19 definitions by not a starwars geek

An intimidating armored assault vehicle, the All Terrain Tactical Enforcer (AT-TE) saw its explosive debut on the battlefields of Geonosis, at the start of the Clone Wars. Specialized Republic drop ships carried the lumbering walker craft into the thick of combat, unleashing them to crawl inexorably toward enemy fortifications.

The walker features six articulated legs for propulsion. The legs are low to the ground, which reduces the walker's top speed but does provide it with increased stability. The body of the walker consists of two armored halves connected by a flexible sleeve that increases its mobility on the field.

The front of the walker is lined with four ball-turret laser cannons, while a single heavy projectile cannon is turret-mounted on the vehicle's dorsal surface. Its rear fire arc is protected by a pair of laser cannon turrets. Though the walker's armor can easily deflect small arms fire, tanksmasher rockets can pierce an AT-TE's armor and destroy its complex propulsion mechanisms.
Related: Galactic Republic Galactic Empire Clone Troopers AT-ST
by not a starwars geek November 30, 2004
Luke Skywalker's life has been indelibly changed by encounters with remarkable people. But if ever one person can be said to have had the greatest impact on his life, it is his beloved wife, the fiercely independent and stubbornly determined Mara Jade.

She was once known as the Emperor's Hand -- a highly skilled assassin and operative who could hear Emperor Palpatine's bidding from across the galaxy. Trained since childhood and honed into a weapon, Mara learned self-sufficiency, piloting, marksmanship and talents in the Force while serving her dark master.

One of her last missions was the assassination of Luke Skywalker. Emperor Palpatine was dismayed by the changes in Vader following the Dark Lord's lightsaber duel with his son on Bespin. Skywalker had stirred something in Vader, and the Emperor distrusted his closest agent. As a contingency, the Emperor dispatched Mara to track down and kill Skywalker.

Mara knew that Skywalker would attempt a rescue of his imprisoned friend, Han Solo. She infiltrated Jabba's palace, posing as a dancer named Arica. She failed to get close enough to Skywalker, and Jabba refused to let her attend the execution party heading out into the desert. She missed her chance.

A perfectionist, Mara could not abide failure. She wished to make it up to her dark master, but never got that chance. In mid-transit back to Coruscant, Mara felt the Emperor's death through the Force.

Her entire life of high-placed contacts, elevated status, and lifelong purpose collapsed with the defeat of the Empire at the Battle of Endor. Through the Force, Mara received fragmented images of the Emperor's final moments. Luke Skywalker was there... as was Vader... and the two murdered her mentor.

For years, she blamed Skywalker for Palpatine's death and the loss of her purpose. Mara floated along the fringe of galactic society in the years after the Battle of Endor. She eventually found herself as a pilot and operative in Talon Karrde's smuggling organization.

During the events of Grand Admiral Thrawn's campaign against the New Republic, Mara came face to face with Luke. The two had to cooperate to survive the wilderness of the planet Myrkr. They settled on an uneasy peace -- and Luke explained that it was not he who had killed Palpatine, but rather it was Vader.

Witnessing Luke Skywalker's Jedi abilities, Mara developed a begrudging respect for the war hero. Though she openly and brusquely questioned many of his philosophies, the two were often paired together during the Thrawn crisis, and their talents complemented each other perfectly time and again. Following the defeat of Thrawn, Luke gave Mara the gift of his first lightsaber, a weapon long thought lost but recovered by agents of the Empire.

Mara didn't want to be saddled with commitment to Skywalker's new Jedi order, so she refused his invitation to train. After all, she had survived all this time on her own, and had supplemented the Empire's finest training with hard-earned field experience. She had long been independent and the baby-steps of Luke's Jedi praxeum had no place for her.

Still, in her efforts to master her talents, she came across Kyle Katarn, another self-trained Jedi who had ignored Skywalker's invitation. The two trained together for a while, but the dark side crossed their paths. Realizing the dangers of the Force, Katarn admitted that the group learning experience of Skywalker's academy had its benefits, and became one of the first students. While Mara did visit the academy on occasion, she did not become a full-time student.

Mara focused on her career in the fringe, accepting increased responsibility in Talon Karrde's newly formed Smugglers Alliance. She undertook a number of information-gathering missions, pairing with Lando Calrissian on occasion. Despite the dashing gambler's best efforts, he was never able to woo Jade into anything other than a strictly business relationship.

Karrde, who was grooming Mara to be his successor, wanted her to gather an even wider variety of skills. Mara became increasingly independent in the following years, loosening her ties with the Smugglers Alliance.

During the Camaasi Document incident, Mara was investigating Chiss activities on the distant world of Nirauan. She once again teamed with Luke Skywalker as they infiltrated the mysterious outpost known as the Hand of Thrawn. Together, their skills and personalities strengthened each other perfectly; if not for their pairing, they would have perished.

It was then that they realized how perfect a match they were. Despite a decade of tension between the two, and a relationship that started with near-violent acrimony, the two had fallen in love.

Following the peace treaty that brought a formal end to the Galactic Civil War, Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker wed on Coruscant. For a galaxy undergoing seismic political change, the two represented an inspiring ideal and a powerful symbol. A former Imperial agent and the galaxy's most powerful Jedi Master had found a way beyond their past differences to find love.

The New Republic, long plagued by war and insurgents, was eager to embrace a time of peace. While Luke continued to train new initiates at the Jedi academy, Mara kept up her contacts in the fringe. She took Luke's niece, Jaina Solo, as a Jedi apprentice. This tranquility, unfortunately, was short-lived.

It began in a subtle, insidious fashion. While on a diplomatic mission to Monor II, Mara was secretly infected with a coomb spore, a deadly bio-engineered pathogen crafted by the Yuuzhan Vong. When the full invasion of Yuuzhan Vong forces began, Mara was already weakened, tapping into the power of the Force to sustain her life. Mara focused the Force within her to cleanse her body of this infection. The process was exhausting.

It was during this illness that Mara discovered she was pregnant. This galvanized her resolve to fight off the disease. She carried the child to term, and the healing glow of the Force bolstered by the love of mother, father and newborn son finally cured Mara of the Yuuzhan Vong sickness.

Despite the carnage and destruction sweeping the galaxy, there was a quiet moment affirming life and hope as Mara Jade Skywalker and Luke Skywalker welcomed their infant son Ben into the world.

This peace was short-lived as the Yuuzhan Vong attacks continued to weaken the New Republic and diminish the Jedi ranks. Mara, aboard her Jade Shadow starship, continued flying missions against the invaders while her son was safely sequestered on the Jedi safeworld code-named Eclipse.

Together with her husband, Mara voyaged to the conquered world of Coruscant, to investigate strange stirrings in the Force. The once gleaming metropolis world was overgrown with Yuuzhan Vong organic technology, transformed from a modern city to a fetid jungle. In the planet's depths, Mara used her still-functioning access codes to reveal the source of the Force-disturbance. Irek Ismeren, the son of a fellow Emperor's Hand, was corrupted and reformed as Lord Nyax, a dangerously unstable Dark Jedi.

After defeating Nyax, and participating in several key missions against the Yuuzhan Vong, Mara is once again next to her husband as he seeks to find an end to the war. Aboard the Jade Shadow, and along with a team of fellow Jedi, Mara and Luke voyage into the depths of the Unknown Regions, seeking the mysterious world of Zonama Sekot that may hold the secrets of ending this long and bloody conflict.
by not a starwars geek December 1, 2004
A loving, soft-spoken woman, Shmi Skywalker was determined to provide a better future for her only son, Anakin, than their lives as slaves could possibly offer. She knew her son was special -- despite their hardship, Anakin was selfless, kind and gifted. His birth was extraordinary -- there was no father. Some have speculated that it was the will of the Force that created Anakin in Shmi's womb. This would suggest that Anakin is the one spoken of in an ancient Jedi prophecy -- the Chosen One who will bring balance to the Force.

When Anakin was a toddler, Shmi and her son became the property of Gardulla the Hutt, and were brought to Mos Espa. Gardulla subsequently lost the pair to the Toydarian named Watto. Though none would ever confuse Watto with a humanitarian, he was nonetheless a fair owner who afforded Shmi and Anakin their privacy. Still, Shmi wanted more for her son than the life of a slave.

The opportunity came during Anakin's ninth year. A Naboo delegation led by a Jedi Master was stranded on Tatooine, and the ever-generous Anakin offered them shelter in the small hovel the Skywalkers called home.

The Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn, sensed great Force potential in Anakin, and arranged for his freedom. Unfortunately, he could not free Shmi from slavery. Shmi said a tearful farewell to Anakin, knowing that his future lay in the stars beyond Tatooine. Anakin promised to return and free his mother, but he did not know at the time that the life of a Jedi precluded such personal missions. Adherence to the Order meant abandonment of his previous life, and it would be years before Anakin returned to Tatooine.

Watto, rendered nearly destitute by his chronic gambling, was forced to sell Shmi. A moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars had fallen in love with Shmi, and purchased her freedom. The two wed, and Shmi became a loving stepmother to Cliegg's son, Owen. They lived a quiet existence on the Lars homestead as moisture farmers, forming a strong bond of a loving family. Still, Shmi looked to the stars with an empty ache in her heart for her son who had left long ago.

A month prior to Anakin's return to Tatooine, Shmi left the safety of the house in the early hours of the Tatooine morning to gather mushrooms that collected on the moisture vaporators. A raiding party of Sand People suddenly attacked, and Shmi was kidnapped by the bandaged brutes. Outraged and grief-stricken, Cliegg rounded up a posse of moisture farmers to rescue her, but the Tuskens lay in wait. After a bloody ambush, only four of the 30 farmers returned, including a maimed Cliegg.

A month passed, during which Cliegg reluctantly accepted Shmi's death. Anakin, who had been plagued with nightmares about his mother's safety, suddenly arrived at the Lars homestead. Cliegg told him the terrible news, but Anakin refused to accept that his mother was dead. Borrowing Owen Lars' swoop bike, Anakin sped into the twilight desert in search of Shmi.

Shmi was barely alive, relying solely on hope to sustain her beaten form. She was held captive at a Tusken camp, beaten and starved. She knew, somehow, that Anakin would come. She weakly opened her blood-caked eyes to see her handsome, grown son enter the Tusken tent and free her from her bindings. She whispered her love for her son before finally succumbing to her wounds.

Anakin, enraged at his mother's death, lashed out at the Tuskens. He slaughtered the entire village, killing the male warriors as well as the females and children. Shaken and terrified by the power he awakened, Anakin quietly returned to the Lars homestead with his mother's body.

Shmi was buried at the Lars homestead at a quiet funeral. Cliegg spoke of his love for his wife. Anakin felt shame for his failure to protect her, and promised to never fail again. Sadly, this was but one of many promises that Anakin would break.
by not a starwars geek December 1, 2004
The Old Republic was the Republic of legend, greater than distance or time. Before a cruel and ruthless Empire supplanted it, the Old Republic was the democratic union that governed a galaxy for thousands of years. Those who lived in it knew it as the Galactic Republic, or more simply, the Republic.

Ruling the Republic was the Galactic Senate, a governing body comprising elected or appointed representatives from across the galaxy. From within that Senate, a Supreme Chancellor was elected. Justice and peace in the Republic was protected by the Jedi Knights, a noble order of Force-sensitives.

As the Republic grew more and more powerful, many of the bureaucrats and Senators that ran the government grew increasingly corrupt or complacent. The bureaucracy that had grown and festered over millennia choked any attempt at proactive government. Furthermore, partisan politics and personal agendas also hampered effective governing.

Into this mire stepped the ambitious Senator Palpatine from Naboo. His homeworld was under siege by the greedy Neimoidian Trade Federation, as protest to increased tariffs and taxation to outlying trade routes. Despite the full-scale invasion of the planet, the call to react was tied up in procedure. When Queen Amidala -- the elected leader of the sovereign system of Naboo -- spoke before the Senate, calling for action, she also called for a Vote of No Confidence in the leadership of the Republic.

The well-meaning but politically clumsy Chancellor Valorum was voted out of office. In his place, Palpatine was elected Supreme Chancellor. Despite promises of bringing order and compassion back to the Republic, the first decade of his term was blighted by great political upheaval. A separatist movement, led by the charismatic Count Dooku, began splitting the Republic, and it was all the Jedi could do to maintain order.

This chaotic political climate precipitated the dark times that overcame the galaxy. The Republic crumbled and was rebuilt in the guise of the New Order.
Related: Galactic Empire Clone Troopers Bail Organa Palpatine AT-TE
by not a starwars geek November 30, 2004
Mos Espa is one of few port cities on Tatooine, born out of the desert and built piece by piece over many years. Domed buildings protect the citizens against the glare of the twin suns and the scorching heat. Among the dwellings, workspaces, and commercial operations of many bizarre kinds there are also entertainment areas, including some of colossal scale. The famed Mos Espa Grand Arena can can hold an audience almost as large as the city's entire population.

Most of Mos Espa's inhabitants are settlers and subsistence earners who scratch out a meager living as best they can. The only real wealth in Mos Espa is tied up in gambling and off-world trade, especially in the lucrative black market beyond the trade laws and controls of the galactic government.

In the time of the Republic, slavery persisted in Mos Espa, though the despicable trade was outlawed elsewhere. An entire section of the city's outskirts had been transformed into a Slave Quarter. Live slaves functioned more as prestige possessions than cheap laborers, and owners parted with them only reluctantly. Slaves could even find themselves used as capital in business transactions. The true powers in control of Mos Espa were the Hutt gangsters, who found slavery a useful institution for their purposes, and Tatooine's remoteness allowed them to practice their illegal ventures.
by not a starwars geek December 1, 2004
Tauntauns are a species of snow lizard found roaming the windswept snow plains of Hoth. The Rebel Alliance domesticated the swift creature during their stay on the ice planet, and used the animals for patrol duties outside Echo Base. The animals came in useful as the Rebel technicians had difficulty adapting their repulsorlift speeders to the subzero temperatures.

Both Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rode tauntauns on Rebel patrol missions, planting a network of life-form sensors along Echo Base's perimeter. Though tauntauns are sure-footed and well equipped to handle Hoth's daytime temperature, the chilling extremes of a Hoth night will prove deadly.
by not a starwars geek December 1, 2004
The bone-chilling cold is not the only danger that awaits a traveler on the Hoth plains. Despite standing over two meters in height, the wampa ice creature is nonetheless a stealthy predator. Its white fur is the perfect camouflage, and the howling Hoth winds mask its approach until it is too late. With a crushing blow from its clawed hand, a wampa is strong enough to snap the neck of even a hardy tauntaun.

Wampas live in caves carved from the Hoth ice. It is here that the ice creature drags its prey. It suspends its victims from the cave ceiling until it is ready to feast.

The Rebels were plagued with wampa attacks when they erected their hidden base on Hoth. Commander Luke Skywalker was savagely attacked by a wampa while on scouting duty. Skywalker narrowly escaped becoming a meal and dying in a Hoth blizzard. Despite bacta treatment administered by the skilled medical droid 2-1B, Luke still bears scars from that encounter.

Just prior to the evacuation of the Hoth base, the Rebels had to deal with repeated wampa attacks. The first indication that was something amiss was the discovery of a dead tauntaun, its neck mysteriously broken. Attracted to the sound of astromech droids, several wampa ice creatures penetrated deeper and deeper into the Alliance caverns. The Rebels were able to capture at least one wampa in a pen before having to abandon Echo Base altogether.
by not a starwars geek December 1, 2004