Lydendara

A prominent general and servant of the Old Republic, Leia Lydendara fought as a young soldier in the Clone Wars, and won several battles in her prime against Mandalorian opponents, most prominently during the Battle of Mandalore itself, fighting in hostile conditions on the harsh jungle world. Lydendara was also the proponent of a new form of battle, the Mass Assault Doctrine, whereupon only minimal forces were left to defend planets behind the main lines, and incredible firepower was brought to bear, from orbit and during ground assault, upon single planetary targets. It was this strategy which won the day when the Republic's forces were suffering terrible losses in the Siege of Corulag. She was, along with Grand Admiral Veich, one of the two most prominent military leaders of the Old Republic. She was also the chief engineer of the Republic's war efforts during the Mandalorian Wars.

Though she generally distrusted and felt a strong distaste for politicians, Lydendara became a confidante and ally of Senator Palpatine during his rise to power, and supported his move to establish the Galactic Empire. Unlike many other politicians, she felt Palpatine embodied the unity and security she genuinely believed was an essential component of civil society, where many other politicians seemed more intent on arguing only for their own interests, whether personal or planetary. After her retirement, Palpatine sought to resurrect her for political ends, much as Veich had done decades earlier, but Lydendara was insulted by this offer and had a falling out with the Emperor, who she already suspected was a mere figurehead, a powerless puppet of the Moffs and Grand Admirals of the Imperial war machine.

As the New Order began to oppress and restrict the people of the galaxy, Lydendara became horrified at what she had participated in and retired from public view to a remote world on the Outer Rim. While she essentially distanced herself from Palpatine and the Empire in general, her likeness remains a frequent image on Imperial propaganda thanks largely to her legend and enduring popularity amongst Imperial citizens.

Part Six: The Dark Times

With the Jedi defeated and scattered, Emperor Palpatine wasted no time shoring up his position, amalgamating several offices within the head of state – the supreme leader's seat of power on Coruscant funnelled incredible legal power into the person of the Emperor.

Yet the military machine, which had grown to unfathomable size during the Clone Wars, would not stand idly by and become the mere tool Palpatine hoped it would be. Several Grand Admirals and influential Generals in the Imperial military saw to it that the Emperor became pushed ever further away from the public arena, and under near endless pressure and threats, Palpatine had no choice but to bow to these forces, and physically retreated from public life.

With the head of state now become little more than a puppet, the true power of the Galactic Empire was wielded by a complex network of military commanders and planetary governors. The Senate had been reduced to a largely irrelevant chamber for debate; in theory still a mechanism for dissent but in practice a mouthpiece for Imperial propaganda, broadcast across the entire HoloNet.

The Galactic Empire saw immediately that, as the Republic before them, they would need the services of new guardians to ensure the security of the New Order. And so, the Sith soon became the enforcers and enactors of Imperial will, just as the Jedi had overseen the rigid justice of the Republic before it.

When Palpatine died less than a decade after the end of the Clone Wars, a sudden and furious clamour began, to install the next Emperor, and many feared it would lead to a new Clone War, or worse.

Several notable Grand Moffs, prominent governors, and military officials all moved to claim their right to succeed Palpatine as Emperor. After several tense weeks of negotiation, the Imperial Senate declared Tyrasta, Governor of Malastaire, the next head of state. Yet Tyrasta was dead within a month, a victim of having attempted to return true power to the Imperial Throne.

The next Emperor was, perhaps fittingly, a timid figure, a lowly governor of a forgotten colony not far from Alderaan, an easily manipulated man who appeased the Imperial warlords and their Sith enforcers. Unlike his predecessor, Emperor Fisk ruled peacefully for several decades, appearing only to announce major reforms, public events and holidays, and to reassure the public of the ongoing primacy and benevolence of the New Order.

Part Five: Revenge of the Sith

Unable to resist the seemingly mythical powers of the Jedi Knights, and the armies of loyal soldiers they commanded, in desperation the ambitious leader of the Galactic Senate, the ageing Senator Palpatine, convinced the Republic President to turn to the only force capable of resisting the Jedi: their long-exiled heretic brothers, the Sith Order.

Once merely the political faction of the Jedi, granted unique freedoms from their strict code, the Knights of the Sith grew into a shadowy organisation separate from the main body, acting often under their own direction and energies, engaged in operations for which the Jedi themselves had no stomach.

Yet even the Jedi were not entirely immune from scandal, and when a string of failed Sith suppressions and assassinations became publicly known, the Sith Order, as they had since become, were stricken from the Core Worlds - the Republic itself - on pain of death, banished to insignificance in the furthest reaches of space.

For centuries the Sith lurked on the Outer Rim, from their shrine-worlds of Korriban and Ossus. Ever they plotted their return to the Core World of Had Abaddon, where they had once, hundreds of years ago, been as influential as the Jedi.

Yet the vanishment of the Sith had caused great scissions within the Jedi Order itself, and while few on the Council legitimately mourned their loss, many of the Jedi whose task saw them overseeing planets with powerful Senators, wealthy corporations, or ties to underhanded criminal syndicates, recognised, and regretted the loss of, the value of the Sith for their capabilities against hostile forces who did not adhere to the same code as the Jedi.

As the ranks of the Jedi had shrunk through war, so had the Sith expanded over time. Never as numerous as the Jedi, the Sith were now of a similar strength to their kin, a force to be reckoned with, even after the recent experiments with clone technology. Formally recognised by the Republic once more, the Sith returned.

And burned upon their every thought was one solitary, raging mission: vengeance.

From the fortress-world of Had Abaddon, homeworld of their ancestors and recently bestowed upon them by grateful Republic leaders, the Sith fought back against the Jedi at the head of the Republic armies. As the galaxy slipped further into the chaos of war, Palpatine grasped an opportunity to usurp the Presidency and solidify his own personal power.

Soon, he turned his attention to removing the last legal vestiges of the Jedi Order. The Galactic Senate, in its haste to be done with the terrible Clone Wars, recreated the Jedi as criminals and heretics, terrorists agasnnt the great Republic. Magicians and witches, they became quickly despised, figureheads of ridicule. Further increases to the strength of Republic navies, the swelling of armies, and increases to surveillance and security followed.

Within the space of a few years, the entire doctrinal foundation of the Republic, based as it was upon the rule of law and justice and the enforcement of that law by its champions the Jedi, was irrevocably altered.

The Galactic Empire was born.

From the ashes of the Second Clone War arose a great shadow, and its name was Darth Vader. Among the mightiest of the Sith Lords, Vader held a special place in the history of both ancient Orders, for he had once been apprenticed to the Jedi - then exiled - and latterly become a Dark Lord of the Sith.

A military commander without peer, Vader oversaw the turning of the tide. Most Imperial scholars would later identify the Battle of Hoth as the final defeat which broke the will of the Jedi Order, yet in truth it was a succession of brilliant victories which allowed Vader, among other Sith Lords, to bring the Jedi to their knees.

In full retreat, the Jedi gathered at Tython for one final stand, where they desperately attempted to manufacture a literal means of retaliation. To no avail, an enormous Imperial Star Fleet arrived at the planet, and left it in ruins.

For the galaxy at large, that moment heralded the end of the Clone Wars. With the extinction of the Jedi, the New Order was established and peace returned to the Core Worlds of the Old Republic, now the Galactic Empire.

Celebrations began across the wealthy inner worlds of the new Empire, and its new ruler and Emperor, Palpatine, became a hero - the man who ended the war. The people of the Old Republic turned a blind eye to his abuses of privilege and law during the crisis, and embraced the new safety and order of the Empire.

Part Four: The Second Clone War

Both the Jedi and the Republic hierarchy knew full well that the truce between the Jedi factions could not survive. Tensions soon erupted between those bickering rivalries, unable to resign themselves to consensus or give up the principles for which they had been fighting for years. Furthermore, as Jedi were killed in battle, the rise in vendettas against those who had struck down comrades grew, and an endless cycle of vengeance and reparation began.

The corporations who had supported the various factions likewise remained unconvinced that another tectonic shift in the galactic economy was not about to wreak havoc once more. Rather than a middling peace treaty, the econocrats of the Republic demanded a full-scale treaty, a signed and legally enforceable guarantee of galactic security. Anything else, they believed, paid nothing more than lip-service to the well-being of the Republic.

While the Council of Hapax had initially been seen as a great success, negotiations inevitably broke down, and within sixteen months the Jedi returned to their doctrinal conflict.

Senator Palpatine, a leading opponent of the Jedi Order and its disruption, punished their internal disorder by suppressing or outright removing the extensive privileges enjoyed for centuries by the Jedi Order. Most notably, Republic governors had become the new arbiters of galactic law, and as the Jedi before them, each dictated the obedience of a single planet.

The Jedi Council was expelled from their grand temple on Coruscant, and scattered to distant locations throughout the Core Worlds.

The Republic also established a new, enhanced and much more potent, military force, one raised to defend the people of the Republic from any internal or external threat - few were so blind as to not recognise that this threat was now, inferred or otherwise, the Jedi.

Little more than a year after the Council of Hapax, the Jedi fell back to war, and the entire Republic along with them. The war-weary public sought an end to the violence, yet the Jedi would not heed them. For a second decade, the Jedi waged terrible battle across the many sectors of the galaxy, further damaging their reputation and their numbers.

Yet they now faced a new complication in the form of an organised and substantial Republic military, which often stood directly between them, forcing the conflict into the Outer Rim, or the harsher and less hospitable planets of the Core Worlds. Casualties increased, and the cost of the war, in manpower, materials and credits, began to swell.

And the Jedi themselves were no longer at the head of every army, but reduced to commanding several armies or fleets at once, though intermediaries and subsidiaries. Many armies were entirely composed of mercenaries or even criminals; anyone who would take up arms on behalf of the once-revered Order.

At last, even the vaunted Jedi recognised the inevitability of their approaching fate. To their horror, they discovered that with their numbers so dwindled, the Order had lost substantive control over the judicial system the once oversaw and, even more significantly, recognised how far they had fallen in the hearts and minds of the common people of the Republic; the people they were sworn to protect.

The Jedi had always held a complicated relationship with the political and ruling classes of the Republic. The old nobility and especially the Galactic Senate frequently viewed the Jedi as elitist and unaccountable for the incredible power they wielded. Control over such a broad range of judicial powers gave them unprecedented moral authority in the galaxy. Particularly whenever this conflicted with the interests of the other branches of the government, or powerful corporate or private interests, this created a great deal of resentment.

Yet there was little the executives and Senators of the Republic could do while the Jedi remained so popular with the people. Every opportunity to stifle their power was overruled by the Order itself, and frequently shouted down by popular acclaim. So the loss of such support was a critical blow to the Jedi and their cause.

Thus, when the ruling classes of the Republic sensed that the Jedi were vulnerable, many began to relinquish their support for the Jedi factions themselves, and began to agitate for wider reform which might forever limit the influence of the Jedi over galactic affairs. The passing of Statute 12-22j-5a4, a meaningless stream of figures to the average citizen, was crucial in this endeavour, for it mandated the need to replace Jedi authority in the courts with elected officials, in the case of the Order's fracture.

Thanks to the ongoing war, the statute not only passed but went into immediate effect, ending the Jedi stranglehold on the judiciary and relegating them to political exile from within their protected enclave among the Old Republic's vast bureaucracy.

Let it not be said that the entirety of the Jedi Order remained ignorant of their fall from grace, or that there were not impressive voices within the remnant who had not called for an end to what they viewed as the inherent insanity of war.

Many Jedi departed the Order during both conflicts, fleeing to the Outer Rim, or allying themselves with forces ready to restore something akin to a system of rational and natural justice. Many were even resigned to a greatly diminished influence; anything that might sate the furious peoples of the Republic and restore peace to the galaxy once more.

The Jedi Council, however, despite remaining fractured, suddenly managed to reach a consensus on the path forward.

With the growing power of the Senate and the sheer weight of resources brought to bear by the corporate supporters of the Republic, the Jedi had little choice but to overcome their differences and reunite, in order to reclaim their control of the judiciary and reassert their form of justice throughout the Republic.

At the Council of Bakura, in a more desperate mirror to that of Hapax, the three most prominent Jedi factions reunited in order to face the combined threat of the Republic forces, and to heal the schisms which had divided the Order. But for the Jedi, it was too little, too late.

The Council acted with haste, and in an act of undeniable irony usurped control over a radical new technology created on the planet Tython by the Spaarti Corporation. 

Within the most important month of the Second Clone War, the Jedi had gone from commanding vast resources and directing a plethora of vested interest toward their own war goals, to becoming outcasts from their own Republic, facing down the combined might of the Galactic Senate, the civilian military, and several ruthless corporate interests.

Turning to Tython and its new technology, now known as Series VI, the Jedi began creating clones of their greatest warriors, and set in motion a terrible chain of events which would bring about the end of the war for good.

For all their prescience and meditation, the Jedi had not seen the seeds of their own sown in this fateful decision. Scholars continue to debate how they could have come to such a radical decision through anything other than sheer desperation, for in hindsight it seems a folly of catastrophic proportions.

The return of the Jedi, many of whom were believed to be dead or grievously injured, and the Order's new-found dominance of the battlefronts trailing across whole sectors of space, did not go unnoticed among the leaders of the Republic. The tide was turned, and the Jedi began clawing back control over key territories in the Core Worlds.

While the Republic leadership had indeed struck a key and unforeseen blow to the Jedi, it did not take the Order long to recognise that the Republic itself now viewed the Jedi as, at best, an insubordinate or, at worst, a loathed enemy.

After long months of war, the Battle of Corellia resulted in a particularly damaging loss for the forces of the Republic, and resulted in the Jedi moving within striking distance of the capital, Coruscant. The end of the war was near, and the Republic generals knew it. They also knew that, without a turn in the tide, the Jedi would be victorious.

So too did the Senate which, sitting in session on Coruscant, held no qualms about the means by which they might resolve such concerns.

Part Three: The First Clone War

During the Fourth Jedi Schism, each of the factions vying for supremacy faced an immediate and very real danger of defeat, and with the Republic bureaucracy spread thin in its support amongst the many combatants, inflation and war levies soon raised havoc among the Galactic Trade Exchange and many corporations began taking sides in an attempt to influence the outcome of the war in their favour.

With the resources of such vast galactic entities involved, the scale of the war only erupted further. As a consequence, many neutral corporations which had stood to one side in the conflict, content to remain aloof or provide their services to any faction who requested it, soon began taking sides in the hope of drawing the schism to a close.

The Senate, initially wedded to a neutral stance, soon found the economic might of its biggest corporations invested in the battle, and fearing that any kind of union between a dominant Jedi faction and a corporation could threaten the security of the Republic itself - and the integrity of the Senate in particular - the Republic Navy soon began to take a much greater interest in the ebb and flow of the war.

Before long, it was not uncommon for massive Republic fleets to engage those of a corporate sponsor of a Jedi faction, with equally significant battles raging on a planet below, sometimes between different factions to those which clashed in orbit above.

Resources poured into the effort from across the galaxy, and as the demand for particularly scarce goods such as bacta and energy began to put pressure on supply lines and intergalactic trade, the need for resolution became even greater.

Countless planets suffered beneath the onslaught, reduced to rubble or blackened char as the forces of the Jedi, or the Senate, or one of the countless independent factions, moved through a sector in the hopes of suppressing resistance or forging a bastion among the stars. The Jedi, busied competing amongst themselves, soon found the Senate perpetually blocking their access to particularly lucrative or populated planets, with corporations and industrial barons also throwing their weight into the conflict, sometimes on the side of the Senate, or other times behind one of the factions themselves.

Of all the resources sought by all sides, military shipyards were by far the most precious. Day and night these gigantic orbital factories, many akin to artificial rings orbiting their slave-planets, ceaselessly forged the hard steel of new and more powerful battleships. These vessels only grew larger in size, beyond any reasonable proportion compared to those already maintained by the Galactic Senate.

All manner of new support vessels grew out of the war, from long-range missile boats to hit-and-run frigates, anti-starfighter platforms and even the mysterious Q-ships which would prove decisive in later years.

On the planets below, peaceful plains and rolling hills became little more than vast fields upon which the Jedi could attain glory in single combat, with the fate of entire armies hanging in the balance between two lone figures whose flashing blades would dictate their fate and wrest the tide of battle.

Such large-scale destruction had a tremendous impact on the galactic economy, and as massive shifts buckled even this most mighty of treasuries, across the Republic, economists and industrialists alike sought answers. Namely, how to prevent the war from devastating the galactic economy even more than it already had.

Supposedly first invented by the relatively modest Tagge & Company, known as TaggeCo, the development of what would later become known as the Series I clone technology became the solution which Republic bureaucrats had sought for so long. Using sophisticated mitochondrial templates, TaggeCo began manufacturing a nearly endless source of labour to replace the lives lost as planetary battles devastated whole sectors of space.

Under the code name 'Oculus', the first trials were held on several industrialised Core Worlds, before the risk of discovery forced the operation to the Outer Rim. There, on a small moon, headquartered in a remote laboratory named Oculus-Alpha-1, later truncated to OA-1, the first serious trials of the decade-long clone technology began to yield results.

Yet flaws were quickly discovered in the technology, and it was soon realised that most clones would not live for more than a handful  of years. When the Series II clones were developed within twelve months of the first iteration, they became unstable and highly vulnerable to disease, and were quickly abandoned as genuine subjects.

Beyond their scope as cheap labour for war-ravaged worlds, several corporations saw their potential value as a mechanism for creating entire armies, raised in short order to flood a battlefield, with no reasonable expectation that they would survive beyond the war's end.

The Jedi, already uneasy about the status and nature of clones themselves, took action when it was discovered that TaggeCo had itself developed a Series III army in secret on the tiny forested moon which had since become their primary facility.

Acting immediately against this threat, the Jedi responded with what was later acknowledged as the worst atrocity of the First Clone War: the Ruin of Endor. The TaggeCo facilities, and most life on the moon itself, was obliterated. A newly-constructed cloning facilitiy on Wayland, the Oculus-Beta-1 facility, rumoured to be even more advanced than the first on Endor.

However, the Beta facility was also discovered by the Jedi, who blockaded the planet and threatened its destruction. The Jedi, unwilling to chance that the technology might escape the planet, eventually bombarded the facilities before they had even produced a single living clone. This action essentially terminated TaggeCo's clone technology division and, were it not for their later integration into the New Order Corporation, may have ruined TaggeCo entirely.

The action brought an end to clone technology as it existed at that time, and the fruits of several decades of research were lost.

Yet with the knowledge that the concept itself was viable, other corporations soon began developing secret cloning technology themselves. Only, their first and primary objective was to ensure that no Jedi ever discovered that the research was underway.

After the Ruin of Endor, the Jedi factions called a truce, and gathered for the Council of Hapax, where the threat of clone technology, the economic chaos in the galaxy, the moral collapse of the Order, and the devastation of war, were all discussed.

For over a year, a fragile peace returned to the galaxy. As quickly as it had begun, the First Clone War had ended.