Operation: Sabre Strike, also known as Resistance Mission 456-VH, was an operation undertaken during the Cold War by Commander Poe Dameron and a crew from the Resistance that took sometime after the Battle of Endor. Suspecting that the New Republic Senator Erudo Ro-Kiintor, with help from the Corporate Sector Authority, was secretly colluding with the First Order, the Resistance leader General Leia Organa dispatched Poe and his comrades Iolo Arana and Karé Kun on a mission to steal Ro-Kiintor's private yacht Hevurion Grace so that the Resistance could examine his ship's computers for incriminating information. Poe and his comrades managed to steal the Hevurion Grace and narrowly escaped First Order forces.
Sometime after the Battle of Endor, the Galactic Empire was reformed into the First Order and had began emerging from the Unknown Regions. Despite the First Order's repeated violations of the Galactic Concordance by acquiring advanced weapons and making raids into New Republic space, the Galactic Senate and New Republic Command refused to take forceful military action against the First Order and sought to downplay the threat it posed. In response, a splinter group within the New Republic Defense Force known as the Resistance was formed to monitor the activities of the First Order.
The First Order also colluded with several unscrupulous senators like the Hevurion senior senator Erudo Ro-Kiintor. In exchange for receiving large sums from the First Order through shell and third-party corporations via the Corporate Sector Authority, Ro-Kiintor delayed or derailed motions in the Senate condemning the First Order and increasing support to the New Republic Defense Fleet. The Senator's ship Hevurion Grace was also spotted in First Order space on several occasions. These dealings led General Leia Organa to suspect that Ro-Kiintor had links to important First Order figures like General Armitage Hux and Supreme Leader Snoke.
Lacking hard evidence, Leia arranged for her top pilot Poe Dameron to steal the Hevurion Grace before Ro-Kiintor could purge the ship's systems. Poe's comrades Karé Kun and Iolo Arana volunteered to assist their former commander in the mission. To conceal the Resistance's involvement, the three fighters disguised themselves as members of the Irving Boys, a criminal group, and wore bulky EVA suits. The three pilots were also equipped with three vintage Z-95 Headhunter starfighters. Due to the small size of the Headhunters, the fighter pilots were unable to bring their astromech droids along for the operation. BB-8 was relegated fitting the starfighters' concussion missiles with proper warheads.
Stealing a starship
Poe developed a plan to intercept the Hevurion Grace as it was exiting hyperspace in the Uvoss system. They had to carry out the operation in eight minutes before Senator Ro-Kiintor could summon New Republic reinforcements from the nearest inhabited system. As planned, the Hevurion Grace exited hyperspace and the Resistance fighters sprung their trap immediately. Iolo's Headhunter managed to knock out the yacht's systems with a modified concussion missile. Poe then ejected out of his starfighter below the Hevurion Grace and managed to climb onto the yacht after undertaking a dangerous leap through zero gravity space for two minutes.
While the other fighters surrounded the yacht, Poe climbed through a hatch into the Hevurion Grace. Making his way into the main hall, he forced Senator Ro-Kiintor, the pilot, and a servant to head into the ship's escape pods at gunpoint. Having seized control of the yacht, Poe then proceeded to restart the ship's main engines. By that time, three and a half minutes were left. Iolo then contacted Poe to inform him that several First Order reinforcements had arrived. The First Order had dispatched two capital ships (including a new Resurgent-class Star Destroyer), one Nebulon-K frigate, several assault ships, and eighteen TIE/fo space superiority fighters to rescue Ro-Kiintor and his secret dealings.
Escaping the First Order
Despite Poe's orders that Iolo and Kare evacuate, his comrades stayed behind to protect him from the First Order forces. While Poe repaired the ship's engines, the other fighters fought with the TIE fighters. Poe took the luxury yacht towards one of the Uvoss gas giants in order to dissuade the TIEs from continuing their pursuit. When the TIEs tried to follow the Hevurion Grace, Iolo and Kare used their Z-95s to shoot down nine of the pursuers by undertaking several Corellian turns.
With the Resurgent Star Destroyer closing in on them, Poe convinced his comrades to charge at the warship before jumping into hyperspace. This was a risky maneuver since a single turbolaser blast from the Star Destroyer was capable of destroying a starfighter. Despite being pursued by TIE fighters on both sides, the yacht and the two Z-95 Headhunters managed to fly high above the Star Destroyer and jump into hyperspace.
Operation: Sabre Strike was a small but significant victory for the Resistance. Despite the odds against them, Poe and his companions obtained the Hevurion Grace and its computers. Leia complimented Poe, Kare, and Iolo for braving two Star Destroyers and one frigate and living to tell the tale. After C-3PO examined the yacht's computers, the Resistance obtained irrefutable evidence of Senator Ro-Kiintor's dealings with the First Order. General Organa feared there were more First Order sympathizers within the Galactic Senate and that the First Order was preparing to wage war on the galaxy again. Using the information in the yacht, Leia dispatched Poe on a mission to find Lor San Tekka, an old friend who she believed would help find her brother Luke Skywalker.
Behind the scenes
Operation: Sabre Strike first appeared in Greg Rucka's junior novel Before the Awakening, which introduces the characters Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron shortly before the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.
- Before the Awakening (First appearance)
- Poe Dameron 1 (Indirect mention only)
- Poe Dameron 2 (Indirect mention only)
- Poe Dameron 3 (Indirect mention only)
- Poe Dameron 16 (Mentioned only)
- Poe Dameron: Flight Log (First identified as Resistance Mission 456-VH) (First pictured)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars: Build Your Own X-Wing 26 (Starfighter Aces: Poe Dameron – Black Leader)
Notes and references
- Before the Awakening
- Poe Dameron 1
- According to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary, Poe Dameron joined the Resistance three years prior to the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, which were dated to 34 ABY by Star Wars: Galactic Atlas. Since the events of the Suraz engagement in Before the Awakening were a direct impetus to Dameron joining the Resistance, they took place around 31 ABY. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary states that Poe Dameron began leading Black Squadron on missions two years before the Starkiller Incident, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 34 ABY. The mission to Ovanis was the first mission that Black Squadron undertook as stated in Poe Dameron 1. Therefore, the mission must have occurred in 32 ABY. As this operation takes place between these two events, it must take place between 31 ABY and 32 ABY.