- "Yesterday, an Alliance surveillance craft was shot down by an Imperial vessel over an unexplored world, NCW-781."
- ―Rebel base commander
NCW-781 was an unexplored Wild Space planet. A terrestrial world, its surface featured mountains, canyons, and woods. During the Galactic Civil War, the Rebel Alliance operative Kala Kevv was shot down over NCW-781, where he crash-landed while carrying a data plaque with information vital to the Alliance.
The Galactic Empire dispatched a force to the planet to locate the Rebel agent, and the Alliance sent a team of Special Forces Infiltrators to recover and extract Kevv and the data plaque. Arriving at NCW-781 aboard the light freighter Bravado, the team descended to the planet's surface on combat paragliders and then glided through a canyon in order to approach Kevv's crash site undetected by the Imperials.
Passing by a storm commando patrol in the woods, the Infiltrators reached the crash site, from where a set of coordinates left by Kevv led the team to his hiding place. After recovering the operative and the data plaque, the Rebels proceeded to their designated extraction point, where they had to fight off an Imperial force, including a Floating Fortress repulsorcraft, before they were extracted by the Bravado.
- "Prodigal One has likely abandoned the crash site, and has holed up in the nearby canyons."
- ―Rebel base commander
NCW-781 was a Wild Space planet located in the NCW-781 system. It was orbited by at least one moon, with several relatively large astronomical objects visible in the planet's night skies. The surface of the terrestrial NCW-781 featured a range of mountains and an adjacent system of canyons. Between the two lay an area covered by woods, populated by trees and smaller plants. The mountain range was also the site of a cluster of caves.
An agent shot down
- "Your mission is to locate Prodigal One and recover him and the data plaque. After recovering the targets, proceed to the extraction site we've selected."
- ―Rebel base commander, to the "Shadowstrike" team
At some point during the Galactic Civil War between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance, an Imperial starship shot down an Alliance surveillance Y-wing starfighter piloted by the Sullustan Rebel operative Kala Kevv, who was carrying a data plaque containing the identities of Imperial double agents. The confrontation took place over NCW-781, which at the time remained unexplored. Kevv's starfighter subsequently crashed on the planet's surface, and the Rebel agent sent out a distress call.
Shortly thereafter, an Imperial Strike-class cruiser dispatched a ground force to the planet in order to find Kevv. The force included the NightWhispers unit of Imperial storm commandos, CompForce Assault troopers, a Floating Fortress repulsorcraft, and a flight of TIE bombers used for surveillance. Not long after receiving Kevv's distress signal, the Rebel Alliance sent a probe droid to perform a reconnaissance fly-by of NCW-781, which allowed the Rebels to pinpoint the location of Kevv's crash site as well as learn of the presence of the Imperial forces.
Infiltrators on NCW-781
- "Get ready to hop out, team. We're about to enter the atmosphere."
- ―The pilot of the Bravado, to the "Shadowstrike" team
Subsequently, the commander of a Rebel base sent a team of Special Forces Infiltrators to locate Kevv, code-named "Prodigal-One," and recover and extract both him and the data plaque he was carrying, designated "Prodigal-Two." Given a limited time window to complete its mission, the Infiltrator team was transported to NCW-781 aboard the light freighter Bravado, which, before settling into the planet's orbit, performed a high-atmospheric pass.
While the freighter was passing through a cloud bank at an altitude of roughly 6,000 meters, the "Shadowstrike" team exited its transport while equipped with combat paragliders. The Rebels descended to NCW-781's surface and glided along Approach Route Alpha, a path through a canyon that would allow the team to reach Kevv's crash site undetected by Imperial surveillance. Ending the canyon run at a point designated Target Bantha, the team then collected its equipment that had been air-dropped.
Extraction of Prodigal-One
- "You've got a problem, team. There's something pretty substantial moving your way. Do you want to abort and proceed to Target Yavin or are we going for it? It's your call."
- ―The Bravado pilot, to the "Shadowstrike" team
Continuing their trek on foot, the Infiltrators encountered an Imperial storm commando patrol but remained undetected in the darkness of the night. The Rebels then reached Target Dewback, Kevv's crash site, where they discovered that the agent had left encrypted coordinates at the wreck of his starfighter that led to his hiding place. The injured Sullustan had retreated to a cave in the foothills of the nearby mountains and had evaded storm commandos for hours.
The Infiltrators recovered Kevv and his data plaque but were spotted by Imperial forces and also notified by the pilot of the Bravado of the unexpected arrival of the Imperial Star Destroyer Rampage in the star system. The Rebels proceeded expeditiously to their extraction area, codenamed Target Tallon. Reaching their destination, the team signaled the Bravado but then discovered that the Imperial Floating Fortress, accompanied by storm commandos and CompForce Assault troopers, was approaching their location. The Rebels fended off the Imperial force until the arrival of the Bravado, which, under the cover of its quad laser cannons, extracted both the Infiltrators and Kevv.
- "As a result of the probe fly-by, we have identified three items of concern for this mission: the location of the crashed Y-wing, the presence of at least one unit of Imperial Storm Commandoes [sic], and the location of the Imperial's [sic] staging area…fifteen kilometers from the Y-wing crash site."
- ―Rebel base commander
The Rebel agent Kala Kevv crash-landed his Y-wing starfighter near a wooded area of NCW-781, at a point subsequently codenamed "Target Dewback" by the Rebel Alliance. Kevv then retreated to a cave in the mountains to the north-east of the crash site. Subsequently, the Galactic Empire forces established a staging area fifteen kilometers to the south of Target Dewback. When planning the mission to recover Kevv, the Alliance designated two extraction points, Target Tallon and Target Yavin, both located to the north of Kevv's crash site, as well as Approach Route Alpha, which led through a narrow canyon up to a point designated "Target Bantha."
Behind the scenes
NCW-781 served as the main setting of "Operation: Shadowstrike," a roleplaying game adventure authored by Eric S. Trautmann, illustrated by Paul Daly, and included in the 1996 sourcebook Instant Adventures for use with West End Games' Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. This article assumes the scenario of the adventure plays out as described. The 2009 reference book The Essential Atlas placed the NCW-781 system, and therefore NCW-781 itself, in grid square H-18.