The Taking of Kuat was a battle fought between Imperial and New Republic forces during the Galactic Civil War for control of the planet Kuat and its vital shipyards, owned by the Imperial-aligned company Kuat Drive Yards, in 8.5 ABY. The Imperial forces at Kuat—led by Admiral Teren Rogriss and consisting of the Star Dreadnought Aurora, three battlecruisers, and over a dozen Star Destroyers—faced only the Republic RZ-1 A-wing interceptors of Surprise Squadron.
However, the ion weaponry of the A-wings disabled the systems of four cruisers, while a virus caused five Imperial warships to turn their Turbolasers on allies. That turn of events, plus the fact that the New Republic owned a significant portion of the KDY shares and had Mon Calamari Star Cruisers stationed near the Kuat system, prompted the leading members of KDY to surrender to the New Republic forces, under the command of military figures Admiral Gial Ackbar, Wedge Antilles, Tycho Celchu, and Airen Cracken, as well as Minister of Commerce Ral'Rai Muvunc.
During the Galactic Civil War, a conflict between the Galactic Empire and New Republic, the forces of the New Republic were victorious in the campaign against Warlord Zsinj, who ruled a significant expanse of territory. Following this success, in 8.5 ABY New Republic forces prepared to seize the vital shipbuilding facilities of Kuat Drive Yards located at the Imperial world Kuat after the Alliance to Restore the Republic, the New Republic's predecessor, failed at a previous attempt four years previously. The Kuati Sector Forces protecting Kuat contained the Star Dreadnought Aurora, three battlecruisers—the Stellar Halo, Luminous, and Event Horizon—along with more than a dozen Star Destroyers, and was under the command of Admiral Teren Rogriss, sent from the Imperial world of Orinda to helm the Aurora.
Prominent New Republic military figures Commander Wedge Antilles and Captain Tycho Celchu, along with Minister of Commerce Ral'Rai Muvunc and General Airen Cracken, created the plan to take Kuat by exploiting certain holes in the KDY security, while Admiral Gial Ackbar commanded the fleet that contained the units that the New Republic would use to capture Kuat. In the eight months preceding the battle, a holding company of which Muvunc was the chief executive acquired thirty-four percent of KDY shares from various investment companies and private trusts who had purchased the shares, almost valueless since the Empire had gained complete control of KDY's affairs, from various KDY investors. The New Republic assembled a large fleet of Mon Calamari Star Cruiser capital ships at the Horthav system, very close to Kuat.
Cracken, who was also the Director of the New Republic Intelligence Service, had slicers under his guidance work for months to insert astromech droids into the KDY droid pool and onto five key Kuati warships, including the Event Horizon. The droids loaded a coded virus that erased all instances of its malignant programming onto the systems of all five warships. After the virus was finished uploading, a transmission was sent from the Event Horizon to the Venir system, where Surprise Squadron, a group of RZ-1 A-wing interceptors equipped with experimental ion torpedoes and commanded by Celchu, waited.
Led by Celchu, Surprise Squadron jumped to the Kuat system, engaging the Kuati Sector Forces in the first action of the Taking of Kuat. Moments later, the crews of the Luminous and three other Star Destroyers struggled to get the warships' systems back after they were knocked out by the ion torpedoes of the A-wings. Due to the virus installed in their systems, the Event Horizon and the other four Star Destroyers locked down their hangars and turned their Turbolasers on the other Kuati warships. In the midst of the battle, Muvunc held an emergency shareholder meeting with the directors of KDY, where Muvunc brought to light the fact that he owned the company that controlled thirty-four percent of the Kuati shares, therefore also controlling thirty-four percent of the company.
After some members pointed out that control of KDY was a military affair, Muvunc managed to convince three members of the board to vote their shares, which aggregated eighteen percent, in favor of surrendering to the New Republic after he informed the directors that his allies had taken out nine warships in a matter of minutes, and that the Mon Calamari cruisers could be in the Kuati system in moments. With the majority of KDY wanting to surrender, excluding KDY Chairman Kateel of Kuhlvult, the New Republic gained a victory without losing a single pilot's life. Admiral Rogriss and his command crew were permitted to safely withdraw back to Orinda after Rogriss ordered a retreat.
With Kuat and its subsidiary systems in their hands, the New Republic controlled a third of the settled galaxy and had at its disposal the unparalleled shipbuilding docks of KDY, which were vital to any war effort. However, Imperial forces would not give up so easily. Only hours after Kuat's surrender, Imperial undercover agents attacked Kuat, activating the hyperdrives of the Aurora and Stellar Halo and sending them into Kuat's sun, as well as abducting KDY's key designers and fleeing to the Deep Core of the galaxy aboard the half-complete Eclipse-class dreadnought Eclipse. The Imperial agents also triggered explosives that heavily damaged Kuat's shipyards, so much so that construction on new ships was delayed indefinitely. However, despite the damage and the loss of senior KDY designers, the New Republic was soon pumping out warships to add to Ackbar's fleet via the Kuat shipyards. As a result of the victory, Ackbar worked on fortifying the New Republic's recent gain, while Warlord Treuten Teradoc, a former Imperial, fell back to his own territory of the Greater Maldrood instead of continuing his hit-and-run attacks on the New Republic.
Behind the scenes
- "Here's a story I'd always wanted to tell, and figured I'd never get the chance—the downfall of one of the Empire's major fortress worlds. I was amazed when Warfare rolled around, nobody had tackled it yet, and I realized I'd get my wish. And then I was stressed out, because I didn't want a big fleet action or starfighter heroics—I wanted something nobody would see coming."
- ―Author Jason Fry, on writing the specifics of the battle
The Taking of Kuat was first mentioned in 2000's The Essential Chronology, written by Daniel Wallace and Kevin J. Anderson, which outlined the basics of the battle only. It also received a mention in 2005's The New Essential Chronology, written by the same authors who wrote the original chronology, and 2009's The Essential Atlas, written by Wallace and Jason Fry. Specifics of the Taking of Kuat were not released until 2012, when Fry's and Paul R. Urquhart's book The Essential Guide to Warfare was released with a detailed description of the battle. Fry later wrote in his endnotes to Warfare that he had always wanted to tell the story of the Taking of Kuat, getting his chance to do so finally in Warfare. He wanted something that nobody would see coming as a major part of the battle, instead of a skirmish between rival fleets; Fry wrote Muvunc's part in the battle's result as an homage to The Face, a book written by Jack Vance.
A few inconsistencies exist between the information portrayed in The Essential Chronology, The Essential Atlas, and The Essential Guide to Warfare. The Chronology infers that a fleet battle took place, damaging the stardocks, and Rogriss retreated after being bloodied in the battle. This is not supported in Warfare, which states that no fleet battle took place and that Rogriss left for Orinda before the Imperial undercover counterattack damaged the shipyards. The Chronology and the Atlas state that the lead KDY designers escaped Kuat of their own will, with the Atlas also adding that the staff fled during the battle, while Warfare has them abducted by the Imperial agents during the attack afterward. On all of these points, this article assumes that Warfare is correct, as it is the most recent source published.
- The Essential Chronology (First mentioned)
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare