- "I'd turned a planet into a graveyard and I couldn't go back."
- ―Imperial deserter Yrica Quell, haunted by the devastation of Nacronis
Nacronis was a marshland planet with a unique meteorology that caused it to be ravaged by siltstorms. The planet's population, which included humans, inhabited ancient citadels. In the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, the TIE fighter pilots of the Galactic Empire's 204th Imperial Fighter Wing were ordered to increase the severity of the planet's storms with explosives as part of Operation: Cinder. The attack led to the devastation of the planet and the deaths of its inhabitants.
In the aftermath of the genocide, Major Soran Keize of the 204th convinced the Imperial pilot Yrica Quell to desert the Empire; Quell joined the fledgling New Republic, although with a partially falsified story of her defection. While the truth about Nacronis was eventually revealed, Quell was not persecuted after the fall of the Empire, and she was eventually brought into contact with a survivor of the genocide.
Located in the Nacronis system, Nacronis was a terrestrial planet with an atmosphere breathable for humans. The planet had a unique meteorology, plagued by high winds and siltstorms that threw colorful mud into the air, making its surface a marshland. The severity of Nacronis's siltstorms was increased during the Galactic Empire's devastation of the planet.
- "The strategic objective is the elimination of all enemy presence on Nacronis, up to and including all resources that could be subverted by the enemy."
- ―Soran Keize
During the Galactic Civil War between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance, the death of Emperor Palpatine at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY resulted in the initiation of Operation: Cinder, an Imperial campaign to devastate planets that both supported and opposed the Galactic Empire. Nacronis was chosen as one of the targets of the operation despite the planet posing no threat to the Empire; in fact, none of the Imperials tasked with its destruction had heard of Nacronis beforehand. Colonel Shakara Nuress of the Empire's 204th Imperial Fighter Wing was ordered to participate in the destruction, finding the operation distasteful but not questioning it.
Along with other Imperial squadrons, the 204th's pilots, led by Major Soran Keize, were tasked with stoking the siltstorms of Nacronis using specialized vortex detonators deployed from their TIE bombers in the absence of the satellites employed elsewhere during the campaign. Although the Rebellion attempted to defend Nacronis, its forces failed to prevent the Imperial pilots from fueling the storms enough to cover the entire planet. The storms destroyed cities in floods of silt, exterminating the population and erasing all life on the surface of Nacronis.
Destruction and desertion
- "If you would do this, then there's nothing that will drive you out. You'll stay with the 204th out of honor and duty. You'll stay until the sickness leaves you empty and either it kills you or the rebels do. But there's no point to it anymore."
- ―Soran Keize, to Yrica Quell
Once the storms had diminished, one of the 204th's pilots, Yrica Quell, landed on Nacronis, witnessing the destruction she had helped to cause. Major Keize, who himself had lost faith in Operation: Cinder, convinced Quell to defect by faking her own death. Keize similarly professed his feelings to the squadron commanders before deserting the 204th himself.
Around one month after the attack on Nacronis, Quell was recruited into the nascent New Republic as part of Alphabet Squadron, whose goal was to hunt down members of Quell's former Imperial fighter wing. By that time, the destruction of Nacronis was well known to the New Republic, which saw it as one of the worst massacres that the Empire had committed. At first, Quell attempted to lie to hide her involvement in the atrocity, but New Republic Intelligence agent Caern Adan eventually discovered the truth, as did fellow pilot Nath Tensent.
Truth and consequences
- "I tell you this, Yrica Quell: You are not responsible for what happened there. Not for Operation Cinder as a whole, nor for the plan to depopulate a world. You are not responsible for the death of Nacronis."
- ―Soran Keize
Adan set an automated message regarding the truth about Nacronis to be delivered to New Republic personnel in the event of his disappearance, which was activated when he was kidnapped during the New Republic's campaign in the Cerberon system around 5 ABY. Quell was later subjected to numerous mental visions of the destruction of Nacronis by a tower on a planetoid in the Cerberon system.
Following the reveal of her actions, Quell returned to the 204th with the intent of causing the fighter wing's downfall. During her time with her former unit, which had since embarked on a second destructive Cinder campaign, Quell imagined the genocide of Nacronis and other worlds it had attacked. After returning to the New Republic, Quell told the entire truth about her defection on Nacronis to General Hera Syndulla. In a confrontation with Keize on the capital planet Coruscant, Quell's former mentor absolved her of any responsibility in the genocide, yet it did not relieve her of the burden. Keize was killed in his attempt to destroy a data bank that catalogued Imperial crimes and atrocities, while the 204th and the Empire itself were defeated by the New Republic at the Battle of Jakku.
With the war at an end, the New Republic chose to allow Quell to remain free despite her participation in the destruction of Nacronis. Six years afterward, one resident of Nacronis who had survived the genocide through being offworld at the time reached out to the New Republic's Reconciliation Project, wishing to speak with uncooperative former Imperial pilots. Senator Wyl Lark asked Quell to meet with the survivor before she visited the pilots in prison, and Quell agreed to do so.
- "We all knew you were filth for flying for the Empire all that time, but who'd have guessed that you were genocidal filth? Other than the people of Nacronis, I mean."
- ―Alphabet Squadron pilot Chass na Chadic, to Yrica Quell
The population of Nacronis, numbering several million and consisting of humans, was wiped out during Operation: Cinder; the genocide eliminated the planet's civilization, although one survivor was offworld at the time. "Silt Sea Threnody" was a burial song from Nacronis. When lying about the events that led to her defection, Yrica Quell claimed to have contacted Nacronis ground control.
The inhabitants of Nacronis resided in ancient citadels that were destroyed during the Empire's devastation of the planet. The cities, made up of domed buildings constructed from duracrete, included apartments, houses, schools, and workshops.
Behind the scenes
Nacronis first appeared in the novel Alphabet Squadron, written by Alexander Freed as the first volume in the Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron series and published on June 11, 2019. The planet was initially revealed in an excerpt from the then-upcoming novel included in the first issue of the Marvel comic book Star Wars: TIE Fighter, published on April 17, 2019.
- Alphabet Squadron (First appearance, simultaneous with Alphabet Squadron audiobook) (In flashback(s))
- Alphabet Squadron audiobook (In flashback(s))
- Shadow Fall (In flashback(s))
- Shadow Fall audiobook (In flashback(s))
- Victory's Price (In flashback(s))
- Victory's Price audiobook (In flashback(s))
Notes and references
- Alphabet Squadron
- Shadow Fall
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Victory's Price
- "Emperor Palpatine" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Shadow Fall takes place approximately half a year after the Battle of Endor, while Before the Awakening states that Kes Dameron and Shara Bey moved to Yavin 4 around six months after the Battle of Endor. Given that Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates their move to 5 ABY, the events of Shadow Fall must also take place around that time. establishes that
- TIE Fighter 1