Quick, reliable and armed to the teeth, the Venator-class star destroyer had become the backbone of the Republic fleet over the course of the Clone Wars. The Perseverance, commanded by veteran Captain Kristyn Steadfast of Corellia, had seen and emerged victorious in numerous battles even when the odds were stacked against her. Luck however always seems to find a way to run out. For the Perseverance, that luck ran out over the skies of Kashyyyk.
Strategically important due to its proximity to key hyperspace lanes, along with its rich supply of minerals and other resources, the Republic knew it had to protect Kashyyyk from the Confederation of Independent Systems. However with the Republic fleet being so thinly and widely scattered across the galaxy, it could only afford to leave a contingent of two Star Destroyers – the Perseverance and the Equality – accompanied by a few squadrons of Starfighters, to guard the massive planet.
Kashyyyk had been relatively quiet in the recent months, so when the CIS capital ships emerged from hyperspace, Perseverance was caught with its shields down. To make matters worse, Equality was on the far side of the planet and unable to immediately assist. Captain Steadfast scrambled the starfighters but vulture droids had already disabled her shield generators. Shortly thereafter the hyperdrive generator was rendered inoperative.
Nearly simultaneously the ship lost her portside engines and forward stabilizers. Violently and without mercy the star destroyer went nose down and plummeted towards the planet’s surface. Miraculously technicians were able to divert auxiliary power to the forward stabilizers just in time for the helmsman to raise the ship’s forward end right before crashing into Kashyyyk’s massive wroshyr trees.
Although casualties were high, Captain Steadfast and her skilled crew were able to avoid a complete loss of the Perseverance. The ship crashed on Kachirho, an island located in the Wawaatt Archipelago. Damage control parties worked feverishly throughout the vessel to extinguish fires and save lives. After hours of firefighting, the crew was successful. Unfortunately Perseverance was not getting airborne any time soon.
In ship’s bridge, Captain Steadfast gathered her command crew. She called for Lt. Kina, a young Sullustan female, who served as the communications officer. “Lieutenant, have we been able to get comms back online?”
“Yes ma’am,” Kina replied. “The signal is relatively weak but I was able to hail Coruscant. I have opened what I believe is a secure line to the Jedi Council.”
“Very well. Now we wait.” A holo-image of Jedi Master Yoda appeared on the small projector. “Good work, Lieutenant. That was fast.” She turned to the image of the Jedi, gently grasping her midsection. She had sustained injuries during the crash but did not allow herself to receive medical attention until the crew had been treated. “Master Yoda, it is good to see you. The Confederates launched a surprise attack. The Perseverance is grounded and no longer operable.”
“Care about your ship, I do Captain,” he warmly remarked, “but more concerned about you and your crew I am. Ships can be rebuilt. We cannot,” he said wryly.
Captain Steadfast couldn’t help but break etiquette and allow herself a smile. “As you say, Master. Current fatalities number two hundred thirty-seven with hundreds more injured. The performance of the crew was nothing short of extraordinary, otherwise those numbers would have been much higher.”
Yoda lowered his head, shaking it somberly. “Too high the cost of this conflict has been. Luminous souls the Force has received today.”
“One could have only wished the Force had been more on our side a few hours ago,” the Captain replied, unexpectedly coldly.
“Mysteriously, the Force works.” Yoda paused. “But understand your point, I do. A swift end I wish to bring to this war.”
“How may we continue to be of service, Master?”
“Possible it is that General Grievous has fled to Kashyyyk. Departing I am to join you and your forces. A beach head, the droids will attempt to make at Kachirho. Hold the area, you must until I arrive. Coordinate with Tarfful. Chieftain of the local Wookiee tribes, he is. Their support you will need.”
“I understand, Master Yoda. They will not take Kachirho or the Perseverance without a fight.”
“Doubt that, I do not.” Yoda leaned into the camera. “The right woman have we for the job. Steadfast, you will be. May the Force be with you, Captain. Alive and well, I will see you soon.” His image vanished.
Captain Steadfast turned her crew. Tired and wounded, still they showed an uncanny resilience. “You heard him. We will hold this beach until reinforcements arrive from Coruscant. Lieutenant Kina, attempt to contact Chieftain Tarfful. Ensure a protocol droid is standing by. Arrange a briefing by 1900.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Lt. Kina replied, turning to her own subordinates and beginning to work on the assigned task.”
“Colonel Perlock,” the Captain said to the leader of the clone trooper brigades onboard the Perseverance, “ensure all clone commanders are standing by for that briefing.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he acknowledged with a salute.
“Make sure Nexu Squadron is there.”
Perlock grinned. “Yes, ma’am.”