Fellow Moffs, as you are aware, we had an unfortunate incident on Bespin last month. With limited resources, a religious terrorist attempted to assassinate Vader. While Vader survived the attack, he unleashed private security contractors to pursue the would-be assassins, and found himself betrayed by the local governor and his personal defense forces.
This is only the latest is a series of breaches of Imperial security in recent years. Disparate religious terrorists, criminal elements, unreliable local government, and dispersed operations are making the foe we face an intractable problem wherever we go. While our fleet and core worlds are not themselves in jeopardy, any major investments or deployments we make on the edge of our empire are vulnerable. This is especially true of high value targets, which extend up from Star Destroyers to Death Stars but can be as vulnerable as unsupported Imperial stormtroopers operating among a hostile populace.
This is a mistake we have made before. Yavin 4, where the Rebel Alliance clustered after the demoralizing obliteration of Alderaan, should have been a moment of triumph. Yet we underestimated the ability of rebels and their Bothan allies to infiltrate our communications, and did not expect common criminals to join in an ideological raid. Yavin 4 was undoubtedly a defeat.
I can hear those of you in the back rows even now grumbling your disagreement. “Surely,” you are saying to yourselves, “the loss of a fortified, hospitable hideout must count as a partial success. After all, the Rebel Alliance no longer operates on Yavin 4.” This is true. We have denied them one safe haven. But we only denied them one safe haven in a galaxy of thousands. Our eagerness to meet the threat solely with technological superiority let us neglect the manpower necessary for a thorough cleanse of the world and eradication of these dangerous, nonstate actors.
I mention all of this because I fear that we are making the same mistake in Endor that we made in Yavin 4. The conditions match exactly. It’s a forest moon, great for hosting rebels. We do not know where the criminal element that was last seen smuggling religious ideologues resides, and can only assume that they returned instead to safe forests, rather than hostile deserts. We have placed our security again in secrecy, assuming that a little-noticed external vulnerability can be adequately protected more by secrecy than overwhelming defensive force.
Endor is Not a Moon of Yavin:
Distinguished Imperial leadership, I understand that for many of you Endor is a new topic of study. It’s an obscure moon of a backwater planet, which is kind of the point. Endor’s obscurity is it’s greatest shield. While inhabited, the population lacks a written language, much less interstellar transport or communication. They are extremely hostile to outsiders; the closest word they have to “stranger” translates roughly as “unfamiliar food.” Their weapons are no match for our own, and it is incredibly unlikely that any foreign fighters could possibly motivate them to anger over their own appetites.
Yavin, as I understand it, is the graveyard of Death Stars. Unlike Endor, it lacks any native, sentient population. It was a world that exclusively housed rebels, a single, benign tumor. There were no smugglers, no religious radicals, only violent militia bent on undermining our Empire and destroying the galactic commons. Had we only acted faster, it could have been destroyed.
Hoth, it’s worth remembering, was not like that. On Hoth, we opted for the slow approach, a ground invasion and occupation, aimed at stemming the rebel advance before they entrenched themselves in a second safe haven. Hoth clearly shows that the Rebels show no arboreal allegiance, and that their basing concerns are centered on how to avoid detection, not necessarily proximity for striking at Imperial assets. That we think Endor is vulnerable indicates our failure to understand the current state of the alliance - beleaguered, on the run, and resorting to unscrupulous smugglers or sympathetic local governments. Worth noting that as hostile as Bespin was to Imperial presence, they also expelled the rebels, and the governor too when it was found out he had rebel sympathies.
All of this leads us back to Endor. Given the local hostility to outsiders, a small base and unobtrusive station should provide us with the best balance between remaining undetected and allowing the natives to defend against any attempts at Rebel basing. There is no commerce to be had in this end of the galaxy, so criminal connections will not lead the rebels here. The rebels are themselves on the retreat, looking for a secure base of operations, and are unlikely to mount a major assault. Endor will be overlooked as a possible haven.
I cannot guarantee the safety of the Empire, but I can tell you all that we are better basing plans on the work of regional commanders, rather than distant fleet analysts.
- Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod