- "Gentlemen, it appears the son of Drol lives."
- ―Jaybo Hood, to Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi
A mission to the Thicket took place around 21 BBY during the Clone Wars. After helping to liberate the Hutt prisoner Ziro Desilijic Tiure from Republic custody on Coruscant, the sentinel droid-turned-bounty hunter HELIOS-3D became based in the Thicket, a patch of space over Iego that housed the remains of a previously destroyed Separatist laser system. As the assassin droid's amassing army of battle droids began to cause disturbances, the Jedi Order received a request for help, and Jedi Generals Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi arrived on Iego to investigate the strange happenings.
Meeting with Cliffhold resident Jaybo Hood, the Jedi sent a probe droid into the Thicket. However, the recon droid was reprogrammed by HELIOS-3D and collided with the clone pilot Torrent Four, killing the pilot and sparking an aerial skirmish between Republic fighters and HELIOS-3D's droid forces. The sentinel droid was defeated, and the Jedi searched the droid hunter's disabled frigate before departing. However, HELIOS-3D himself was able to secretly transfer his consciousness into a B1-Series battle droid.
- "Anyway, it's this patch here. Spacers call it the 'Thicket.' If the Separatists have returned—"
"There's no intelligence reports to suggest that they're anywhere near this system."
"What if someone else has moved in?"
- ―Jaybo Hood, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker
Around 21 BBY during the Clone Wars, the bounty hunter Cad Bane formed a team of hunters to free Hutt crime lord Ziro Desilijic Tiure—who had been previously arrested for crimes against the Galactic Republic—from the Republic Judiciary Central Detention Center on the galactic capital of Coruscant. The hunters' mission was successful, and Bane and his team escaped with Ziro. Shortly thereafter, Bane transmitted the monetary reward for the mission into the accounts of his comrades and then ordered the mercenaries to flee and hide from the Republic. One member of the team, the IG-86 sentinel droid HELIOS-3D, became based in the space over the planet Iego and began to form a renegade army of battle droids for his own uses.
Named the "Thicket," the patch of space in which HELIOS-3D housed his forces was laden with asteroids and the remains of a Separatist LaserWeb Defense Station—once thought to be the workings of Iego's mythical god, "Drol"—that had been destroyed earlier in the war by Jedi General Anakin Skywalker and High Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi. As HELIOS-3D caused disturbances in the space over the planet, the Jedi Order received a request for help. With the elusive Cad Bane thwarting the Order's attempts to locate him, Jedi Master Yoda assigned Skywalker and Kenobi to investigate the distress call. Meeting with the young Cliffhold resident Jaybo Hood—who had assisted them in destroying the Separatist laser field—in the Cliffhold spaceport city, the Jedi were informed of the unusual activity in the Thicket and set out with Hood to find the source of the disturbances.
- "This is Torrent Four. No bogeys spotted. Wait. Something at six-point five, moving fast."
- ―Clone pilot Torrent Four, shortly before being hit by the Republic probe droid
Approaching the asteroids of the Thicket in a Venator-class Star Destroyer, Skywalker and Kenobi launched a shuttle-mounted probe droid to survey the area ahead. Learning from Hood that several automated drones sent into the Thicket earlier had stopped transmitting, Kenobi ordered Clone Commander CC-2224, nicknamed "Cody," to dispatch manned vessels to monitor the recon droid at a closer range. A pair of V-19 Torrent starfighters trailed the droid, but the automated scout unexpectedly crashed into clone pilot Torrent Four, eliminating both the pilot and the probe.
Enemy Vulture droids advanced toward the Republic's fighters and engaged them in combat. Another pilot was lured into the remnants of the Separatist LaserWeb Station and was killed when he flew into a laser. HELIOS-3D sent more Vulture droid starfighters alongside B2 super battle droids, Hyena-class bombers, and Rogue-class starfighters to fight the Republic detachment, but a single V-19 Torrent fighter was able to maneuver through the Thicket's asteroids toward the droid force. Engaging the enemy fighters, asteroid-based artillery, and several active "laser rocks," the pilot defeated HELIOS-3D's forces.
- "Come on, Skywalker. This thing is just scrap. It's dead… I mean, that's the last of it… isn't it?"
- ―Jaybo Hood, on the disabled HELIOS-3D
Finding HELIOS-3D's disabled Munificent-class frigate, Commander Cody was able to reactivate the vessel's life support through generators. Skywalker, Kenobi, and Hood boarded the ship and discovered a disabled HELIOS-3D, and Skywalker salvaged the sentinel droid's cranial unit for further study before departing the frigate in the freighter Twilight. Unbeknownst to the Republic, however, HELIOS-3D had transferred his consciousness into a B1-Series battle droid elsewhere amongst the asteroids.
Behind the scenes
The mission to the Thicket was the subject of the 2009 Hunting the Hunters (Part III), an issue of the The Clone Wars online comic series that transitioned between the first and second seasons of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series.
Notes and references
- The Clone Wars: Hunting the Hunters (Part II)
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- The Clone Wars: Hunting the Hunters (Part III)
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- Droids Over Iego
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Incredible Vehicles
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Hostage Crisis"
- The Clone Wars: Hunting the Hunters (Part I)