The Death Star III was the pinnacle of Imperial engineering, a technological behemoth that inspired fear and dread throughout the galaxy. Responsible for the destruction of two planets and billions of sentient beings, the Death Star III was the successor to the failed Death Star and Death Star II, eliminating the weaknesses and flaws inherent in its predecessors and vastly improving on all systems. In short, it was the most destructive weapon ever utilized by the Galactic Empire.
The Empire was engulfed in a power struggle and besieged on all sides by the New Republic. Imperial hopefuls dreamed of a clear-cut answer to all their problems, eliminating all opposition and restoring order. Some on the Interim Ruling Council, as early as 5 ABY, called for a new Death Star to act as a symbol of a still-strong Empire. But this was merely wishful thinking: at the time, the Empire was in such disarray, beaten and bloodied, her treasury teetering on the red, that construction of a new Death Star was simply impossible. Others on the Council argued that it would be wasteful: it would simply waste much-needed resources that would be destroyed again much like her predecessors, and it would attract the attention of the Republic, which at the time had largely ignored the remnants of the Empire as it consolidated its own territory and worked to establish its still green government.
In 6 ABY, Bacharan Valak was given control over the Council and the Imperial Military. Valak was a charismatic and effective leader, and within months of his rule he had initiated several reforms and policies that helped jump-start the waning Imperial Military. Valak's campaign to reunite the Empire was underway, and it proved largely successful: by 7 ABY, Valak had consolidated almost all of the Imperial warlords.
With Imperial morale gradually rising, Valak called a meeting of the Council in Castle Tsabak. There, Valak introduced Bevel Lemelisk, the chief engineer on the past two Death Star projects, and announced his intentions to begin construction of a third and more powerful Death Star. Valak's claim was that the Empire needed a symbol of power and order, a symbol that they could utilize to bring the Republic to its knees, and the Death Star was that symbol. Several key Council members, including Ars Dangor and Sate Pestage, reacted with rage: how could Valak expect to build such a weapon as the Empire teetered on collapse? Where would he amount the resources, credit and labor necessary for such a project? Worse of all, they said, it would only act as a primary target for the Republic that would be destroyed just like its predecessors.
But Valak was not without support. Crueya Vandron and Count Dekan voiced their support for the project, and as Lemelisk introduced the basic designs for the new Death Star, highlighting her new features, improvements, and assuring the Council that they were avoiding the catastrophic mistakes of her predecessors, Valak won over more Councilmen. With gentle nudging through the Force, Valak was able to gain approval for the Advanced Death Star Project, as it was titled. However, development was well underway even before Valak introduced the concept to the Council: he had every intention of going through with the project, with or without the support of the Council.
Valak assigned his Hand, Lara Grayson, to oversee the initial stages of development and to keep Lemelisk and the other project coordinators in line. The Death Star would be constructed over the uninhabited world of Kiltor III in the Autin system, several hundred light years from Faylar and deep within Imperial territory. Resources from all over the Empire were pooled together for construction, and slaves from recently conquered worlds were utilized as labor. Security was extremely tight: no one outside the Council, other than Lemelisk and the other project coordinators, knew of the weapon's existence. Should it leak, it could spell doom for the Empire, drawing the Republic to them like Jawas at a salvage site.
Valak kept the Republic's attention divided with Operation Stardust, capturing Pride-1 and several other key trade points in order to gain further revenue to maintain the Death Star project and the other projects that were gradually revitalizing the Imperial Military as a whole.
The initial stages of construction were rough; five months into construction, several thousand of the enslaved laborers revolted and took control of the project headquarters, a space station orbiting Kiltor III, and began executing the project coordinators. They planned to escape and alert the Republic to the Empire's plans, but were quickly subdued by a swift retaliation from Grayson and a contingent of Stormtroopers. Unfortunately for the Empire, Lemelisk and four other coordinators were killed during the stand-off, which threw a wrench in the Empire's plans. Construction was halted for an entire month as the laborers were punished, new laborers brought in, and a replacement for Lemelisk, Dr. Fria Manden, was found.
The plans for the Death Star III called for an internal shield generator that would protect the Death Star from enemy attack; unlike the Death Star II, this Death Star would not require a planet-side generator for protection, and would make the generator much more difficult to damage or destroy. Like its immediate predecessor, the Death Star III would be approximately 900 kilometers in diameter, made of quadanium steel, and equally divided into two hemispheres, themselves each subdivided into twelve zones. The Death Star III also did not sport the two-meter exhaust hole, and like the Death Star II, excess heat and gases were exhausted to space through millions of millimeter wide tubes, with highly advanced countermeasures that would seal themselves off if the walls sensed any excess of heat or energy.
It would sport thousands upon thousands of weapon emplacements and would be able to carry hundreds upon hundreds of wings of starfighters and shuttles. With a crew requirement in the multiple millions, the Empire would be unable to initially man the station: so the Empire was forced to rely on droids to fill in the gaps. Constructed lasted nearly two years. In 8 ABY, three weeks after Valak was coroneted Emperor and the Empire reunited, Valak received word that the Death Star was finished and ready for deployment.
The Great CampaignEdit
The Death Star III was ready to show itself in all its glory to the Galaxy. Crewed and ready for battle, the Death Star III left the Autin system with a defense fleet of seven Star Destroyers and hundreds of warships and support vessels. Valak himself was personally present aboard the Death Star along with key members of Imperial High Command and the Imperial Ruling Council. As the Death Star arrived at Gastus IV, Valak watched from his throne room as the Death Star descended upon the grief-stricken world. Alongside him were Pestage, Dangor, Vandron, Labatiel Atrox, Drocal Arconen, Morlok Adlerson, and other key members, all there to celebrate the christening of the weapon that would restore order to the galaxy.
Gastus IV was destroyed, taking billions of beings along with it. The Death Star III had taken its first kill. Valak had chosen the world for destruction as it lay on the axis between Ord Trasi and Roon, worlds both vital to the Sith and Valak. After Valak discovered that Jack Raven and Rhea Zuri were close to running into the two worlds by opening routes from Gastus, he decided the world had to be destroyed in order to keep the Sith worlds secret. Otherwise, Gastus held little military or strategic value, and to the onlooking Imperials aboard the Death Star, Gastus was nothing more than a demonstration for what was to come.
And indeed, much more was to come: not more than a month after destroying Gastus, the Empire invaded Mon Calamari and the Death Star once again proved her superweapon by destroying the Mon Calamari Shipyards and several New Republic warships before the military conquered Calamari itself. With the galaxy in a state of shock and fear, the Imperial Military rolled across Republic territory as per the Great Campaign's plan, seizing world and after world throughout the Inner and Mid Rims.
Valak, still a looming presence aboard the Death Star III, ordered the battlestation and her military escort to target Sluis Van next. While the Second Battle of Sluis Van proved to be tougher than most Imperial strategists had anticipated, the Death Star succeeded in wiping out the world and the military seized control of the Sluis Van Shipyards.
The Death Star had left a trail of destruction and torment in her path. Republic analysts found no weaknesses or flaws during their initial scans of the station. On O'paal, New Republic commandos infiltrated the military base and succeeded in downloading a copy of the Death Star III's plans. Upon a detailed analysis of the plans, Republic engineers could find nothing that would help them in destroying the station. Drastic measures needed to be taken, but before the Republic could plan anything, Coruscant herself fell to the Empire and the New Republic Senate was thrown into disarray, hundreds of senators imprisoned or executed, and Woren Isaal, Chief of State, killed. The Republic was at a loss.
A New HopeEdit
The Republic, operating from Chandrila, needed a new hope. They enlisted the help of Talon Karrde in 10 ABY to discover the location of the Death Star, which had not been since Sluis Van was destroyed, although reports from Caspian patrols sighted the Death Star at Dreven.
After a substantial payout, Karrde agreed to find the Death Star; after months of investigation, taken him and his organization to all corners of the galaxy, they were able to find the Death Star resting amidst the asteroid field that was once Sluis Van.
Since no weaknesses were found with the design of the Death Star, the Republic had to outright destroy the station in battle. However, the shields were an obstacle that the New Republic Navy could not surmount on her own. Crix Madine was brought in at Leia Organa Solo's behest to plan and execute an operation to disable the internal shield generators aboard the Death Star; Madine knew it was a risky mission, and was likely to result in the deaths of most if not all of the operatives included in the mission. But it was a necessary one. A dozen of the best commandos the Republic had to offer were enlisted. Calling themselves the Ghosts of Alderaan, these commandos were prepped by Madine himself and given the grueling task of infiltrating the Death Star, sabotaging the shield generators, and contacting the Fleet to give the go-ahead when the operation was successful. Using the plans stolen on O'paal, the commandos were briefed on the station's layout and the location of the shield generators. After months of training, the commandos were deployed to Sluis Van, disguised as Imperial technicians, and the countdown started.
With Valak having returned to Dreven in the wake of the Great Campaign, the Death Star fell to the command of Moff Devron Nuleshek. Valak gave the orders for the Death Star to deploy from Sluis Van after the arrival of the Imperial First Fleet under the command of Admiral Dyne Haederfeld and to destroy Mon Calamari. Valak had received rumors of a growing movement on Calamari that could spill over into civil war; Valak's fears would later be realized with the advent of the True Empire and the Imperial Civil War, as the Death Star was never able to destroy the world: she was stopped at Sluis Van by the Republic.
The commandos had succeeded in sabotaging the station, but at a cost: eight of them were killed, another three managed to escape, and one was captured and brought to the Death Star's main command center to be interrogated by Nuleshek and Haederfeld directly. As this interrogation went underway, the New Republic Navy arrived in system, bolstered by assistance from the Griffons Alliance in the form of their entire Griffon Armada. The Imperial First Fleet and the Death Star's own defensive force were outnumbered by the combined Republic-Griffons assault. But this was no battle intended to be fought out like a typical capital ship battle... the Republic had other plans.
A second Republic fleet arrived during the battle, led by Lando Calrissian. This fleet numbered in the thousands, ranging from small starships to mighty Mon Calamari warships. But each ship was devoid of human crew. Manned with only a skeleton crew of droids and packed to the rim in explosives, this fleet was intended to ram into the Death Star and cause the mighty station to implode. The Republic strategists hoped that the multiple explosions would eventually cause a chain reaction that would destroy the main reactor and wipe out the station.
As the ramships descended upon the now unshielded Death Star, Haederfeld refused to order an evacuation; however, due to the slow process by which the Death Star was gradually being destroyed, most of the crew was able to escape as the explosions tore the Death Star apart. After several minutes, the chain reaction started, and the Death Star imploded, taking thousands of Imperial crew with her. At a loss, the Fleet fell under the command of Danik Kreldin who ordered a quick retreat to Selene to regroup and sort out the disaster that had befallen the Empire.
Valak received the news in his Castle and executed the messenger in a horrific manner. In his anger, Valak then executed Dr. Manden, Lemelisk's successor after his untimely death, and all the surviving project coordinators. The Death Star had been destroyed, and his trump card which he had used to keep the Galactic Confederation in line had been lost. Worse yet, some of the best minds in the Military were lost aboard the station, including Haederfeld and Nuleshek.
With confusion and low morale spreading throughout the Empire, Palpatine took the opportunity to reveal himself and the True Empire to the galaxy on Mon Calamari, starting the Imperial Civil War which further threw the Empire into chaos and eventually led to Valak's own abdication.
As for the Republic, they were free from the threat of the Death Star. However, they had sacrificed a good portion of their Military in destroying the station, a sacrifice which would later come back to haunt the Republic in three years time: at a loss of ships, the Republic would be unable to turn back the tide of the Imperial Blitzkrieg that swept the galaxy under the control of the Empire. Nevertheless, most had no doubts about the choice the Republic made, realizing it was a necessary act that had to be done: if the Death Star had been allowed to continue operating for even one more year, untold more planets could have been destroyed by the Empire, and the Republic itself virtually wiped out.
Furthermore, the Griffons had openly betrayed the Empire by assisting the Republic in the battlestation's destruction, violating the pact they had made with the Empire by joining the Confederation. Due to their betrayal, the Empire enacted revenge on the Griffons, conquering Mutanda, and assaulting and later destroying Cochran, leading to the total collapse of the Griffons Alliance.
While the Death Star was the ultimate development in Imperial technology and succeeded in destroying two worlds, it ultimately was destroyed through the sheer willpower of the Republic, who fought to the bitter end to see the battlestation destroyed, and through the arrogance of the Imperial commanders and Valak himself, who failed to learn their lessons from Tarkin and Palpatine. Since the Death Star III, no attempts at a new superweapon have been made by the Empire, High Command realizing that it will take much more than a superweapon to defeat the ideals and spirit of the Republic.