- "All right boys, let's peel open this ship like a can o' nerf gizzards!"
The Lightside Explorer was the personal Vaya-class scout ship of Jedi Knight Andur Sunrider in the years leading up to the Great Sith War. Having bought the ship from a Vultan starship dealer sometime before 3999 BBY, Sunrider used the ship for Jedi business across the galaxy. In 3999 BBY, he and his family, along with their droid, A-3DO, went on a journey to deliver a shipment of valuable Adegan crystals to the reclusive Tchuukthai Jedi Master Thon. However, Sunrider was killed by a group of thugs who were seeking the crystals, forcing his wife, Nomi Sunrider, to take possession of the Lightside Explorer and complete the delivery. Nomi eventually landed the ship on the desolate planet of Ambria, where Thon resided, and delivered the crystals. However, the thugs were still in pursuit and attacked the Lightside Explorer in the mistaken belief that the crystals were still aboard. When they came up empty-handed, they launched a strike on Thon's compound, but the Jedi Master fought them off.
- "I was right about the hyperdrive! It was a burned-out ion exciter! Once it's replaced, the Lightside Explorer will be ready to depart!"
"Thanks, Threedee. There's a spare in the tool crib."
- ―A-3DO and Andur Sunrider
A gray-colored, triangular vessel, the Lightside Explorer was a Vaya-class scout ship manufactured by Hoersch-Kessel Drive, Inc. Although not built for prolonged combat engagement, the Lightside Explorer boasted both a laser cannon and a concussion projectile launcher, and made an excellent exploratory and scout vessel. The Lightside Explorer was not modified or altered in any way by its owner, Jedi Knight Andur Sunrider, who lacked the finer skills of starship modification. The ship was propelled by six ion engines and was thirty meters long. The Lightside Explorer needed only one pilot but had room for two gunners, along with four passengers. It also had the capacity to carry sixty tons of cargo and could store enough consumables to last the crew one standard month. The cockpit of the ship was located at the very front, with controls and a viewport placed directly before the pilot and co-pilot's chairs. The Lightside Explorer contained a tool crib, where devices such as spare ion exciters were kept. This was important to the Lightside Explorer, as the hyperdrive was susceptible to having its ion exciter burn out in situations involving high magnetic energy.
Death of Andur Sunrider
- "Go to Master Thon… take my gift to him. He will show you the direction your life must take."
- ―Andur Sunrider's Force ghost, to Nomi Sunrider
The Lightside Explorer was manufactured by Hoersch-Kessel Drive, Inc. sometime before 3999 BBY and eventually fell into the hands of a Vultan starship dealer on the planet Nak Shimor. At some point, the Vultan sold the Lightside Explorer to Andur Sunrider, a Jedi Knight. Sunrider, who had a wife, Nomi, and an infant daughter, Vima, was often forced to leave them when he was called away for Jedi business. However, he always returned in the Lightside Explorer when his work was done. In 3999 BBY, Sunrider, along with Nomi, Vima, and their personal protocol droid, A-3DO, set out on a long journey in the Lightside Explorer to the galactic frontier to visit with the Watchman of the Stenness system, the Tchuukthai Jedi Master Thon. Sunrider wanted to meet with Thon to deliver to him a shipment of Adegan crystals, valuable gems that could help make very powerful lightsabers. While making the trip, the Lightside Explorer traveled through a magnetic storm, damaging the hyperdrive's ion exciter and forcing the Sunriders to land on an outcropping on a rocky planet to assess the damage. A-3DO quickly diagnosed the problem and replaced the damaged ion exciter with a spare. With the hyperdrive operational, the Lightside Explorer sped away from the planet, soon reaching a nearby hyperspace beacon and leaping into hyperspace.
The Lightside Explorer came out of hyperspace at the Stenness Hyperspace Terminal space station, located near the Stenness system. Andur Sunrider parked the Lightside Explorer in one of the Terminal's docking bays, hoping to take a break and get some food while the ship went through customs, although the arrival of the Lightside Explorer had attracted some unwanted attention. Local crime lord Bogga the Hutt, leader of a gang of enforcers and thugs, had discovered the existence of the Adegan crystals and dispatched three of his henchmen to steal them. The thugs accosted Sunrider, and after a brief struggle Sunrider was killed. Sunrider's Force ghost then appeared to Nomi, and the deceased Jedi guided his widow to take up his lightsaber and fight off the enforcers. In his final message to his wife, the ghost of Andur Sunrider asked her to take the controls of the Lightside Explorer and deliver the crystals to Thon, who, Sunrider promised, would show Nomi the direction her life must take.
- "Threedee…if something happens… if we don't come back…take the ship…return to our homeworld…tell them what happened."
- ―Nomi Sunrider, to A-3DO
Nomi Sunrider then left the Stenness Hyperspace Terminal in the Lightside Explorer, using only her abilities with the Force to guide her to Thon. Although the ship's navigation computer, communicating through A-3DO, was nervous and wanted to know their exact destination, Sunrider responded that she trusted in the Force and that there would be no need to worry. Eventually, Sunrider brought the Lightside Explorer out of hyperspace at the desolate Stenness Node planet of Ambria. Landing the ship on Ambria's rocky surface, Sunrider commented that she was totally sure that this planet would be where she would find Thon. She took baby Vima along with her on her trek through the desert, while A-3DO stayed behind in the Lightside Explorer, as his mechanical joints would seize up if he ventured into the dry wastes of Ambria. While Sunrider was out on her search for Thon, A-3DO and the Lightside Explorer received some unexpected visitors: a team of Bogga's men, led by Gudb, broke into the ship and ransacked it, looking for the Adegan crystals. Armed with blasters, the thugs shot one of A-3DO's arms off in the commotion, although they failed to find the crystals, which were on Sunrider's person. The enforcers left the Lightside Explorer behind and journeyed farther into the wastes, eventually coming across Thon's compound, where Sunrider had gone with the crystals. However, Thon fought them off and forced them to flee.
After the attack on the Lightside Explorer, the ship was visited by one of Thon's Jedi trainees, the Vultan Oss Wilum. Wilum removed the damaged A-3DO and brought him to Thon's compound, where he repaired the droid. The Lightside Explorer was then moved closer to Thon's compound, where Sunrider was undergoing Jedi training. One day, Nomi and Vima went out for training with Thon; A-3DO opted to stay behind and spent his time repairing the Lightside Explorer's hatchway, which had been damaged in the attack by Bogga's enforcers. Before she left, Sunrider told A-3DO that he should take the Lightside Explorer and go to Andur's former Jedi Master, Chamma, and tell him everything that had happened, should they fail to return. Eventually, Bogga's men returned for another attempt at stealing the Adegan crystals. Sunrider and Thon, who had just returned from their excursion, came back to their compound to find it bombed and surrounded by the thugs. Although A-3DO had completely repaired the Lightside Explorer's hatch, Sunrider and the droid could not reach the ship, as the enforcers were in their way. Meanwhile, Thon refused to fight back, and he was taken prisoner by the thugs; instead, Sunrider used the Force power battle meditation to turn the invaders against each other. While the thugs fought, Sunrider attacked with a lightsaber, killing many of them. She and Thon then teamed up to take on the rest, and the ones who were not killed in the ensuing battle fled.
Commanders and crew
The captain and owner of the Lightside Explorer was Jedi Knight Andur Sunrider, who bought the ship from a Vultan starship dealer some time before 3999 BBY. Sunrider also piloted the ship, with his personal protocol/service droid A-3DO often serving as his co-pilot. Sunrider often took risks while flying the Lightside Explorer, including flying it through a magnetic storm, much to the chagrin of his droid companion. After the death of Andur, his wife, Nomi, took over as the pilot and owner of the ship.
Behind the scenes
The Lightside Explorer first appears in Tales of the Jedi: The Saga of Nomi Sunrider, the second story arc of the Tales of the Jedi comic book series, written by Tom Veitch and released over late 1993–early 1994. The ship appears in all three of the arc's issues, as the vehicle of the story's protagonist, Nomi Sunrider. In these appearances the Lighside Explorer is illustrated by Janine Johnston and later David Roach. The ship also appears in the Tales of the Jedi audio adaptation, which includes the events of The Saga of Nomi Sunrider. Further information on the ship is given in the Tales of the Jedi Companion reference book, released in 1996.
- "Straight from the Horse's Mouth: A Guide to the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi Universe, Part 2" – Star Wars Insider 27
- Tales of the Jedi Companion
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia