In the end, when death consumed her, I stole everything from her mind. I heard the unspoken secrets of your little conspiracies. I saw Yula Ardinn reunited with Ganner in a cave on Carlac. I smelt the ashes of the village burning. I felt the impact of his's death.
—Decien recalling Yula's memories of the Shadow Conflict.
Shadow Conflict was a conflict between Antimatter Squadron, the Shadow Assassins, and the Brotherhood that occured throughout the final years of the Republic and the rise of the Empire. It saw the rises and falls of Ganner Slarwalker, Darth Massikus, Varad Zagg, and Arek Saris, as well as the creation of Antimatter Squadron. Later on in the conflict, the Brotherhood would also become involved, until they were defeated by Antimatter Squadron.
Prior to the beginning of the conflict, Cade Slarwalker was kidnapped for unknown purposes by Dylan Antiunknown, leader of The Brotherhood. He was raised as a soldier for the organization on Nar Shadda.
Years later, Ganner met Darth Massikus along with Yula Ardinn, Bail Malakath, and Tyrral Thraxton during their Trials on Haruun Kal. Sen Qorbin warded the Sith off, but he would remember the Jedi he had met as potential hosts.
The first stirrings of the Shadow Conflict began when Varad Zagg theorized that the power of the Binding could be used to create an army, and set out to discover whether such a thing were possible. Talzin discovered this, and that it would lead to disaster on a galactic scale and total instability in the Force, and put into motion a grand scheme to defeat him.
In late 20 BBY,the four Jedi who Massikus met on Haruun Kal had become Jedi Masters and were assigned the task of eliminating enemy forces at the Umbaran Airfield, a mission they easily completed. However, afterwards, the team discovered an ancient Umbaran Sith Temple, and were attacked by the Shadow Assassins. Ganner sacrificed himself to ensure the others could escape, and was possessed by Darth Massikus. Massikus hunted the Jedi down, killing Tyrral and Bail before Yula escaped to Dantooine, which alerted Moras Hedinin, head of surveillance for the Brotherhood.
As the Jedi were hunted, Masters Qorbin and Nyri Tacon decided to attempt to rescue the Jedi themselves; Qorbin went to Umbara while Nyri followed her visions to Dathomir.
At the same time, Republic Intelligence agent Cyana Bastra met with Chancellor Palpatine, who assigned her the task of infiltrating the Brotherhood, a task which she would have to fake her death in order to perform. She accepted the mission and joined Taran Ragnan's crew, but her husband, fellow operative Barak Dakens, never believed she was dead and began secretly trying to uncover proof she had lived.
On Umbara, Qorbin followed the Jedi's paths but was intercepted by a Sith named Decien, who easily defeated and captured Qorbin.
During Massikus' murder of the Jedi, Saris was assigned the task of following him and killing him whenever the opportunity presented itself, and he made his move when Massikus arrived on Dantooine. However, Saris did not know that Yula had stolen Massikus' shuttle, and so when he arrived to kill him, he instead fought her. They were evenly matched until Massikus caught up, at which point he was wounded by Saris while Yula escaped. Galen Slarwalker, Ganner's father, then arrived at the temple and easily defeated Saris before leaving with Massikus to try and save Ganner. Simultaneously, Yula tried to escape, only to be intercepted by Taran Ragnan and taken aboard his ship. The ship was raided by Nightsisters led by Talzin alongside Nyri who cornered Taran and Cyana as they tried to make it to an escape pod. In the quick skirmish that followed, Yula escaped while Cyana killed Nyri before escaping with Taran. Satisfied with having Yula, Talzin did not pursue the two but instead brought Yula back to Umbara.
Galen succeeded in helping Ganner regain control of his body and expel Massikus' spirit from his body, and after a brief reunion with him and Vara Slarwalker, Ganner left to pursue Saris, who was now on the run.
Around this time, Hans, Cade (under the name Arron Radion), Ranulph Darkhtich, Siri Tokolighter (a Shadow Assassin spy and apprentice of Arek Saris), and Blaze Terrant were captured by Taran and formed into the first Antimatter Squadron, a Brotherhood strike team under the guise of a Republic one. Their first assignment was to eliminate a troublesome Separatist general on the planet of Felucia.
Saris, desperate to hide and escape Ganner, made his way to Felucia to meet up with Siri, eliminating and replacing the general Antimatter Squadron had been sent to kill before they had even arrived. When they finally did show up, Saris easily defeated the team, capturing them all but Hans, who escaped into the wilderness. Hans happened upon Ganner, and the two agreed to work together to save Antimatter Squadron and defeat Saris. They attacked the base, successfully freeing the prisoners and sending Saris on the run. Ganner met the rest of the team, who agreed to help him defeat Saris.
Saris, heading to Mandalore, was caught by an experimental Republic interdiction cruiser, the Reverence, which Dylan Antiunknown had also stowed away on, seeking to use the vessel to get to Mandalore and meet with Garrick Clyine. Upon boarding, Saris declared himself to now be Darth Maricus, and slaughtered the entire crew minus Dylan before continuing his previous plan. Ganner and Antimatter Squadron caught up to him as he was leaving, and split up to capture him. Cade, having remembered parts of his previous life due to the torture he experienced while in Saris' custody, stole the team's shuttle to get to Mandalore and speak to Garrick. Ranulph went to the bridge and found Dylan while Hans, Siri, and Ganner pursued Saris, who escaped. The team then met on the bridge, where Dylan told them that Saris was headed to Mandalore and was working with the Death Watch.
On Mandalore's surface, Cade met with Garrick in a cantina, and drugged him with truth serum to learn what he knew of Cade's past. Garrick knew next to nothing, but gave him the name of "the boss": Dylan Antiunknown. Cade then killed Garrick and hid his body, which was found soon after by Brotherhood forces.
Briefly after, Ganner and Antimatter Squadron made their way to the planet in search of Saris. They split up, with Blaze, Hans, and Siri scanning the city while Ranulph monitored from their ship and Ganner personally searched for Saris. As soon as the opportunity arose, Siri made her move against Blaze and Hans, trapping Blaze and leaving him to die as she attacked Hans, but finding herself unable to defeat him, retreated to reunite with her master.
As the betrayal occurred, Ganner followed Saris and witnessed the final moments of a bargain between him and Pre Vizsla, in which the latter agreed to give Death Watch forces to the former. After Pre left, Ganner attacked Saris, and defeated him but was caught off-guard by Siri, mortally wounded, and left to die as they prepared to return to Umbara. However, Hans and Ranulph were able to save Ganner. Ranulph, who had been keeping track of Dylan after they met, realized that he was the leader of the Brotherhood and managed to strike a deal with him, offering the valuable lightsabers of the Shadow Assassins in exchange for assistance with completing their mission.
After much preparation from both sides, including the Binding of Darth Ruin to Xux and the resurrection of Darth Massikus in Yula's body, the the battle finally began when Brotherhood forces were attacked by Shadow Assassins at their staging area, the Umbaran Airfield. During the battle, Varad Zagg sent a false transmission to the Brotherhood HQ, ordering it to fire its superlaser on the airfield. The blast devastated both sides, though Hans and Ranulph were okay. The blast knocked Ganner unconscious, which allowed Talzin to speak to him and show him the truth behind the entire conflict, and to urge him to give up his adherence to the Jedi Code in order to defeat Varad.
Ultimately, Ganner did, and he went on a rampage through the Umbaran Sith Temple, easily dispatching Siri, Arek, and Varad, whose deaths bought enough time for Xux to escape. He left with Ranulph and Hans to Coruscant to search the Jedi Archives for any possible hints as to where Massikus could've gone. He found information connecting Massikus to Talzin, and left to find the latter, narrowly avoiding Order 66. When it began, Ganner resolved to go back and help the Jedi but was captured by none other than Cade.
Cade explained to Ganner that Dylan wanted Cade to be his personal bodyguard, but he wanted Cade to kill Ganner to prove himself, as well as their relation to each other, and the two devised a plan to fake Ganner's death so that Ganner could operate independently and Cade could get closer to Dylan.
The plan worked almost too well; Dylan was totally convinced, as were Hans and Ranulph, who vowed revenge on Cade. After Dylan took Cade drinking to celebrate their new partnership, Hans captured Cade to interrogate him, while Ganner made his way offworld. The next day, Hans and Ranulph were just in the beginning of their interrogation when they were attacked by Praxon, one of the Brotherhood's top assassins, who rescued Cade and brought him back to Dylan to be taken offworld.
Dylan brought Cade with him to Nar Shadda, where he met with Taran Ragnan and Cyana Bastra to discuss creating a second Antimatter Squadron. Taran, displeased at being ordered to do so, referred to Cade by his real name as they left, revealing that his true identity was known. After the meeting, Cade and Dylan returned briefly to the Brotherhood HQ, where Cade sent a message to Hans and Cade warning them that Dylan was planning something, and that Taran was connected to the Brotherhood. His message was seen by Asura Tyuki, a Brotherhood slicer who had decided to attempt to gain access to Dylan's personal server.
Dylan's next task brought him and Cade to Hoth, where they met with Lospeg, a Geonosian scientist and Dylan's top mole in the CIS. In a cave, Lospeg presented Dylan with DX-245, a highly modified super battle droid practically unmatched in its combat ability. Dylan ordered the droid to kill Cade, and left to return to Brotherhood HQ. Asura Tyuki sliced into the droid and narrowly saved Cade from death, and relayed a desperate plea for help before the droid regained control of its systems and returned to Dylan, believing Cade to be dead. Hans and Ranulph caught up to Cade just after DX's departure, and decided to assist him in defeating Dylan.
At the same time,the abductions of Asura, Praxon, and Kev Marnath were carried out. They, along with DX, were placed under the command of Taran and Cyana, forming the second Antimatter Squadron. This time in order to prevent any failures in the mission, the living three were given neural implants that would allow Taran and Cyana to control them if necessary. The team was tasked with killing a high-ranking member of the Nebula Corporation, Dani Morrow at a party.
Both the old and new Antimatter Squadrons made their way to the party, where Hans and Cade were unable to stop Praxon from escaping with Dani. Fighting against the nerve controls, he begged Morrow to kill him and escape, but DX-245, under Asura's control, shot and killed her. Inside the party, Hans and Cade defeated and captured Kev, who Taran controlled into provoking Hans into killing him by mocking his mother's death. Both teams withdrew from the situation afterwards.
Aboard the Exarch, Cyana had Praxon fitted with the DX Neural Interface, syncing up his mind to DX-245's processor and, hopefully, allowing the droid to control Praxon more easily than the first set of implants could, as well as improving the combat abilities of both. Meanwhile, Asura managed to get in contact with Hans briefly, informing him of the situation. Hans, Cade, and Ranulph decided to attempt to disable Asura's implants and rescue her.
Hans and Cade boarded and fought through the Exarch, prompting Taran to sic the second Antimatter Squadron on them, activate a self-destruct, and escape with Cyana. When Hans and Cade found Asura, they were able to disable her implants as planned, but Asura insisted on saving Praxon as well. Praxon and DX-245 then attacked the duo, and Asura managed to remove a restraining bolt from DX-245, which caused the droid to stop following Brotherhood orders, at the cost of being shot by Praxon under the droid's control. The whole group then made their way off the ship in time to escape the ship's destruction.
Taran and Cyana met with Dylan shortly afterwards at a hidden Brotherhood base, where he angrily exiled Taran and promoted Cyana to his former place as second-in-command of the Brotherhood, which Dylan ordered to go into hiding for the time being.
At the same time, Ganner made his way to Dathomir to meet with Talzin (now a ghost after her death at the hands of General Grievous), where he learned that Darth Massikus was not the only Sith that had survived the battle; Darth Ruin had as well, and was currently on Korriban. Before leaving, Ganner also learned how to perform the ritual that had shaped his destiny, becoming a Keeper of the Binding. On Korriban, Ganner battled Ruin, whose body was destabilizing from both overexertion of the Force as well as his own insanity. Ultimately Ganner killed Ruin, and decided to meet with his friends and family one last time before he faced Massikus.
He contacted Antimatter Squadron, telling them to meet on Dantooine just as Asura woke up. Hans accepted the invitation and forgave Cade, but decided that only they and Ranulph should visit Ganner as he didn't know the others. On Dantooine, Ganner thanked everyone present for saving his life, and by extension, the galaxy, and gave them all holorecordings to use in times of need before preparing to leave. Galen, as Ganner had anticipated, viewed his holorecording almost immediately and discovered that in it Ganner asked him to come with him to Carlac to prepare for the final battle. Galen accepted the offer.
Over the next year, Ganner and Galen trained and set up defenses to prepare for the duel with Massikus. Ganner also became the defender of a nearby Ming Po settlement, becoming known as Roh'Putih, the white spirit. At last, the day that had long been prophesied came, beginning when Massikus had members of the Death Watch raid the village to draw Ganner out. Ganner and Galen made short work of them, and Ganner met with Massikus for the first time since Dantooine.
Their duel was fierce, and Ganner spent most of it retreating to lead Massikus towards his base and into traps, none of which were able to kill him. Finally, after being attacked by a horde of bomb droids, Massikus' armor was damaged enough that Ganner could see Yula was his host, Ganner lured him into his cave in order to try and save her one last time. Galen was hidden in the cave, and stabbed Massikus from behind similar to how Saris had impaled Ganner in the events leading up to his release. Then, Ganner attempted to enter Yula's mind as Galen had done, but Massikus surprised him by taking advantage of the link between him and Yula to take over Ganner's body. The two fought for control, and Ganner, uncertain that he could overcome Massikus, managed to win long enough to stab himself through the heart with his own lightsaber. With the deaths of Ganner and Massikus, the conflict was finally over.
After Ganners' death, Antimatter Squadron and Vara Slarwalker went to Carlac to bury him and decided to hide his journals in the cave he used to live in.
The Galactic Empire also discovered the destruction of the Umbaran Sith Temple and the Inquisitor Decien took an interest in it, having had his memories of the Temple and his duel with Qorbin wiped at some point prior. His findings would eventually lead to the Resurgence Conflict and the Binding of Ganner Slarwalker.
Antimatter Squadron continued to search for hints to the Brotherhood's location for years, even after Ranulph left the group because of his holorecording, which described a vision of two heroes fighting a new threat, but putting at risk all those around them.
Yula went to live with Galen and Vara for a time, then decided to go on a quest of introspection which led to her crossing paths with Ranulph, and the two determined themselves to be the subjects of the vision, beginning a new mission.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Shadow Conflict has two meanings, the first and more obvious one being that the conflict largely revolves around the Shadow Assassins. However, the name is also a reference to the overall secrecy of the conflict; the conflict was almost completely self-contained, and by its end very few were still alive who knew that it had ever even taken place.