Novel References

Slave Ship

1Chapter 1
11Chapter 2
23Chapter 3

From here, the construction docks and engineering facilities of Kuat Drive Yards could be seen, stretching out toward the range of stars spiraliing in the limitless distance. Generations of the Kuat bloodline had first created, then transformed the corporation into the apotheosis of industrial production; at the fringes of Kuat Drive yards, immense freighters disgorged the raw materials stripped from other star systems, all to be forged into the ships and weaponry of the Imperial Navy. Even as the multi-leveled disc of the corporation's physical plant slowly revovled on its axis, battle cruisers and destroyers bristled with yet-unfired armaments, the reinforced plates of the hulls welded onto the structural frames by articulated laser torches, the glare brighter than the depleted sun at the centre of the former planet's orbit.

location: Kuat Drive Yards, physical description and regular activity.


Kuat Drive Yards owed no allegiance to anything but itself, harbored no great ideals other than its own survival and independence, a state within whatever larger state prevailed beyond the corporation. If that other, encompassing state were the old Republic, the Empire that had over thrown it, or whatever vision of universal freedom that the Rebel Alliance wished to bring about — that meant nothing to Kuat or Kuat. Eventually, one side or the other would win out; if it was Emperor Palpatine, or Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker and the forces for which they had both become symbols and leaders, all that Kuat wished to make sure of was that Kuat Drive Yards was on a friendly — or at least neutral — basis with the victors. Whoever won, there would be a need afterward for cruisers and destroyers, and all the other fearsome equipage of interplanetary warfare.


Mere greed and all the cascading layers of misunderstanding would be enough to dictate the presence of some kind of order-keeping force. And that meant armaments, and the ability to deliver their firepower across vast distances.

KDY attends to basic tactical security needs of civilisation, and does not really favour either side of the Galactic Civil War. In the several of the later X-Wing novels it seems that KDY provides the New Republic with information about the construction of Executor-class commandships: the Executor and Lusankya, but the headquarters planet of Kuat appears to be in the thrall of entrenched Imperial forces at the time of X-Wing: Iron Fist. What was the eventual fate of Kuat of Kuat? Were those ostensibly Imperial forces actually under his control, ensuring neutrality and fending off men such as Warlord Zsinj, or was his planet an unwilling hostage of another warlord?


The much-vaunted Death Star hadn't been a Kuat Drive yards project — Kuat of Kuat himself had forbade the organisation from even making a bid on any of its subsystems — but the reasoning behind it had been understandable.

.... "Force and terror accomplish what reason and understanding cannot."

The Kuat family had been in business a long time, supplying instruments of force and terror. His reluctance to get involved with any aspect of the Death Star's construction hadn't been based on a moral objection, but purely practical. Kuat Drive Yards' wealth and power came from building warships, and the Death Star, if it had succeeded in the Imperial admirals' purposes, would have wiped out much of the need for such expensive — and profitable — craft. .... Speed was not so important as maneuverability; the Death Star's hyperspace capabilities had not been enough to outweigh other elements of military force, such as numerical superiority. No Death Star could be made so powerful and impervious to attack as to outweigh the loss of those factors.

Kuat of Kuat recapitulates the reasons for KDY non-participation in the Death Star project; and he ponders the fundamental tactical and strategic flaws of the battle-station concept.


"Slave I was found by a routine security patrol of the Rebel Alliance. .... For some time now, the Empire has ceded control of that sector to the Alliance, inasmuch as it has little apparent strategic value. That may change, of course, when we deliver the new additions to the Imperial Fleet."

That was Kuat's own analysis of the situation. Tatooin was at the edge of the galaxy, far from the important and highly developed sectors that formed the core of the Empire. Palpatine could write off the entire zone and it would result in little real loss, either economically or militarily. At least in the short run — but leaving the sector in the hands of the Alliance would certainly give Palpatine's foes a development and staging area for the rest of their campaign against the Empire. Sooner or later, Imperial ships and troops would have to sweep through the sector and reestablish control; the Empire couldn't tolerate this festering — and rapidly expanding — wound in its side.

It appears that the Rebel Alliance has tacit control over some marginal sectors of the galaxy at the time of Return of the Jedi, including the one in which Tatooine is situated.


The Emperor had already shown his disregard for maintaining the galaxy's customer base, by sanctioning the late Governor Tarkin's destruction of the planet Alderaan with the massive firepower of the original Death Star. That had personally rankled Kuat; there had been an outstanding contract with the local government on Alderaan for a utility fleet of perimeter observation scouts and orbital customs stations, all to be furnished at a considerable profit by Kuat Drive Yards. The units had been just about ready to leave the KDY construction docks and head off in a delivery flotilla to Alderaan when the word of their destination being reduced to a few charred ashes drifting in navigable space had reached Kuat of Kuat. A near-total write-down for the corporation, salvageable only in part by breaking up the undelivered vessels and recycling some of their components into the next order for Imperial battle cruisers.

Superficially, the text would imply small scout craft, in keeping with Alderaan's pacifist pretensions, however the fact that components were usefully reincorporated into Imperial battlecruisers indicates that these vessels were effective naval hardware. They may have been formidable warships, part of the covert re-armament program alluded to in the Star Wars Encyclopedia and elsewhere. At the very least, the fact that they were capable of independent interstellar flight indicates something more versatile than the usual kind of system patrol craft. Their designation as "scouts" may have been duplicitous, intended to maintain Alderaan's illusion of peacability.


The final signal flare, red this time, coursed across the field of stars above Kuat Drive Yards. That meant all KDY personnel had been cleared from the dock where the completed Imperial battle cruiser lay waiting, still shrouded in service lines and access canopies.

There was no need for a signal from him; everything happened automatically from this point. A simple embedded fuse catalysed the pyrogenic compounds interlaced in the shrouding material; the oxygen still captured inside the canopies' folds was sufficient for the christening of fire, the purging of everything that wasn't hardened durasteel.

In seconds, the battle cruiser had been wrapped in flames, churning in upon themselves, absent the rising convection effects that would have been caused by a surrounding atmosphere. The surrounding canopies had already blackened and been torn into great, ragged-edged sheets of ash, dissolving into nothingness as the last fiery glow dissipated. from the construction dock, the battle cruiser rose slightly, a perfect weapon, cleansed and tempered.

Birth ritual of a warship from Kuat Drive Yards. The presence of these air-filled canopies is interesting; it suggestes that construction overseers and workmen are able to move around the exterior of an incomplete vessel without usign spacesuits. To be present in shirt-sleeve conditions near the surface of a multi-mile warship, with or without artificial gravity, would be an awesome situation.

47Chapter 4
74Chapter 5

The emissary's name was Gleed Otondon; his host couldn't tell from what miserably harsh outlying world he had originated, but it was obviously one that produced impressively bulky and well-equipped residents at the top of its food chain — the emissary was all leather-encased muscles with a horn-spiked skull and proboscis atop. His clawed hands twitched against his knees as he overwhelmed the guest's chair near Kud'ar Mub'at's thronelike nest.

characer: Gled Otondon, a representative of one faction of the now-divided Bounty Hunter's Guild.

106Chapter 6

Kian'tharan family and liege relationships were so intricate — their reproductive processes required fertilised ova to be handed down through three generations of nonconsanguine affiliate clans before birth — that outsiders had little chance of sorting through all the levels of cousin and sibling status on the Kian'tharan home planet. At the same time, the entire species had deceptively honest faces, which made it easy for them to work their way into other sentient creatures' trust.

aliens: Kian'thara reproductive biology and consequences for their social organisation.

114Chapter 7

Boba Fett knew who the pilot was; a free-lance hunt saboteur named N'dru Suhlak; a kid who had washed out of the Rebel Alliance's Tierfon Fighter Base not for lack of flying skills, but an excess of insubordination. The expertise and training that Suhlak had picked up while he was hanging out with ace pilots like Jek Porkins and Wes Janson, plus his own natural abilities — there were just some things in this galaxy that you had to be born with — had quickly gotten him to the top of his chosen speciality.

character: N'dru Suhlak, a former rebel who now employs himself transporting fugitives from bounty hunters. Speculation: Suhlak's connection with Rogue Squadron members Janson and Porkins may make him a likely character to reappear in future Wraith Squadron novels.


Fett's ship had been lurking in the debris shadow cast by a ring of wrecked and stripped star freighters above the toxic atmosphere of the planet Uhltenden; he had been waiting, with all propulsion systems in abeyance-trigger mode, ....

location: planet Uhltenden, which is probably uninhabited but is the chosen site for a starship graveyard of some kind. Was this deliberate, or is there a natural or artificial hazzard that destroys ships passing through this area? If so, then what is the attraction of this particular system?


Optic-filterable transparisteel hadn't been developed for observation purposes, but for armour plating of heavy destroyers and cruisers in the Imperial Navy, as well as tactical camouflage. The light transmitted through it could actually be routed, through interior "bucket-brigade" datalinks, from one side of the ship to another, effectively passing on the visual perceptions to an outside observer. A crude form of simulated invisibility, but with one important strategic advantage. The nano-tech datalinks could also be programmed to filter out any specific visual data, such as the presence of other navy ships ... or the trail of a speeding Z-95 Headhunter.

Technology of optic-filterable transparisteel. It would provide a crude directionally-dependent equivalent of cloaking, but only in visual radiation. It would be unlikely to fool sensors in other bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, or other forms of energy such as neutrinos and gravitonic emission. Of course, a pilot in the heat of combat is more likely to rely on his eyes and optical sensors than on instruments mounted on his dashboard, and this seems to have been what momentarily tricked Boba Fett.

136Chapter 8
153Chapter 9
167Chapter 10

Usind the toe of his own boot, he poked through the rubble. A hissing noise came from the needle-fanged mouth of a centipedelike creature, writhing and uncoiling to nearly a metre in length; its yellow eyes blazed with a ferocious malice as it whipped itself around Bossk's ankle. Before it could sink the points of its fangs into his shin, he had clubbed it off himself with the butt of the blaster rifle. Another blow snapped the creature in two; the separate halves spattered a greenish-black ichor across the trench floor as they spun about in knotting contortions.


".... These things aren't native to this planet; they're a laboratory hybrid from an Ithorian root-source, genetically enhanced for a zero-moisture environment. .... They exude bio-toxins with a molecular breakdown rate that can be measured in centuries. The levels eventually get high enough to kill them off as well. But by then the entire surface of this planet will be riddled with their poison-filled bore holes."

creature: A pestilent life form created by the Imperial government for punitive use against unfavoured planets.


Trhin Voss'on't was one of the commanders, right at the top level of the Imperial stormtrooper hierarchy, a strike-force leader in one of the elite Strategic Insertion battalions — or he had been right up until he had dumped the personnel of an Imperial Star Destroyer at blaster point, commandeering the vessel with a hand-picked skeleton crew of accomplices.

character: Trhin Voss'on't, an elite stormtrooper officer of high but unspecified rank. See pp.198-199 for physical description.

193Chapter 11


character: Trhin Voss'on't physical description.

227Chapter 12
246Chapter 13

...the laser cannons being mounted into the open skeletal frames required bracing and recoil-dissipation casings that would have withstood explosions measured in the giga-tonnage range. Anything less, and a single shot fired in battle would rip a destroyer or battle cruiser in two, a victim of its own lethal strength.

Indication of the minimal order of magnitude of the yield of capital ship turbolasers. Since this is the recoil, the energy delivered to the target must be comparable. Affirms the observation that the energies exchanged by these galactic era weapons and shields are much greater than the raw material/structural strength of the ships bearing them.

290Chapter 14
304Chapter 15
322Chapter 16

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