.
Behind the scenes
In an interview with Syfy Wire, Gray stated that the destruction of Starlight Beacon had been planned from the beginning as the grand finale of Phase I of the High Republic multimedia project. She also revealed that the decision to break the space station in half during its destruction came about because both her novel and the final issues of the 2021 Marvel Comics High Republic comic series written by Cavan Scott were slated to involve the event, and Gray and Scott wished to avoid repetition between their respective works. The Fallen Star focuses on the ordeal of survivors trapped inside the bottom half of the space station.
- Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance, Vol. 2 (Appears in hologram)
- The High Republic: Midnight Horizon (Appears on screen) (First identified as attack on Starlight, simultaneous with The High Republic: Midnight Horizon audiobook)
- The High Republic: Midnight Horizon audiobook (Appears on screen)
- The High Republic: The Fallen Star (First appearance, simultaneous with The High Republic: The Fallen Star audiobook)
- The High Republic: The Fallen Star audiobook
- The High Republic: The Battle for Starlight
- The High Republic (2021) 14
- The High Republic (2021) 15
- The High Republic: Trail of Shadows 4
- The High Republic: Trail of Shadows 5
- The High Republic: Eye of the Storm 2 (Appears in hologram)
Notes and references
- The High Republic: The Fallen Star
- The High Republic (2021) 13
- The High Republic: Eye of the Storm 2
- The High Republic: Trail of Shadows 5
- The High Republic (2021) 15
- The High Republic: The Rising Storm
- The High Republic: Tempest Runner
- The High Republic (2021) 12
- The High Republic (2021) 14
- The High Republic: Trail of Shadows 4
- The High Republic: Midnight Horizon
- Silliman, Brian: 'Star Wars' Author Claudia Gray on Writing the Next Epic 'High Republic' Chapter (January 18, 2022) published by Syfy Wire on www.syfy.com (archived from the original)