- "What makes these little trees so special that you two Rebels would try to bluff your way in here to steal them?"
"These are all that remain of the tree that grew at the heart of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant."
- ―Commandant Hurron and Luke Skywalker
In 4 ABY, three months after the Battle of Endor, Commander Luke Skywalker and Lieutenant Shara Bey of the Alliance to Restore the Republic undertook a mission to the planet Vetine in order to infiltrate an Imperial base. Their objective was to retrieve the last remaining fragments of the Great Tree that once dwelled at the heart of the Jedi Temple, before Darth Sidious declared himself Emperor and converted the Jedi Temple into the Imperial Palace.
The pair, along with the astromech droid R2-D2, arrived on Vetine and had Bey claim that she was Commander Alecia Beck of the Imperial Security Bureau. Under the pretense that "Beck" was performing a surprise inspection of the base, they gained access and were briefly given a tour by the base's commander, Commandant Hurron. The commandant, however, knew that Bey was not Commander Beck and lured them into a trap in the research laboratory containing the tree fragments. Skywalker and Bey fought their way out of the base after successfully retrieving the tree, and their escape resulted in the deaths of Commandant Hurron and several stormtroopers. After the mission, Skywalker took one of the trees for himself and gifted the second to Bey and her husband, Kes Dameron, and they planted it outside their new home on Yavin 4 after ending their service in the Rebel Alliance.
- "We obtained Commander Beck's clearances during the raid at the Wretch of Tayron."
- ―Luke Skywalker
During the Galactic Civil War, twenty days after the Battle of Endor of 4 ABY, the Rebel Alliance Special Forces team known as the Pathfinders launched a raid on an Imperial Security Bureau black site at the Wretch of Tayron in the Outer Rim Territories. The successful raid allowed the rebel protocol droid C-3PO to breach through Imperial encryption codes and gain access to the ISB's computer network in the base. In doing so, the Rebel Alliance gained valuable information about Imperial activities, including Operation: Cinder—an Imperial campaign designed to render countless worlds uninhabitable in the wake of the Emperor's death. Also among the information was clearance codes belonging to Commander Alecia Beck, an operative in the Imperial Security Bureau.
- "And why exactly are we doing this?"
"Because in the lab at the heart of that base is something the Emperor stole a long time ago. We're taking it back."
- ―Shara Bey and Luke Skywalker
Three months after the Battle of Endor, in 4 ABY, Commander Luke Skywalker, a Jedi Knight who served the Rebel Alliance, planned a mission to the planet Vetine in order to retrieve the remnants of the Great Tree that had once dwelled in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. The ancient tree, which lived in a courtyard within the temple, was removed when Darth Sidious declared himself Emperor and transformed the Jedi Temple into the Imperial Palace. Its only surviving fragments remained in a research laboratory within an Imperial base on Vetine, and only the Emperor himself and the base's commander, Commandant Hurron, had access to the laboratory. Skywalker opted to use a stolen Imperial shuttle, the Antarra, for the mission and recruited Lieutenant Shara Bey of Green Squadron to fly as his co-pilot. Also on the mission was Skywalker's astromech droid, R2-D2.
While en route to Vetine, Skywalker provided Bey with an Imperial officer's uniform and explained that she would be posing as Commander Beck and using the clearance codes stolen from the Wretch of Tayron. He also explained that the mission was to retrieve something the Emperor had stolen, but Skywalker did not explain what he was hoping to retrieve. The Antarra soon arrived and transmitted its clearance codes, giving it safe passage to land outside the base. Bey posed as Commander Beck while Skywalker posed as her bodyguard, and they were greeted by Commandant Hurron. Bey claimed she, as Beck, was there to perform a surprise inspection of the base. Hurron feigned ignorance, as he knew that Bey was not Beck—unlike Bey, Beck was missing her left eye—and proceeded to escort Bey, Skywalker, and R2-D2 into the facility.
Inside the facility, Hurron explained that security at the laboratories had become tighter since the Battle of Endor, with the base more restricted than it was before. He further explained that the laboratory containing the remnants of the tree was accessible by only himself and the late Emperor, revealing that he had never understood the need for such a restriction—until Bey's arrival, admitting he knew she was not Commander Beck. Inside the laboratory, where Skywalker discovered that there were two remaining fragments, Hurron's stormtroopers took aim at the two rebels, and he asked why two rebels would want to break into the laboratory to steal "twigs." Skywalker revealed to him that they were once a part of the tree located at the heart of the Jedi Temple, and the Jedi Knight used the Force to send Hurron and the stormtroopers flying backward. R2-D2, who had been secretly holding Skywalker's lightsaber, released the weapon, and Skywalker held off the Imperial forces while Bey and the astromech went to retrieve the tree fragments. The droid released the containment field holding the trees in place, and Bey caught them before they could hit the ground.
The Rebels fought their way out of the laboratory and back into the halls, where they were confronted by stormtroopers firing a blaster cannon at them. Skywalker cut through the cannon with his blade and eliminated the stormtroopers, allowing the rebels to make their way back onto the landing pad where the Antarra had landed. Once outside, Hurron ordered his forces to stop firing at Skywalker, as the Jedi Knight was simply deflecting their shots with his lightsaber, and to instead throw a trio of thermal detonators at them. Skywalker used the Force to throw them back at the Imperials, engulfing Hurron and his stormtroopers in a massive explosion. With their opposition dead, the rebels boarded the Antarra and left Vetine.
- "I only bring it up because I didn't think there'd be two trees. One of them is spoken for, obviously, but I'd like it if the other found a good home...."
- ―Luke Skywalker gifts the second tree to Shara Bey
After their mission to Vetine, Bey chose to end her service to the Rebel Alliance; her husband, Sergeant Kes Dameron, had already ended his service, and Bey wanted to spend more time with him and their son, Poe. While Skywalker took one of the tree fragments for himself, he gifted the second, which he had not expected to find, to Bey and her family, as he wanted to ensure that it had a proper home. Bey and her family settled in a colony on Yavin 4, where she and Dameron planted the tree outside of their Dameron homestead.
Behind the scenes
The mission to Vetine first appeared in the 2015 Marvel comic book Shattered Empire 4, written by Greg Rucka with art by Marco Checchetto. As the objective of the mission, Rucka chose to use the Jedi Temple tree, which was previously shown in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, as he wanted Luke Skywalker to pursue a Jedi object that was not "just another holocron."
- Shattered Empire 4 (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 76 (Databank A-Z: Xev Xrexus–Yavin 4) (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 95 (Droid Directory: R2-D2 Astromech, Part 16)
- "R2-D2" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Luke Skywalker" – Star Wars Encyclopedia (First identified as Mission to Vetine)
Notes and references
- The events of the Shattered Empire 4, including the mission to Vetine, take place after the events of Shattered Empire 3, which include the Battle of Theed and the raid at the Wretch of Tayron.
- Shattered Empire 4
- Shattered Empire 4 establishes that the mission to Vetine took place during the Galactic Civil War, which ended with the Battle of Jakku, according to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary; therefore, the mission to Vetine must have taken place before the Battle of Jakku.
- Shattered Empire 4 states that the mission to Vetine occured three months after the Battle of Endor, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 4 ABY. Additionally, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary states that the New Republic was officially founded from the Rebel Alliance one year after the Battle of Endor, and twenty-nine years before the Starkiller Incident, which Galactic Atlas dates to 34 ABY, thereby placing the formation of the New Republic from the Rebel Alliance in 5 ABY. Since the Alliance participated in the mission to Vetine in Shattered Empire 4, the time of 3 months after the Battle of Endor—including the mission to Vetine—must have also taken place in 4 ABY.
- Shattered Empire 3
- Shattered Empire 3 establishes that the raid at the Wretch of Tayron occured concurrently to the Battle of Theed, which took place twenty days after the Battle of Endor, according to Shattered Empire 2.
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Forces of Destiny: Daring Adventures: Volume 2
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Wrong Jedi"
- (In response to: "Hey @ruckawriter @cracksh0t - awesome job on Shattered Empire! Quick q- is the tree from #4 the one from the Temple courtyard in Clone Wars?")