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A campaign was orchestrated by the mysterious Nightswan, who first notably lent his services to the pirate group Culoss for a heist on the Dromedar. After the Dromedar incident, Nightswan worked with a group on Umbara that ultimately cultivated into a battle over Umbara, also lending his services to human settlers during the a territorial conflict on Cyphar. Nightswan was also involved in a spying operation of Imperial officials on Coruscant, and worked to liberate Wookiee slaves of the Galactic Empire during an attack on the Sempre and the resulting Battle at Lansend Twenty-Six, all the while he continued to sabotage doonium shipments meant for the Empire.

Nightswan eventually decided to remain with one group, that being the Batonn insurgents. The following campaigns in the sector undertaken by the Imperial Military led to Nightswan's death on Batonn. Shortly before his death, Admiral Thrawn, Nightswan's nemesis, parleyed with him, and discovered that Nightswan had sabotaged the Cyphar land dispute due to his stance against spice. After Nightswan discovered a secret military project he began disrupting doonium shipments and decided to permanently align himself with the Batonn insurgents, leading to the Batonn sector insurgency. Nightswan's insurgency came to a fiery end during the Siege of the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex.

Prelude[edit | edit source]

In the years leading up to the Battle of Yavin, the Empire faced numerous rebel insurgent groups including the Free Ryloth Movement,[2] Berch Teller's rebel cell,[3] the Spectres of Lothal,[4] Phoenix Cell,[5] and Saw Gerrera's Partisans.[6] Another insurgent leader was the smuggling "consultant" Nevil Cygni, who had once worked at the Kanauer Corporation's mining operations in the Thrugii asteroid belt. Adopting the pseudonym "Nightswan", Cygni regarded the Empire as a corrupt tyranny that had to be overthrown and replaced with a new order based on justice, mercy, and freedom.[1]

During the Imperial Era, Cygni had joined a group which had broken away from the Mining Guild and sought to exploit the rising confusion in the Empire's metal markets, which was hurting many small businesses particularly shipbuilders. Nightswan had joined the group with the hope that they could siphon off enough from the Imperial Navy's demand to help them out. However, Nightswan left after discovering that the group was simply selling back stolen metals to the Empire through the blackmarket. This led Nightswan to help ordinary citizens who had been hurt by the Empire and could not get redress. To fund these activities, Nightswan began advertising his services as a consultant for various criminal groups including Angel's Culoss pirates, who were the descendants of Q'anah's Marauders.[1]

While Nightswan focused mainly on helping innocents, he helped the occasional insurgents when they popped up. Nightswan's "consultancy" activities included instigating protests and unrest such as the Circle Bay mayor's office protest. Nightswan's activities drew the attention of the Imperial Security Bureau, which tasked Colonel Wullf Yularen with investigating Nightswan. While working as a "consultant", Nightswan toyed with returning to the Mining Guild. However, the Mining Guild had by then learned about the splinter group and had alerted the Imperial authorities. Around that time, Nightswan heard rumors of a mysterious Imperial project that was sucking up vast amounts of doonium, iridium, and other metals, which turned out to be the classified Death Star project. Nightswan used Driller MarDapp's Higher Skies Advocacy Group and the Yinchom Dojo instructor Juahir Madras to spy on Imperial officials in the galactic capital Coruscant.[1]

Two years before the Batonn insurgency, Nightswan heard from a friend who had worked in the Thrugii asteroid belt about a blue-skin non-human working with Jedi Generals during the Clone Wars. This alien turned out to be the aspiring Imperial Navy officer Thrawn, who along with his aide-de-camp Eli Vanto took an interest in Nightswan's activities.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

Raid on the Dromedar[edit | edit source]

Eighteen months after Senior Lieutenant Thrawn and Ensign Vanto graduated from the Royal Imperial Academy, Nevil Cygni and the Culoss pirates captured the freighter Dromedar, which was carrying tibanna gas. Cygni had infiltrated the Dromedar by posing as a new crew member. They imprisoned the ten–member crew in a cage aboard their pirate ship's aft–starboard cargo bay and then began transporting the tibanna to Uba in the Barsa sector. The Imperial Gozanti-class cruiser Blood Crow stumbled upon the Dromedar. Cygni posed as one of the Dromedar's crew members and claimed that pirates had kidnapped his crew. Thrawn managed to convince his commanding officer Captain Rik Virgilio to let him, Vanto, and three Imperial technicians remain aboard the Dromedar with the crew.[1]

While prying into the freighter's cargo, Thrawn discovered that Cygni and his companions were the real pirates. Cygni took the Imperials prisoner and imprisoned them with the original crew on the pirate ship. Cygni and his followers departed aboard the Dromedar with the smuggled tibanna but made arrangements for the prisoners to be transferred to a drop zone. Not trusting Angel not to harm the Imperials, Cygni arranged for Thrawn's buzz droid to be left behind. This played into Thrawn's hands and he used the buzz droids to free the prisoners from their cage. After breaking out of their cage, the Imperials and Dromedar crew members overpowered their captors. Thrawn defeated the remaining pirates by having a second buzz droid moored to the pirate ship's hull to expose the ship's entrance chamber and amidships section to the vacuum of Space.[1]

Despite defeating Cygni's pirates and rescuing the Dromedar's crew, Thrawn was suspended from duty for failing to prevent the theft of the tibanna gas canisters. While Thrawn and Vanto were waiting on Ansion, they took the opportunity to help Admiral Plor Wiskovis interrogate three of the surviving pirates. Playing "good cop", Thrawn convinced the pirates to reveal where Cygni and Angel had smuggled the tibanna to in return for protecting them from Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. Since the pirates were descendants of Q'anah's Marauders, Thrawn played on their fears of Tarkin. While the pirates discussed Thrawn's offer, Thrawn used his knowledge of Sy Bisti and discerned that Angel and Cygni had taken the Dromedar and its tibanna cargo to Uba. Accepting Thrawn's offer, the pirates claimed that Angel and Cygni had gone to Cartherston on the planet Keitum.[1]

While Thrawn knew the pirates were lying, he proceeded with the deal in order to spring a trap on Angel and Cygni. Acting on this information, Admiral Wiskovis dispatched forces to both Uba and Cartherston to recover the tibanna and pursue the pirates. Despite their efforts, Cygni managed to slip through the Imperial cordon around Uba. Though Imperial forces managed to capture the other pirates, they found that twelve of the twenty cylinders that had been recovered aboard the Dromedar were empty. Thrawn and Vanto discussed their findings with the ISB Colonel Yularen, who was shocked that Cygni had apparently found a way to extract tibanna from the cylinders. Thrawn was subsequently cleared by an Imperial military court martial and promoted to Captain of the Arquitens-class light cruiser Thunder Wasp.[1]

Iridium smuggling[edit | edit source]

Following the Dromedar raid, a couple of ISB analysts speculated that Nightswan had settled down with a single organization. Colonel Yularen rightfully theorized that Nightswan and Cygni were one and the same. Later, Nightswan engineered a scheme to purchase Vulture droid parts from a Rodian merchant using proceeds generated from smuggling iridium on the planet Paklarn. Nightswan hired several local smugglers, whose plan was to transport the stolen iridium from the mines to an old underwater transport. From there, the iridium would be transported to a group of fishing boats where they were formed into small discs and hidden inside grist mollusk shells. Despite Nightswan's instructions to disperse the mollusk meat along the entire path, the smugglers instead disposed of the meat in one dump, attracting a large number of makorr predators.[1]

The smugglers' tardiness enabled Captain Thrawn, Ensign Vanto, and Commander Alfren Cheno to track down the smugglers and apprehend them. After questioning one of the smugglers, Thrawn deduced that Nightswan's carefully-crafted scheme had unraveled due to the tardiness of the smugglers. Thrawn had been monitoring Nightswan's activities for the past year. He took advantage of his regular trips to Coruscant to visit Colonel Yularen and share intelligence on their investigations into the mysterious Nightswan.[1]

Trouble on Umbara[edit | edit source]

Nightswan then instigated an uprising on Umbara, a former Separatist world that had become a major exporter of doonium. Nightswan staged the uprising in order to instigate the Imperial takeover of Umbara's entire mining and refinery sector; reasoning that it was easier to bribe the Imperial inspectors than the Umbarans. In addition, Nightswan's operatives established a ground-based transmitter on one of Umbara's moons, which controlled 400 Vulture droids. The Umbaran uprising provoked the deployment of Imperial Navy forces under Admiral Carlou Gendling.[1]

Captain Thrawn's Thunder Wasp was part of the Imperial pacification force dispatched to Umbara. The Vulture droids inflicted significant casualties on the Imperial forces. However, Thrawn studied the Vulture droids' attack pattern and deduced that they were being controlled by a ground-based transmitter. He convinced his superior officer Commander Cheno and the other Imperial commanders in the squadron to bombard the moon. While this neutralized the threat of the Vulture droids, Admiral Gendling was incensed that Commander Cheno and Captain Thrawn had usurped his command. Cheno took the fall for Thrawn in order to protect the Chiss officer's Imperial career. This allowed Thrawn to continue his investigation into Nightswan.[1]

The Coruscant spy ring[edit | edit source]

Nightswan's operatives on the planet Nubia later instigated a protest at the Circle Bay mayor's office. They engineered the dismissal of the kitchen staff and embedded their own people among the new staff. This incident led Colonel Yularen and Captain Thrawn to deduce that Nightswan was planning to target Imperial government officials and bureaucrats on Coruscant using dojos. Nightswan's spy ring on Coruscant was uncovered by an unlikely source: the Lothalite emigrant and former senatorial staffer Arihnda Pryce. She befriended Driller MarDapp and Juahir Madras.[1]

Driller was the head of the Higher Skies Advocacy Group, which covertly gathered intelligence on Imperial mining and industrial operations using bodyguards, who worked for Imperial bureaucrats and senators. Nightswan hope to uncover the Empire's secret Death Star project. These bodyguards were recruited by his friend Juahir, who worked as a martial arts instructor at the Togorian H'sishi's dojo Yinchom Dojo. Madras used her position to blackmail and "indoctrinate" bodyguards about the "evils" of the Empire. The bodyguards were tasked with spying on their Imperial employees but were not supposed to assassinate them. The intelligence obtained by the bodyguards was stored on Higher Skies' computer database, which was then passed to Nightswan. Driller and Madras convinced an unsuspecting Pryce to work for Higher Skies and to hone her martial arts abilities at Yinchom Dojo.[1]

As part of their investigation, Yularen along with Thrawn and Vanto visited the Yinchom Dojo under the pretext of verifying their credentials. Pryce, who had met Thrawn earlier following the Dromedar Incident, managed to inform Thrawn that she was working for the Higher Skies Group. Thrawn engaged in a martial arts demonstration with dojo H'sishi to test whether she harbored any malice towards the Empire. While Thrawn ascertained that H'sishi was innocent, he suspected something aloof about Madras' behavior and suspected that she had something to hide. Growing uneasy about Higher Skies' illicit activities, Pryce secretly contacted Thrawn and offered to become a double agent in return for immunity. Thrawn accepted her offer and asked her to copy Higher Skies' files.[1]

Pryce's work was complicated when Ottlis Dos, one of the bodyguards she worked with, revealed that he was working as a double agent for Moff Ghadi, a rival of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin who despised Thrawn for being an alien. Pryce turned the tables on Ghadi by offering to share Higher Skies' intelligence on Grand Moff Tarkin with Ghadi. After securing an audience with Tarkin, she exposed Higher Skies' espionage activities and Ghadi's plot to exploit the illegally–obtained data. In return for immunity, Pryce managed to convince Tarkin to appoint her Governor of Lothal and to promote Thrawn's friend Eli Vanto.[1]

As a result of Pryce's information, Imperial Security Bureau forces under Colonel Yularen arrested members of Higher Skies and Yinchom Dojo. Yularen personally arrested Madras after one of her bodyguards Kaniki tried to assassinate Senator Evidorn. While most of the conspirators were executed, Juahir's punishment was commuted to imprisonment after she cooperated with Yularen. H'sishi was cleared of any wrong-doing and allowed to leave Coruscant. Pryce's actions dealt a serious blow to Nightswan's intelligence-gathering efforts in the Imperial capital.[1]

The Cyphar dispute[edit | edit source]

Meanwhile, Nightswan became embroiled in the Cyphar Incident. In order to raise funds for weapons and supplies, Nightswan helped a group of smugglers on Cyphar to smuggle a pre-spice material that was used to produce a spice variety called scarn. While Nightswan was uncomfortable with smuggling spice, he had no choice since the smugglers were armed. To distract both the Cyphari Afe clan and the Cyphar government, the smugglers instigated a land dispute between the Afes and human colonists around a new doonium vein beneath Afe territory. At Nightswan's advice, the doonium was smuggled offworld hidden is shellfish shells.[1]

Commander Thrawn and Ensign Vanto were dispatched to resolved the Cyphar dispute. Studying the planet's shipping records, Thrawn and Vanto ascertained that the dispute was linked to the illicit smuggling of doonium and a rise in the export of shellfish. Thrawn also rightfully deduced that Nightswan had a hand behind this dispute. After meeting with the colonists' representatives Clay Tanoo and Brigte Polcery and the Afe Chief Joko, Thrawn and Vanto decided to set a trap for the human raiders. Imperial forces managed to capture several raiders including their leaders Tanoo and Polcery. While examining the site, Thrawn also discovered that the disputed ground contained a pre-spice material that was used to produce scarn.[1]

In order to end the land dispute, Thrawn ordered the Thunder Wasp and its TIE fighters to level the disputed land, destroying the scarn and farmland. Despite resolving the Cyphar dispute, Thrawn's actions antagonized Chief Joko, who objected to the loss of farmland and damage to property. The Imperial Military was also displeased that Thrawn had not followed procedure and court-martialed him. However, Thrawn was cleared by a military panel due to Grand Moff Tarkin's influence. He was promoted to Commodore while Vanto was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. Thrawn was also made captain of the Imperial Star Destroyer Chimaera, giving him more resources in the fight against Nightswan's insurgency.[1]

Rescuing Wookiee slaves[edit | edit source]

Following the disruption of Higher Skies and the Cyphar dispute, Nightswan and his followers subsequently took an interest in freeing Wookiee slaves from the Empire.[1] After the Clone Wars, the Galactic Empire had annexed Kashyyyk and enslaved the Wookiee species.[7] The xenophobic Empire wanted to exploit the Wookiees for their massive, robust physiology allowed them to work for long hours in extreme conditions.[8] Besides being forced to harvest lumber and crops, and mining for raw materials on Kashyyyk, large numbers of Wookiee slaves were shipped across the galaxy to work in mines and to build the Death Star. In addition, Wookiees were also used as experimental subjects for testing medicines and weapons.[9]

The insurgents ambushed the troop ship Sempre with the frigate Castilus and two squadrons of V-19 Torrent starfighters. After jamming the troop ship, the insurgents boarded the Sempre and liberated the Wookiee slaves. Commodore Thrawn and Lieutenant Commander Vanto responded to the Sempre's distress call. After examining the troop ship's interior, Thrawn discovered that the Empire was trafficking Wookiee slaves. Meanwhile, the insurgents attacked the space station Lansend Twenty-Six, which was used to process Wookiees who were being exported offworld. The insurgents were aided by a saboteur aboard Landsend, who managed to disable the long-range comm and shut off the starboard-side defense systems before being captured.[1]

With reinforcements from Baklek Base on the way, the Chimaera came to the aid of Landsen Twenty-Six. By that stage, the insurgents had already boarded the station. After establishing contact with Colonel Zenoc, Thrawn ordered the Star Destroyer's turbolasers to bombard the starboard part of the station. Meanwhile, Thrawn's TIE fighters neutralized the insurgent starships, reducing the enemy forces to the crippled frigate and three V-19s. Despite helping to foil Nightswan's latest venture, Vanto felt uneasy that the Empire was using slaves. Thrawn responded that these slaves were Imperial assets and sought to rationalize slavery.[1]

Batonn sector insurgency[edit | edit source]

Following Admiral Thrawn's suppression of the uprising on Botajef, Nightswan turned his attention to the planet Batonn, which was an exporter of doonium. Nightswan became affiliated with the Batonn insurgents, who opposed Governor Restos and his Imperial overlords. The Batonn insurgents captured the Imperial garrison on Scrim Island. In response, Fleet Admiral Jok Donassius decided to take action against insurgent groups within the Batonn sector including Batonn.[1]

Admiral Thrawn and his Ninety-Sixth Task Force were tasked with recapturing Scrim Island from the insurgents. However, the mission was reassigned to Admiral Durril and his One Oh Third Task Force after Thrawn insisted on studying the siege first. Instead, Thrawn was reassigned to quelling the insurgents on Sammun while Admiral Kinshara's One Twenty-Fifth task force was tasked with dealing with the Denash insurgents. Thrawn tasked Commander Karyn Faro with handling the Sammun insurgents while he and Commander Vanto traveled undercover to Batonn to gather intelligence on Nightswan.[1]

Posing as an arms dealer, Vanto managed to infiltrate Nightswan's base aboard a Nomad starship on Batonn's main continent. Nightswan told Vanto about his plans to overthrow the Empire and regarded Thrawn as an obstacle. Eli and Thrawn managed to escape Nightswan's ship by staging an explosion. Meanwhile, the Scrim Island insurgents inflicted heavy damage on Admiral Durril's forces, forcing them to retreat from the battle. On Sammun, Commander Faro destroyed two enemy ships, and captured four others as well as a considerable amount of ordnance. Elsewhere, Admiral Kinshara encountered little resistance since most of the Denash insurgents had retreated to Batonn.[1]

With the defeat of Admiral Durril, Thrawn was tasked with recapturing Scrim Island. Having studied the enemy's tactics, Thrawn used his task force's Imperial light cruisers as decoys to absorb the enemy ion cannons. Though the light cruisers were disabled, this enabled Thrawn to deploy the Chimaera and bombard the insurgents from orbit. The Chimaera's turbolasers generated mini tsunamis that overwhelmed the insurgents' defenses, forcing their surrender. However, other insurgents managed to retreat to the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex near Paeragosto City; setting the stage for a siege.[1]

Last stand on Batonn[edit | edit source]

Nightswan's forces took control and occupied the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex, driving out the mining staff in a coordinated operation. The Batonn authorities were caught off guard since Governor Restos had requisitioned the Batonn Defense Force to guard his palace. While Nightswan did not want civilians to get involved, many civilians took shelter inside the Creekpath complex, which was defended by a deflector shield generator. Many of the local civilians including Governor Pryce's parents Talmoor and Elainye Pryce were sympathetic to the Batonn insurgents due to their grievances with Governor Restos and the Empire.[1]

Imperial and Batonn Defense forces lay siege to the Creekpath complex. Due to the presence of her parents inside, Governor Pryce convince Colonel Yularen to allow her to accompany ISB Agent Gudry on a mission to disable the shield generator. Meanwhile, Thrawn arranged a secret meeting with Nightswan in an attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the Creekpath siege. During the meeting, Nightswan revealed his hand in the previous events of the insurgency including the Dromedar Incident, the Battle over Umbara, Higher Skies, the Cyphar dispute, the attempted liberation of Wookiee slaves, and the siege of Scrim Island. Thrawn offered to spirit Nightswan to safety in the Chiss Ascendancy but Nightswan was unwilling to abandon his followers to the tender mercies of Governor Restos. Despite their disagreement, Thrawn agreed to minimize civilian casualties.[1]

Later, a fleet of thirty insurgent ships exited hyperspace and attacked the Imperial light cruisers orbiting Batonn. Thrawn then deployed several TIE fighters, which had been hidden aboard repair ships. The freighters were now trapped between the Chimaera and the TIE fighters. Meanwhile, Pryce underwent a falling-out with Gudry and killed him after he refused to help her evacuate her parents. To cover up his murder, Pryce detonated the explosives that Gudry had attached to the insurgents' munitions depot but took care to leave the shield generator intact. This created an explosion that destroyed much of the mining complex, killing all the insurgents there including Nightswan along with many more civilians. In space, the insurgents ships witnessed the explosion and retreated; thus ending the Batonn insurgency.[1]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The death of Nightswan during the Siege of the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex ended his insurgent campaign against the Galactic Empire. The Empire accepted Pryce's version that Gudy had detonated the explosives to avoid capture at the hands of the insurgents.[1] Despite the high civilian casualties Batonn, Governor Pryce considered them acceptable margins since there were no more insurgents in the Batonn sector.[10] While uneasy about the high death toll, Thrawn reluctantly accepted Pryce as his political ally. Thrawn was later promoted by the Emperor to the position of Grand Admiral and placed in command of the Seventh Fleet.[1]

Pryce's dissatisfaction with Admiral Kassius Konstantine's campaign against the Phoenix Cell led her to petition Grand Moff Tarkin to deploy Thrawn and the Seventh Fleet to the Lothal sector. Despite Nightswan's death, rebellion against the Empire continued. By 2 BBY, Thrawn realized that the Empire was fighting a galaxy-wide insurgency.[10] Later that year, the various rebel cells under the leadership of former Senator Mon Mothma formed the Alliance to Restore the Republic, which supported many of Nightswan's ideals.[11] After years of warfare, the Alliance's successor state, the New Republic, defeated the Empire at the Battle of Jakku in 5 ABY.[12]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Nightswan's campaign forms the secondary plot line of Timothy Zahn's 2017 novel Thrawn, a Canonical origins story of the titular character. Nightswan serves as the novel's main antagonist.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

Nightswan's campaign
Galactic timeline


Concurrent: Great Jedi Purge · Early rebellion against the Galactic Empire · Battle for Botajef

Next: Early rebellion against the Galactic Empire

Events of Nightswan's campaign
Dromedar · Umbara · Coruscant · Cyphar · Sempre · Lansend Twenty-Six
Batonn sector (Sammun · Denash · Batonn (Scrim Island · Creekpath))
Related topics and articles
Nevil Cygni · Culoss · Thrawn · Eli Vanto
Arihnda Pryce · Driller MarDapp · Juahir Madras · Higher Skies
Yinchom Dojo · Batonn insurgents · Denash insurgents · Sammun insurgents
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