The second article in the timeline series of Star Wars: Interregnum focuses solely on the Battle of Endor, which is just as important in the Interregnum timeline as in the canon Star Wars timeline, but for rather different reasons. The following is an excerpt from an article written by Professor Rolard Vilion, a historian and political scientist at the Imperial University of Coruscant, writing in the year 9 ABY, 5 years after Endor and the start of the Interregnum.
The Catastrophe: Endor and the Beginning of the Interregnum
Nearly three weeks after the Fall of Bakura, the Triple Alliance launched its attack on Endor. An unimportant system uninhabited by advanced intelligent life, the forest moon of Endor was chosen as the construction site for the second Death Star due to its remoteness on the edge of the Empire's borders. A large fleet centered around Lord Vader's Death Squadron was already at the planet to ensure the destruction of a Rebel Fleet that was believed to attempt to attack the station, but after Bakura it was decided the Triple Alliance was a greater threat and, since they happened to have invaded so close to Endor, the trap designed for the Rebellion would instead by sprung on the new invaders.
The Triple Alliance attacked not as one force, but in waves. The first wave consisted of about 100 vessels the size of a Victory class Star Destroyer and about 500 escorts in the frigate and cruiser sized range. Facing them was the nearly completed Death Star II, with Emperor Palpatine still aboard. While parts of the Death Star's core areas were under construction, it was protected by a powerful planetary shield from the forest moon of Endor that could destroy any direct attack. In additional, the Imperial Fleet at Endor had grown to 700 vessels of all sizes, under the command of Darth Vader on his flagship the Executor.
A junior officer on the command bridge of the Executor, from whom most of this information comes from, reports that on the arrival of the enemy ships, Admiral Piett order the fleet to form a defensive line around the twenty or so Interdictor ships while launching all available fighters. The plan was simple yet effective; the fleet would act as a wall for the Interdictors who would ensure the Death Star had enough time to annihilate the entire enemy fleet with its superlaser. And initially, the plan appeared to work.
The first enemy wave had many carriers, which immediately launched fighters to attack the exposed superstructure of the Death Star. They quickly discovered the shield however, and were overwhelmed by the masses of TIE Fighters launched from both the Imperial fleet and the Death Star. As the carriers attempted to fall back out of range, the Death Star fired its first attack of the battle and destroyed what would later be identified as a Halcyon class carrier in a single shot. Unable to get out of range without jumping into hyperspace (or “phase space” as the foreigners call it), the enemy fleet was pinned in place. A few of the larger combat ships attempted to break the Death Star's shield with nuclear weapons, but these proved ineffective and were countered with additional blasts from the Death Star's superlaser.
Faced with the prospect of either letting their initial attack force being completely annihilated or attempting to break them out, the Triple Alliance choose the later option, sending in approximately 800 ships as reinforcements. The flagship of this group was the largest enemy vessel seen to date, and proved that our adversaries were capable of building battlecruiser sized warships, though the vessel would later be identified under the more grandiose name of an Ankylon class Titan. This second force, rather than attack the Death Star, attempted to engage the fleet and destroy the source of the gravity anomalies that were preventing their ships from escaping. This Ankylon proved too tempting a target for the Death Star however, which stopped attacking the first task force and turned to blast the titan before it engaged the fleet at point blank range, as it would be unable to get a clear shot afterwards.
This provided time for the first attack force to regroup, and they were joined by 200 exclusively Vasari ships. Having failed to break the Death Star's shield with normal weapons, this new group of ships began firing massive volleys of "phase missiles", which cannot always be stopped by deflector shields, at the Death Star. While some of these missiles did bypass through the shield and caused substantial damage to the Death Star's surface, the warheads were too weak to seriously damage the main reactor or other critical systems. As the Death Star prepared to fire on the titan, the Ankylon activated a powerful shield array around its fleet, in an attempt to repel the blast. The Death Star responded to this by increasing power to its superlaser, firing a more intense green beam that cut the Ankylon in half and ruptured its antimatter storage tanks, which consumed the entire vessel in a massive explosion.
The Ankylon's sacrifice was not entirely in vain, for the rest of its battlegroup was now hotly engaged with the Imperial Fleet protecting the Interdictors. Reports about the battle become much more chaotic from this point on as all of the eye witnesses I interviewed were now busy at their battlestations and were not paying much attention to events going on at the Death Star. Casualties were not insignificant, but the battle seemed to be going well as the Death Star continued to make short work of the large warships of the first and third waves. Only the Executor appears to have had any advanced warning of the tragedy that was about to unfold.
Our junior officer on the Executor's command bridge reports that about an hour after the two fleets engaged, Darth Vader, who had issued only a handful of orders throughout the entire engagement, suddenly marched off to the front of the command bridge. At that moment a fourth wave of enemy ships jumped in on the other side of the Death Star. At the front of the fleet was another battlecruiser sized ship, but of a strange design unlike any ever seen. With odd metallic wings and a circular disk above it, Lord Vader seems transfixed by it as he observed the new arrivals from the view port.
“Just some more stragglers to finish off my lord,” Admiral Piett said.
“No. This one is.. different,” Vader replied, as if attempting to sense exactly what this new enemy was. The Emperor seems to have shared his opinion, for the Death Star immediately turned to face this new vessel. Without firing any weapons the new enemy titan flew towards the Death Star. As this strange vessel reached the Death Star's shield, the battlestation fired a blast at maximum power, engulfing the vessel in green and orange flames. A few crewmen cheered, but within moments their expression changed to confusion and then horror as a burning bright blue aura of the destroyed titan emerged from the explosion, and calmly passed through the Death Star's “impenetrable” force field.
As the glowing shadow of the dead titan approached the exposed superstructure of the Death Star, all sorts of bizarre sights were reported. Blasts of white and blue energy impacted the surface of the Death Star. The surface turbolaser batteries opened fire at this intruder with all they had. Still unexplained to this day, giant bolts of lightning sent out from the Death Star struck the approaching titan, slowing it down but unable to stop its advance. Our witness on the Executor reports that at one point Lord Vader clenched his fist and the titan seemed to halt, but he quickly released it and told Piett to order the fleet to disengage and jump to lightspeed. “The Emperor has underestimated our enemies, and it is pointless to fight here without the Death Star, ” Vader told the astonished Admiral. Soon after his mechanical voice rang out across the bridge, a final beam of spectral blue light impacted the center of the Death Star's hypermatter reactor, causing massive detonation that consumed the battlestation in a giant explosion. The reign of Palpatine, the first galactic emperor, was over. Yet the battle to replace his government had only just begun.