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Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.

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"Excuse me. Chewbacca respectfully wishes to request that the New Republic Council consider an expedition to Maw Installation, both as a rescue party and as an occupation force for the installation."

Maw Installation was an Imperial research center established by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin for the creation of superweapons. It was built from asteroids in the midst of the Maw Cluster, a virtually unnavigable cluster of black holes. Several battles have taken place on the research base. After its destruction, the Maw colony was set up under Natasi Daala, and the facility's ruins were repurposed as a New Jedi Order base named Shelter.

Black holes[]

The Maw was originally created by the Thuruht as a prison for the dark-side entity Abeloth.

There were few safe routes into the Maw; some were known by Admiral Daala and her fleet, but Kyp Durron was able to use the Force to find a route in.[source?]

One of these black holes swallowed the Sun Crusher, as Durron piloted it into its gravity well, yet escaped himself.[source?]

Numerous experiments were done to produce revolutionary new sources of technology while under Imperial rule. Some members of the "think tank" were unaware of the military role of the projects; many believed that the developments would be used for strictly scientific purposes. For example, the Ionic Ring Ship was developed as a terraforming tool, while the World Devastators were intended to mine asteroids; instead, these projects became some of the most destructive weapons known in the galaxy. Even some scientists working on the Death Star believed that the superlaser was designed to destroy dead or uninhabited worlds and harvest the minerals at the core of those planets.[source?]


Maw Installation layout

Maw Installation layout


"I am Admiral Daala, in charge of the fleet guarding Maw Installation."
―Nataasi Daala[2]

Following the Declaration of a New Order, one of the leading architects of the Galactic Empire was Wilhuff Tarkin. He proved to be a powerful figure within Emperor Palpatine's court, which eventually led to him being promoted to the position of Grand Moff. This, combined with being placed in charge of the Death Star project, gave Tarkin enough power and authority to bring about the culmination of many of his goals.[3] In accordance with his Tarkin Doctrine, he had sent a communiqué to the Emperor informing him of his strategy on keeping the subjects of the Empire under control. By using the threat of force, he intended to keep the planetary systems in line using powerful superweapons to induce fear amongst the populace. Grand Moff Tarkin further explained that only a few such weapons and a rare demonstration were all that would be required in order to cow the people into obedience.[2] Thus, Tarkin embarked on creating a top-secret weapons research facility to develop such superweapons. The sheer secrecy of the project meant that only Grand Moff Tarkin and Palpatine knew of the facility's existence, and also of the budget that funded it.[4]

One of the Grand Moff's first acts was the establishment of a team of scientists who would be on the project to develop innovative weaponry. This led to Tarkin establishing orbital stations around the Outer Rim world of Omwat and abducting the native Omwati children. By placing them in forced-education programs, he intended to create highly intelligent scientists from their ranks. To ensure progress, he terrorized the Omwati children by targeting Omwati settlements from orbit and destroying them if there was any failure. Ultimately, of the ten Omwati, only Qwi Xux proved to be a success, and he quickly took her as part of the team that would staff the Maw Installation.[2] Other notable scientists included Bevel Lemelisk, who was responsible for the creation of the Death Star I, and Renn Volz, who was tricked into creating wondrous pieces of technology that the Empire later used against innocent beings.[4]

While the scientists were assembled, Grand Moff Tarkin also authorized the creation of the research facility itself. The site was the Maw Cluster, which proved to be a hazardous location and thus an ideal hiding spot for the installation. After gathering a number of asteroids, a number of habitat modules and laboratories were established on the structure's surface that would house the scientists. Finally, partly to hide his lover and to add a defensive force to the Maw Installation, Tarkin gave Natasi Daala the rank of Admiral as well as four Star Destroyers to command, with her mission being the defense of the facility. Shortly after the construction of the Maw Installation was complete, the architects and engineers were about to return to their homes outside the Maw Cluster. However, in order to secure the secrecy of the facility, Admiral Daala sabotaged the navicomputers on their transports, which plunged into the black holes of the cluster and destroyed any witnesses to the construction of the base. Furthermore, before engaging in a communication blackout from the rest of the Galactic Empire, a number of Wookiee slaves were transported to the Maw Installation, where they served as a slave labor force.[2]

Since that time, the Installation was protected by Admiral Daala's defense fleet, which consisted of four Star Destroyers: Gorgon, Hydra, Basilisk, and Manticore.[2]

Secret think tank[]

"Chewbacca wishes to remind this auspicious gathering that not only is Maw Installation the home of numerous highly intelligent Imperial scientists, but it is also a prison for some number of Wookiee captives who have been held for nearly a decade."

To keep his pet project out of political games or intrigue, Tarkin ensured the complete secrecy of the installation.[3] Once established, the think tank known as the Maw Installation began its work and maintained only sporadic contact with Tarkin himself.[2] The secrecy of the base was to such an extent that both Grand Moff Tarkin and Admiral Daala believed that even Emperor Palpatine was unaware of the existence of the facility. During these years, Bevel Lemelisk created the Death Star design and showed its effectiveness to Grand Moff Tarkin. Upon seeing the weapon, Tarkin took Lemelisk to the Horuz system with the intention of using it to create the battle station.[3] While this was happening, a Death Star prototype had been constructed to test the design, and it remained within the vicinity of the Maw Installation.[2] In addition to the Death Star, other powerful weapons were designed by the project's scientists, including such dangerous superweapons as the World Devastators, Sun Crusher, Ionic Ring Ship, Metal-Crystal Phase Shifter and the orbital nightcloak.

For over a decade, members of the Rebel Alliance had heard reports of a secret Imperial weapon research facility and had dispatched agents to uncover the location of the base. However, they never discovered the name of the installation nor its whereabouts. It remained hidden during the years of the Galactic Civil War.[4] The existence of the Maw Installation was finally uncovered over six years after the Battle of Endor, when Han Solo and Kyp Durron, fleeing nearby Kessel, found themselves inside the cluster.[2] The installation was left undefended for a time, as Daala went on a brief guerrilla assault on the New Republic.[1] It was later destroyed in a self-destruct, but not before Daala returned and recovered all the new weapons concepts from the main computer.


By the time of the Yuuzhan Vong War, Lando Calrissian had the remnants of the Maw Installation brought together in order to create the Shelter, a Jedi facility that was part of the Great River project which was spearheaded by Grand Master Luke Skywalker of the New Jedi Order.


Notable personnel[]

Maw crew

Sun Crusher project team

Behind the scenes[]

Kevin J. Anderson, the author of the Jedi Academy trilogy, worked as a technical editor and writer at the large government research lab Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which has many similarities to the Maw installation. Anderson insists jokingly in the "About the Authors" pages of the Jedi Academy books that, despite the similarities, that LLNL has nothing to do with the creation of the Maw Installation.[5]

Anderson later indicated in an interview with AlternativeNation.net that the installation had, in fact, been heavily inspired by his time at the lab, with Tol Sivron's prioritizing of following protocol, even in the wake of a New Republic attack, specifically stemming from the lab's awkward earthquake protocol.[5]


Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

External links[]

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