- "They're heading for the Medical Frigate."
- ―Wedge Antilles, during the Battle of Endor
The Redemption was an EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate in service to the Rebel Alliance Fleet. Originally a standard Nebulon-B frigate, it was heavily modified to serve as the fleet's primary medical frigate during the Galactic Civil War. The ship was fitted with the most advanced medical equipment available, including bacta tanks, operating theaters capable of treating multiple species, and a full complement of medical droids. The Redemption could treat up to 745 patients simultaneously and 98% made a full recovery, with most returning to duty within days. These changes came at the expense of its defensive capabilities, with several of the vessel's weapons removed, along with its starfighter complement.
The ship traveled with the Alliance Fleet, often into combat situations, and saw action several times, including the Ison Corridor ambush, the Battle of Eidoloni, and the Battle of Kothlis. Following his duel with Darth Vader in Cloud City, Luke Skywalker received treatment aboard the Redemption at the Rebel rendezvous point. It later joined the Alliance Fleet gathering near Sullust in preparation to assault the second Death Star in the Endor system. However, the Redemption was destroyed during the Battle of Endor when the rogue assassin droid IG-88A, secretly in control of the Death Star, used the battlestation's superlaser against it.
Design and propulsion
The Redemption was originally a standard Kuat Drive Yards EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate. Like all ships of its class, the Redemption was 300 meters in length, 72 meters wide, and 166 meters high, and comprised a main section connected to a smaller propulsion module by a slender neck. Though originally designed to escort convoys, the vessel later underwent a number of modifications to allow it to serve as a dedicated hospital ship.
The Redemption had an array of seven Galaxy-15 ion engines, located at the rear of the propulsion module, together with a Class 2 Triple Taim hyperdrive for hyperspace travel. The sublight engines made it capable of achieving acceleration of 1,200 G in a vacuum and a maximum speed of 800 kilometers per hour in an atmosphere or forty MGLT. The Redemption's aft section also housed its main reactor and fuel tanks, along with main engineering and the chief engineer's quarters. A pair of static discharge vanes were located underneath the propulsion module.
The main bridge was approximately half way up the main section, facing in the direction of the ship's travel, and featured a raised command platform. A meeting room was located near the bridge, as were quarters for both officers and passengers, which were positioned on the decks above it. A series of turbolift shafts allowed movement between decks in both the main and propulsion sections, while an access corridor ran through the connecting engineering boom, permitting the crew to move between the two sections.
Due to the limited resources available to the Alliance, Rebel starships had to be flexible enough to serve in multiple roles. As a result, the Redemption was fitted with sensors and communications equipment to allow it to function as a a battle command base. A primary communications array was located on top of the main section, on the left side of the ship, with a smaller short-range communications array positioned further aft. Forward and aft sensor units were located toward the bottom of this section, as was the main Fabritech ANs-9.5w wide range sensor system. The ship's emergency batteries and recycling systems were located further up the main section.
Armament and docking facilities
When it was first constructed, the Redemption was equipped with twelve turbolaser batteries for use against capital ships and a further twelve laser cannons, which used precision tracking servos and advanced targeting computers to target fast-moving starfighters. When it was refitted to serve as a medical frigate, much of the Redemption's weaponry was removed to make way for medical facilities. Following the refit, the Redemption was left with six Taim & Bak XI7 turbolasers and eight Borstel Galactic Defense RH8 laser cannons. The primary forward turbolaser and laser cannon were located on the lower primary section of the Redemption's superstructure, covering the direction in which the ship was traveling, with an upper turbolaser turret postitioned on top of the main section towards the bow.Frigates such as the Redemption, although well-armed, were vulnerable to TIE fighter attacks.
Nebulon-B frigates were often used as bases for starfighter raids and the Redemption originally had hangar space for two full squadrons of TIE fighters. The starfighter launch bay was later transformed into a large medical facility, with much of the hangar space was taken up by bacta tanks and recovery areas. Although the Redemption could still carry a small number of starfighters—at least three T-65 X-wing starfighters— it was left largely dependent on support ships to defend it during combat. Small ships could still dock to transfer patients to and from the Redemption using one of several docking fixtures, including two retractable docking tubes located along the engineering boom and a casualty boarding bay in the main section. When going into combat situations, the Redemption could carry a limited number of starfighters attached to the docking tubes, and the ship could continue to move through space while another vessel was attached, pulling the smaller vessel along. A dedicated cargo bay was located towards the bottom of the main section.
The reduced weaponry and loss of a starfighter complement was compensated by the enhanced Delphus JC-671 deflector shield generator on top of the propulsion module, a Serridge SEAL shielding system, and a titanium-reinforced alloy hull. The Rebels also used the refit to install redundant systems, including backup power generators, shield projectors, and life support systems. The vessel was equipped with two Phylon Q7 tractor beam projectors, which could be used to rescue crippled friendly starfighters or capture disabled enemy ships. The forward tractor beam was located at the bow of the ship.
The Redemption had complete medical facilities, located on several decks in the main section, and containing the most sophisticated medical equipment available. Central to the medical facilities were sixteen bacta tanks for healing of skin injuries, including burns and lacerations. The bacta tanks enhanced the body's own ability to regenerate skin and muscle tissue, speeding up healing and preventing septic infections with little scarring or adhesion development. The bacta tanks were operated by 2-1B surgical droids, while the ship's main medical computer monitored and timed treatments. Diagnostic computers and genetic reconstruction tools allowed the 2-1B droids to create cybernetic prosthetics with tactile sensitivity to replace lost limbs.
On the decks surrounding the bacta tanks were a cluster of intensive care units, operating theaters, and recovery wards to house the patients aboard the ship. Special facilities were available for non-oxygen breathers, including ammonia chambers. Quarters for medical personnel were located fore of the bacta tanks, as were the ship's blood banks, and its supply of fresh water was located nearby. The Redemption had its own morgue and laboratories capable of analyzing and containing pathogens, as well as a dedicated section for storing medical equipment and up to 6,000 metric tons of related cargo.
The Redemption's range of medical facilities allowed most injuries and conditions to be treated aboard. At full capacity, the ship had enough beds to treat 745 patients simultaneously with minimal waiting time for facilities, and achieved higher recovery rates than many planetside hospitals—almost 98% of patients made a full recovery and most were ready to return to duty within a couple of days.
- "As quickly as I could, I locked up and fired on the other two Bombers. I knew that I couldn't afford a miss because my computer told me that the Warspite had returned to normal space—on the side of the Medical Frigate opposite me—and it was launching more TIEs!"
- ―Keyan Farlander, from his after-action report on the skirmish near Brigia
Kuat Drive Yards originally developed the EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate for the Galactic Empire, to help defend Imperial convoys from attack by Rebel starfighters. However, due to Rebel capture operations, along with defections by Imperial forces, many of the frigates came to be part of the Alliance Fleet. The ships proved vital for the Alliance in many early campaigns, but as the Rebels acquired larger vessels, the Nebulon-Bs were converted for other uses, including command ships, long-range reconnaissance and search, and rescue frigates. The Redemption was one of the converted frigates and, by 1 BBY, was one of at least two Nebulon-Bs serving as medical frigates in the Alliance Fleet. The Alliance considered medical attention at the site of conflict to be a high priority, so the Redemption traveled with the Fleet, often directly into combat situations. The ship soon proved its worth in helping to save the lives of many Rebel pilots and crew, and was considered one of the hardest working vessels in the Alliance Fleet.
In 1 BBY, the Redemption hosted wounded personnel who survived the evacuation of Brigia during the early stages of the Operation Strike Fear, a major Imperial offensive aimed at eliminating the Rebellion. The majority of the wounded arrived aboard the CR90 corvette Korolev, with three Lambda-class T-4a shuttles from Medevac group bringing the rest. Four X-wings from Red Squadron were assigned to provide cover for the transfer of wounded to the Redemption.
The transfer was interrupted by the arrival of the Imperial Nebulon-B frigate Warspite, which launched one wave of TIE bombers and one of TIE fighters before jumping back to hyperspace. The defending starfighters moved to engage the incoming Imperials, but the Warspite soon returned on the other side of the Redemption and launched an additional wave of both types of TIE, hoping to catch the Rebels out of position. Red Squadron, and particularly Keyan Farlander, by ignoring the personal threat of the TIE fighters to eliminate the TIE bombers attacking the Korolev, were able to eliminate the Imperials and protect the transfer. After the Korolev followed the shuttles in delivering the wounded, the Rebel ships escaped into hyperspace. The mission was later recreated as a training scenario for New Republic pilots. Though officially known as the "Redemption scenario," the difficulty of saving the Korolev led many pilots to refer to it as the "Requiem scenario."
The new Rebel base
- "We're almost out of this mess. If we can just make it through this nebula, we're all clear."
"I've got a bad feeling about this."
- ―The Redemption's captain and Luke Skywalker during the Ison Corridor ambush
After the Alliance destroyed the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin, they were forced to evacuate their base on Yavin 4. While it traveled with the Alliance Fleet in early 0 ABY, the Redemption was used as a base of operations for the smuggler-turned-Rebel Han Solo's Millennium Falcon and the X-wings of Princess Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles as they scouted the Outer Rim for a suitable location for a new base. Alliance Chief of State Mon Mothma visited the ship around this time to discuss the search with Organa.
The Rebels eventually chose the remote ice world of Hoth to act as their new headquarters. Soon after Echo Base was established, the Redemption, along with three members of Red Squadron, including Skywalker and Antilles, joined a convoy of six GR-75 medium transports carrying supplies to the new base. The Redemption served as the command ship for the convoy. The convoy was due to rendezvous with another convoy in the Ison Corridor before proceeding to Hoth, but emerged from hyperspace to discover that the other convoy had been destroyed. Despite the possibility of attack, the convoy was unable to jump straight back into hyperspace, and needed to move through the debris field first. However, it soon came under attack by TIE fighters, which moved against the Rebel transports from three different directions. Red Squadron was able to defeat the first wave of TIEs, but with more incoming, they docked with the Redemption to swap their X-wings for the faster RZ-1 A-wing interceptors that were being transported aboard. The second wave of TIEs was soon destroyed and the convoy entered a nearby nebula, beyond which they would be able to enter hyperspace. However, the convoy came under further attack from TIE interceptors in the nebula, before the Redemption finally emerged and fled into hyperspace with the other surviving convoy ships.
In 3 ABY, the Rebels were again forced on the run after their defeat at the Battle of Hoth. The Redemption joined the remnants of the Alliance Fleet at their rendezvous point, beyond the edge of the galaxy, above the galactic equatorial plane. Among those treated aboard the ship at this time were Luke Skywalker and the Gand bounty hunter Zuckuss. Zuckuss, together with his partner 4-LOM, had helped rescue ninety Rebels from the GR-75 medium transport Bright Hope, which had been disabled while escaping Hoth. In exchange, the Rebels agreed to treat the ammonia-breathing Gand for damage caused to his lungs by oxygen inhalation. After the group arrived aboard the Mist Hunter, the medical droids 2-1B and FX-7 rushed Zuckuss to the surgical bay, before 2-1B was called away to assist with Skywalker's operation. Working inside a special ammonia chamber, medical droids were able to regrow the damaged tissue inside Zuckuss, giving him functioning lungs within just a few days of the operation. For her part in ensuring that the Bright Hope survivors made it safely back to the Alliance, Echo Base's chief communications officer, Toryn Farr, was awarded the Kalidor Crescent and a promotion to commander in a ceremony led by General Carlist Rieekan aboard the Redemption.
After fleeing Hoth, Skywalker had lost his hand in a duel with Darth Vader on Cloud City. He arrived at the rendezvous point aboard the Millennium Falcon, having already had his condition stabilized using the ship's medical bed, and was taken to the Redemption's microsurgery room. There, a team of neurospecialists and medical droids, including 2-1B, replaced his severed hand with a biosynthetic prosthetic. 2-1B suggested that it might have been possible to perform a more effective procedure at some point in the future, but that Skywalker would have to make do with the prosthetic until then. Nevertheless, Skywalker was able to return to duty soon after the operation and was using his new hand just as well as his old one within two days. As 2-1B carried out the final attachment of the prosthetic, Skywalker was visited by Lando Calrissian, who was due to depart for Tatooine in the Millennium Falcon in search of the captured Han Solo. The droid agreed to allow Skywalker, along with Leia Organa, to observe the departure of the Millennium Falcon from the surgery suite window.
Skywalker and Organa remained on the Redemption after the Millennium Falcon's departure while he recovered from his surgery. They were still aboard when the Rebels were discovered by an Imperial Strike-class medium cruiser within hours of the Falcon's departure. The Rebels could not afford to allow the Empire to learn of their location, and so they jammed the enemy ship's communications while Rogue Squadron moved to intercept it. Rogue Squadron was able to eliminate the enemy vessel before it could escape to report their location, but the Rebels decided to alter course as a precaution.
Alliance on the run
- "Liberty, this is the Redemption! We're under attack. We're being pinned down by an Interdictor and can't hyper!"
"Redemption, this is the Liberty. Help is on the way."
- ―Kupalo and Yamarus
Following the retreat from Hoth, the Redemption became part of the task force led by the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Liberty. During this time, the Alliance received several transmissions from an Imperial informant, one Commander Zaletta, who eventually provided them with his location, aboard Outpost DX-11a in the Eidoloni system, and announced his intention to defect. Alliance High Command dispatched Commander Kupalo aboard the Redemption to rendezvous with Zaletta and discuss the terms of his defection. The Redemption was escorted to the rendezvous point by four X-wings from Red Squadron, and remained there while its escort proceeded to DX-11a and created a diversion, allowing Zaletta to escape aboard the shuttle AA-23. After returning to the rendezvous point, AA-23 docked in the Redemption's hangar and the frigate prepared to return to the Liberty. However, before it could jump to hyperspace, the Redemption was ambushed by the Immobilizer 418 cruiser Restrainer and the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Subjugator. Kupalo placed Zaletta in custody and called the Liberty to assist. After the Liberty arrived, the Rebel forces were able to destroy the Restrainer and allow the Redemption to return safely to the Rebel Fleet. It later emerged that Zaletta's defection was genuine and that it was Kupalo, having been previously captured and brainwashed, who had summoned the Imperial forces to the rendezvous.
Around the same time, the Alliance was seeking to establish a new base of operations in the Airam sector of the Outer Rim Territories. The Imperial Navy soon dispatched a task force to search the sector for the Rebel forces, forcing the Alliance to evacuate their bases in the outlying regions. While evacuating the Hormuuz facility near Gelgelar, the Rebels came under heavy attack from Imperial forces. Although the Alliance successfully evacuated the station's crew, many of them suffered serious injuries during the heavy bombardment inflicted on the station. The Redemption was promptly dispatched to rendezvous with their transports, so the injured could be treated before joining the other Rebel forces gathering in the sector.
The rendezvous point was selected in an isolated area, far from most inhabited star systems and Imperial patrol routes. Even so, the Rebels took no chances and assigned Rogue and Gold Squadrons to fly cover in Z-95 Headhunters while the wounded were transferred to the Redemption. The wounded soon arrived aboard the GR-75 medium transports T-37, T-38, and T-39, along with the Lambda-class shuttle Compassion and medical supplies on the YT-1300 light freighter Lanigiro, but the transfer operation was interrupted by the arrival of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Nemesis. The Star Destroyer launched starfighters to destroy the transports as they docked with the Redemption, but Rogue and Gold Squadrons were able to hold them off long enough for all the patients to be moved to the hospital ship and for the Rebel ships to escape into hyperspace.
The second Death Star
Later that year, the Rebels learned that the Empire was constructing a second Death Star. A Rebel operation was able to capture the plans to the new battlestation, which were taken aboard the CR90 corvette Razor. The Redemption, escorted by Rogue Squadron in B-wing starfighters, was sent to rendezvous with the Razor near Kothlis and escort it safely to Alliance High Command. They arrived to find the Razor already under attack from the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Motivator, and Rogue Squadron moved to destroy the Imperial vessel. The Imperials responded by attacking the Redemption, but Rogue Squadron was able to eliminate the Star Destroyer's shields and ion cannons before destroying its bridge, causing the Motivator to crash onto the planet below.
The captured information revealed that the second Death Star was being constructed in orbit of the Forest Moon of Endor and that the battlestation's superlaser was not yet operational, its only defense being a deflector shield projected from the moon below. Furthermore, Emperor Palpatine was known to be personally overseeing the final stages of construction, presenting the Rebels with an opportunity to deal a major blow to the Empire. In 4 ABY, the Alliance began to gather their forces near Sullust in preparation to attack the Death Star. The Redemption was one of the last ships to head to the rallying point, as part of the task force led by the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Independence. The task force encountered a number of Imperial patrols on the way as the Empire conducted a major search for the Rebels. For the final leg of the journey, the group was to rendezvous with A-wings from the Liberty that would escort them the rest of the way. However, the escort was delayed after assisting the Defiance's group as it came under Imperial attack and, by the time they arrived, the Redemption and the other ships in the task force had come under attack from the Star Destroyers Immortal, Protector, and Vanguard. While the A-wings moved to clear the area of the enemy TIEs, particularly the TIE bombers that were launching proton torpedoes toward the Independence, Admiral Gial Ackbar, aboard the Independence, ordered B-wings to launch and counterattack the Star Destroyers. The Rebel fighters were able to hold the Imperials back long enough for the task force ships, including the Redemption, to escape to hyperspace.
Soon after the last of the Rebel ships arrived at the rendezvous point, a commando team, led by General Han Solo, set off to Endor to destroy the shield generator bunker protecting the Death Star. The Alliance Fleet followed soon after to begin their assault. The Redemption joined the fleet for the Battle of Endor, going into combat despite its classification as a medical frigate. However, the Rebels arrived to find that they had been lured into a trap—the Death Star's shields were still up, its primary weapon was already operational, and a full fleet of Star Destroyers waited to eliminate the Rebels. The medical frigate came under attack from numerous TIE interceptors and several TIE bombers, but quick action by the Millennium Falcon and the X-wings of Red Squadron saved it from destruction. Ultimately, however, the Redemption was obliterated by the second Death Star's powerful superlaser, secretly controlled by the bounty hunter IG-88A. Despite the loss of the Redemption, Solo's team was finally able to bring down the shields, allowing Rebel starfighters to enter the Death Star's superstructure, destroying the battlestation.
Commanders and crew
The Redemption had a full staff of eighty medical personnel. Rebel medics were highly trained in the field treatment of common injuries, including blaster wounds, chemical poisoning, fractures, and vacuum exposure. The medics could stabilize most serious wounds until the patient could be seen by one of the ship's specialists, such as its team of neurospecialists, or by one of its thirty medical droids, all of which were programmed to treat trauma patients. In addition to the medical staff, the ship had a crew of 850, comprising seventy-seven officers and 773 enlisted personnel, sixty-six gunners, and seventy-five troops. The Redemption was commanded by a female captain from some point prior to the Battle of Hoth until its destruction at the Battle of Endor.
Behind the scenes
The Redemption was created for the 1993 LucasArts video game Star Wars: X-Wing, as one of two Rebel medical frigates, along with the Salvation. In the game, the Redemption appears in the fourth mission of Tour of Duty 1, "Protect Medical Frigate," which requires players to eliminate waves of TIE bombers approaching the frigate from opposite directions while a series of Rebel ships dock with it. The difficulty of the mission can be reduced by exploiting a loophole in the game—only the Korolev is required to dock successfully and players can make it dock with the Redemption more quickly by ordering the shuttles to jump to hyperspace at the start of the mission. Author Michael A. Stackpole included a training scenario based on the X-Wing mission in his 1996 novel X-Wing: Rogue Squadron.
The Cloud City Limited and Death Star II Limited expansion sets to the Star Wars Customizable Card Game by Decipher, Inc., along with the 1998 LucasArts interactive CD-ROM Star Wars: Behind the Magic, later revealed that the Redemption was the previously unnamed medical frigate that first appeared in Irvin Kershner's 1980 film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and that this was the same vessel that later appeared in the 1983 sequel, Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, directed by Richard Marquand.
As production of The Empire Strikes Back neared completion, Star Wars creator George Lucas decided that a new ship model was needed and tasked the model shop with creating the medical frigate on October 1, 1979. Nilo Rodis-Jamero produced an initial concept sketch for the ship, which, at Lucas's suggestion, was designed to resemble an outboard motor. Early designs of the Redemption called for subdued colors and a heavily aged look to the ship's hull. Rodis-Jamero's final design was approved and turned over to the model shop to be turned into a three-dimensional model. One of the last models to be created for the film and only identified as the "Rebel medical frigate star cruiser," the model measured 50 x 247 x 99 centimeters and was part constructed from plastic model kits, including miniature boat hulls, a B-29 Superfortress fuselage, and aircraft carriers. The two halves of the ship were connected by a painted industrial PVC pipe. The shot of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, R2-D2, and C-3PO looking through the surgery suite window was achieved by using rear-projection photography.
The Redemption also appeared in two sequels to Star Wars: X-Wing, 1997's Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power and 1999's Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance. Balance of Power gave players the choice of flying for either the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire as the two sides fight for control of the Airam sector. This article assumes that the Rebel campaign is the canonical outcome.
There are some minor inconsistencies between sources describing the Redemption. Starlog's 1994 third volume of the Star Wars Technical Journal established that the ship carried fifteen bacta tanks, a figure that was also used in The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels in 1996. The 2003 reference book The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels and 2013's Star Wars: Complete Vehicles, however, give the number of bacta tanks as sixteen. The Star Wars Technical Journal also placed the size of the ship's crew at 850, while the slightly larger number of 854 was used in Behind the Magic.