Operation Shieldfall was a Sith mission to the planet Nam Chorios in 44 ABY that resulted in a battle between the forces of the New Jedi Order, the Lost Tribe of Sith, and the dark side entity Abeloth. After their tenuous alliance to destroy Abeloth was broken, both the Jedi and Sith pursued Abeloth—who had caused a psychosis amongst the Jedi. Sith apprentice Vestara Khai, along with Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker and his son, Ben, tracked Abeloth to Nam Chorios, where they met the Force-sensitive Theran Listeners and discovered that the Therans had fallen under Abeloth's control. Khai sent a message to her father, Gavar, who led a Sith flotilla to the planet. After searching for Abeloth in various locations and being attacked twice by Sith under the command of Saber Tola Annax, Vestara and the Skywalkers located Abeloth in the city of Crystal Valley.

In a pumping station there, they found the psychotic Jedi Valin Horn with Abeloth, who was in the guise of former Jedi Callista Ming. Luke successfully extracted Ming's spirit from the entity, and the Master of the Theran Listeners, Nenn, whom Abeloth had also possessed, committed suicide, severely weakening Abeloth. Horn lost consciousness, and Vestara and the Skywalkers were immediately ambushed by a group of Sith. Vestara killed one of the planet's sentient crystals, a tsil, resulting in a major death convulsion that further weakened Abeloth and gave Vestara and the Skywalkers time to flee the area with Horn. Meanwhile, Gavar's forces had arrived in orbit, where they were ambushed by a Jedi StealthX starfighter wing that had been called in by Luke days previously. Upon rendezvousing with the Jedi forces, Luke piloted one of the StealthXs in pursuit of Abeloth, who fled in the meditation sphere Ship. The Sith flotilla sustained heavy damage from the Jedi and was forced to retreat, but Luke was hit before he could destroy Ship, and Abeloth escaped. As Luke recovered from his injuries and the Sith regrouped, Abeloth contacted the Sith fleet and proposed an alliance to defeat the Jedi.

Prelude[edit | edit source]

"There are fewer enmities more ancient than that of Sith and Jedi."
"This thing we both fight might be older than that."
―Luke Skywalker and Sarasu Taalon[src]

Exiled Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker

In 43.5 ABY, several Jedi began to contract a Force psychosis that caused them to believe that everyone they knew had been replaced by impostors.[3] Meanwhile, Galactic Alliance Chief of State Natasi Daala ordered the arrest of Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker, who was put on trial and exiled for his inability to prevent Sith Lord Darth Caedus' fall to the dark side during the Second Galactic Civil War. Luke took the opportunity to retrace the steps of the five-year journey Caedus had taken after the Yuuzhan Vong War in hopes of finding out why he had turned to the dark side. Skywalker's son, Ben, accompanied him on his travels.[3]

They eventually encountered a strike team from the Lost Tribe of Sith at a space station in the Maw. They also met the dark side entity Abeloth, whom they speculated was causing the psychosis.[4] After tracking the strike team's sole surviving member, Sith apprentice Vestara Khai, to the planet Dathomir, they were convinced by the Sith, led by High Lord Sarasu Taalon, to ally for a mission to destroy Abeloth. Although the alliance was a ploy by the Sith, the Jedi survived the Sith's betrayal and defeated Abeloth.[5] The alliance was temporarily restored, but after discovering that Abeloth had not actually died it again dissolved into violence. The Skywalkers, with Khai in tow, tracked Abeloth to the moon Pydyr and again confronted her. During the battle, Khai killed Taalon, who had begun to transform into another Abeloth-like being, and Abeloth was again forced to flee.[6] Fearing that the Sith would not take the time to learn the reasoning behind her action and would only see it as a betrayal, Khai left the planet with the Skywalkers, who used a blood trail established by Luke to track Abeloth to the planet Nam Chorios.[1]

Ben Skywalker and Vestara Khai

There, the group met with former Jedi Knight Taselda. Luke informed her of Abeloth and soon after learned the technique of mnemotherapy—with which one was able to withdraw and eradicate memories from another being—from Listener-Master Taru Durn. As Khai and the Skywalkers continued to hunt for Abeloth, they were ambushed by the Sith Meditation Sphere Ship, who was under the control of Abeloth. When one of the orbiting Golan III Space Defense NovaGuns fired down on them, it missed and hit a sentient crystal known as a tsil, resulting in a death convulsion in the Force that caused Ship to flee.[1]

Upon their return to the city Hweg Shul, they discovered that Abeloth had possessed the Master of the Theran Listeners, Nenn, and taken over the Listeners themselves. Vestara sent a secret message to her father, Gavar, in order to alert him of the situation, unknowingly playing into Master Skywalker's plans—he had arranged several days previously for a flight of Jedi StealthX starfighters to lie await in the system, hoping to lure the Sith there so that the starfighters could ambush them. As Khai and the Skywalkers began to investigate Abeloth's possible locations, they were ambushed in the town of Kesla Vein by a Sith party led by Sith Saber Tola Annax. After defeating the Sith, the group was contacted by journalist Kandra Nilitz, who had brought the psychotic Jedi Valin and Jysella Horn to the planet in return for the promise of finding a good story. Luke convinced her to meet with him, but once Khai and the Jedi arrived at Nilitz's airspeeder they were again ambushed by Sith. After fighting off the Sith and informing the reporter about Abeloth and the Tribe, Khai and the Skywalkers made their way to the city of Crystal Valley to confront Abeloth.[1]

The operation[edit | edit source]

Callista Ming, whose spirit was finally released

"Luke…Join with me. Save me.…"
"I will. I will save you."
―Ming's presence in Abeloth and Luke Skywalker[src]

At the Crystal Valley pumping station they discovered that Abeloth was draining the Theran Listeners and that the psychotic Jedi Knight Valin Horn had come to Abeloth's aid. He led them to an illusion conjured by Abeloth, in the form of Luke's former lover, Callista Ming. Abeloth tried to appeal to Luke's past love for Ming and requested that he join her. However, Luke was able to sense Abeloth's consciousness trying to hide behind Ming, and Ming begged for Luke to save her. He initiated the mnemotherapy technique on Ming while blasterfire erupted outside the cave—the Sith had arrived and entered battle with Abeloth there. Horn, believing that the Jedi had brought reinforcements, attacked Ben and Khai. Although Horn was outnumbered, he had more combat experience and was able to hold them off. Meanwhile, Luke succeeded in ripping Ming's spirit from Abeloth's possession; Ming was freed from Abeloth's control and allowed to pass on into the Force. Abeloth's body then morphed into that of the Master of the Theran Listeners, Nenn, whom she had also consumed. Rather than allowing Abeloth to control him, however, Nenn killed himself, weakening Abeloth to the point where she could no longer control Horn—who fell unconscious—and causing her to flee.[1]

Before Khai and the Jedi could follow, however, the group was ambushed by at least two dozen Sith, once again led by Annax. The Sith had them surrounded, and realizing that it would only be a matter of time before they were killed, Khai decided to repulse the Sith by killing a tsil. As they dueled, she warned the Skywalkers of an imminent massive Force attack, and began counting down. After ten seconds, she killed the tsil, and a tremendous death convulsion hit the area, causing both Luke and Khai to drop to their knees and stunning the Sith. Khai and the Jedi were the first to recover, and Ben carried the unconscious Horn while Khai helped Luke leave the station. Luke was troubled that she had killed a tsil, but Khai rationalized that Luke was the only being who could defeat Abeloth, and that meant that he had to survive.[1]

Sith Saber Gavar Khai

Gavar Khai, now in command of a flotilla of Corporate Sector frigates, had sent advance agents to take control of the planet's orbiting Golan III Space Defense NovaGuns, and had succeeded to do so in all but one. As he arrived in orbit, however, his fleet was ambushed by the Jedi's StealthXs. Meanwhile, Khai and the Skywalkers emerged from the cave and into the war zone. After being questioned by Khai, Luke admitted that he had planned the whole scenario, drawing the Sith to Nam Chorios so they would be ambushed by the Jedi. Luke contacted the closest StealthX, piloted by Jaina Solo, and after commandeering Jedi Knight Tyria Tainer's starfighter, he joined the battle. The Sith fleet quickly suffered heavy damage, and Khai was forced to call a retreat. Meanwhile, Skywalker pursued Abeloth, who was fleeing in Ship.[1]

Skywalker—whose exile had finally been revoked following a coup that removed Daala from her office—led Gray Squadron in pursuit of Ship. Gold Squadron's Raynar Thul was hit by one of the NovaGuns and forced to eject from his starfighter, but he was nevertheless able to detonate a shadow bomb he had launched near Ship. Both Abeloth and Ship were damaged and Luke took the opportunity to score a hit on Ship with his laser cannons, before he himself was shot down by the NovaGun. The rest of the StealthXs abandoned their pursuit of Abeloth and focused on drawing fire away from Luke, who was rescued along with Thul.[1]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

"I have heard the arguments for continuing to work closely with her, and the arguments to sever ties. While I confess I am not overly fond of the former, and have made little secret of my opinion, neither do I think it is time for the latter. The best way to win is to cover all angles of the situation. And so Kesh and the Circle of Lords will invite Abeloth to our world. We shall give her a grand welcome, with feasting, and arts, and displays of our proud and powerful culture. And, we will watch, and learn, and listen."
―Darish Vol[src]

The Jedi recuperated on the Galactic Alliance supply ship Verity, where Luke was able to recover in a bacta tank. Although injured and severely weakened, Abeloth was able to escape from Nam Chorios in Ship. While the Sith fleet regrouped, Abeloth contacted Gavar Khai and stated her belief that they could not defeat their mutual enemy—the Jedi—alone,[1] and she bid for an alliance with the Sith. The Tribe's Grand Lord Darish Vol then ordered Gavar to bring her back to the Tribe's homeworld Kesh to confer with the Tribe's leadership. There, Vol agreed to allow Abeloth to travel down to the surface, so that they could observe her and then decide whether or not to accept her offer for an alliance. However, Abeloth soon launched an attack against the Grand Lord, and when her attempt on his life failed and left her in agony, she destroyed much of the capital city of Tahv with Force energy. Gavar Khai then broke his bonds with the Tribe and led those Sith who chose to remain loyal to Abeloth in a retreat from the world.[2]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Operation Shieldfall appeared in Aaron Allston's third and final novel in the Fate of the Jedi series—and the seventh of nine installments overall—Fate of the Jedi: Conviction, released May 24, 2011.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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