- "In a monthlong campaign, the New Republic pushed Pellaeon back, but suffered a grave defeat in the Battle of Orinda."
- ―Voren Na'al
Following the failed offensive against the New Republic in early 12 ABY and the subsequent retirement of Admiral Daala, Vice Admiral Gilad Pellaeon assumed command of Imperial forces in the Deep Core. Before abandoning the Deep Core and retreating to the Pentastar Alignment, Pellaeon salvaged cached equipment located by analyzing the records he had inherited. Among the bounty were the Super Star Destroyers Dominion and Megador, both of which had been abandoned intact at the Deep 3 shipyard. When Pellaeon absorbed the Pentastar Alignment, these two warships were joined by the Executor-class Reaper. Reaper would serve as the Admiral's flagship in the coming campaign.
The three Super Star Destroyers gave Pellaeon enormous leverage, and he was made Supreme Commander of the Remnant's forces by the Council of Moffs. With his new authority and a newly-unified Empire, Pellaeon resolved to wage a decisive offensive to restore Imperial morale, and demonstrate to the New Republic that the Empire was still a power to be reckoned with.
Orinda was chosen as the primary target. Symbolically, the Mid Rim trade world held value as one of the New Order's greatest successes outside the Core, and was also the former seat of the Imperial Ruling Council; Pellaeon also felt that the demonstration of strength displayed in retaking it would give the New Republic pause without provoking an overwhelming response.
The campaign would rely upon the New Republic remaining ignorant of the existence of Dominion and Megador until the crucial moment. Megador was deployed to Agamar to guard the Empire's eastern flank., while Reaper embarked the elite 181st Imperial Fighter Group under General Turr Phennir at Borosk.
- "Six months after Daala relinquished her command, Pellaeon made an aggressive lunge at the New Republic by seizing the small planet Orinda. By the time General Antilles mounted a counterattack, Pellaeon had already captured six neighboring systems."
- ―Voren Na'al
Pellaeon and Phennir struck Coreward along the Entralla Route, capturing Orinda and six other systems within a few weeks before digging in at Lonnaw. At the same time, there was an attempt to covertly subjugate Dathomir and its witches.
Once entrenched at Lonnaw, Pellaeon sent terms to Ord Mantell: the New Republic was told that Orinda had been reclaimed to secure the Empire's borders and for its cultural significance to the Empire. Pellaeon sincerely added that if the New Republic respected the claim, the Empire would refrain from further offensive action.
New Republic response and politicsEdit
The New Republic was unconvinced by Pellaeon's pledge to respect the new border, and were panicked by the reappearance of the Star Dreadnoughts as tools of war. It saw the capture of Orinda as the first phase of a renewed Imperial push to the Core. The counter-offensive was spearheaded by the Executor-class Lusankya, commanded by General Wedge Antilles, and Rogue Squadron.
The deployment of Lusankya was controversial within the New Republic military. The fleet was moving toward smaller warships and starfighters, as embodied by the Defender and New Class Modernization Programs; Lusankya was seen by many as an anachronism, a relic of the Galactic Empire's emphasis on large capital ships. But events during the campaign would cause a partial shift in the thinking of the New Republic military and helped affirm the place of larger capital ships in its fleet. Until then, however, military politics would hamper the New Republic's performance in the campaign.
Reaper and Lusankya, as well as the 181st and Rogue Squadron, fought numerous skirmishes in the Mid Rim. Pellaeon himself took Corthenia aboard the Reaper, while Phennir's 181st conquered Hewett and Tartaglia. The Lusankya and the Reaper clashed at Darkon, and again at Traval-Pacor. An indecisive battle was fought between the starfighter groups at Orocco, and Antilles' drive up the Entralla Route was halted by the 181st at Tyan.
While the public on both sides were enthralled by the duel, the indecisive nature of these encounters induced the New Republic to deploy Endurance, the lead ship of her class of fleet carrier, and her complement of E-wings. Endurance was commanded by Admiral Areta Bell, who was under great pressure to prove the superiority of starfighters over capital ships, and that of the E-wing in particular.
With both the Lusankya and the Endurance advancing, Pellaeon ordered a gradual withdrawal toward Orinda and conceded Obredaan. The New Republic fleet obliged by pursuing Reaper, which they thought to be the Empire's last Super Star Destroyer.
Disaster at OrindaEdit
- "There, the Reaper destroyed most of Antilles's starfighters by annihilating the ﬂeet carrier Endurance. Rogue Squadron, stationed aboard the Lusankya, covered the ﬂeet’s retreat. The New Republic chose to leave Orinda in imperial hands, and instead fortified the surrounding systems."
- ―Voren Na'al
The Imperial and New Republic fleets engaged at Orinda, with Reaper and Lusankya squaring off against one another and exchanging broadsides. However, Bell regarded the defenses of the Reaper to be far too strong for her E-wings, and delayed launching them until its defenses had been reduced further. Once both sides were entangled, Pellaeon sprung his trap: Dominion and six Immobilizer 418 cruisers arrived to trap the New Republic fleet in gravity wells. Endurance was destroyed with her fighters still in their hangars, and Lusankya only barely managed to escape after Rogue Squadron broke through the Interdictor screen.
The New Republic expedition ended as a debacle. Orinda was abandoned in favor of reinforcing nearby systems.
- "Despite few scattered victories, including the Battle of Orinda and the requisition of his former flagship Chimaera in the Battle of Gravlex Med, he had been unable to stop the march of history."
- ―Voren Na'al, about Admiral Pellaeon
The campaign was a resounding success for Empire. However, that same success only inspired the Moffs to order an ill-conceived offensive into the Borderland Regions the next year. The Reaper was subsequently lost at the Battle of Celanon. For the most part, the Orinda campaign was followed by six years of relative calm in the Civil War, as the New Republic was largely occupied with consolidation and dealing with internal crises with Corellia and the Duskhan League. The calm would be broken by a major New Republic offensive in 17 ABY, followed by peace accords the next year.
The performance of the Reaper in the Orinda campaign was one of a number of factors along with Operation Shadow Hand and the Black Fleet Crisis that encouraged the New Republic to begin the development of its own dreadnought analogues, namely the Mediator-class battle cruiser and the Viscount-class Star Defender.
- The Essential Chronology
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare (First identified as Orinda campaign)
Notes and referencesEdit