[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Beforethestormcover_8164.jpg]]
'''''[[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/The_Black_Fleet_Crisis The Black Fleet Crisis]]''''' is a trilogy in the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse, consisting of ''Before the Storm'', ''Shield of Lies'', and ''Tyrant's Test''. Written by [=Michael P. Kube-McDowell=], this is known to be one of the more MilitaryScienceFiction books in the SWEU, with great attention paid to ships and their positioning.

Luke Skywalker shirks his responsibilities to go on a [[HoldYourHippogriffs wild bantha chase]] to find his mother, and meets an all-female group of Force users. Han Solo and Leia, meanwhile, have to deal with the bigoted Yevetha. At the same time, Lando heads off on an even wilder [[RunningGag bantha hunt]], chasing after a wandering ship called the Teljlkon Vagabond which ends up being as essential to the plot as Luke's mother.
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!!Tropes featured in this work include:

* AbsoluteXenophobe: The Yevetha are a pretty textbook example. Only a few ambassadors like Nil Spaar will permit themselves to be in the same room as 'vermin' (any other race) and immediately afterwards they will burn their clothes and submit themselves to painful water needle-spray cleansing showers.
* ActionPrologue: ''Before the Storm'' opens with Gen. Etahn A'baht leading the Fifth Battle Group on a live-fire exercise.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Yevetha, who have no consideration for other species concepts of civilians, kill everyone else living in a star cluster they consider theirs, and use captured prisoners as living shields. It's to the point where the first formal declaration of war ever issued by the New Republic was against them rather than an Imperial faction (who, granted, they were never ''not'' at war with).
* BizarreAlienBiology: Yevetha apparently have their brains in their chests. Though this is based on Nil Spaar tapping his chest when referring to his mind, so it might just be that they poetically place the seat of the mind there, like humans refer to the heart as the seat of emotions.
* BoringButPractical: In the prologue A'baht's K-Wings are armed with unguided freefall bombs that are nonetheless extremely effective.
* CanonForeigner: Straight from ''Film/TheStarWarsHolidaySpecial'', it's Lumpy!
* ContinuityNod: At the end of the third book, [[spoiler:the computer-controlled Imperial fleet automatically sets course for Byss, the Emperor's secret secondary capital in the Deep Core from ''ComicBook/DarkEmpire'']].
* CoolStarship:
** Yevetha thrustships.
** And the ''Intimidator'', a modified version of the ''Executor''-Class Star Dreadnaught.
* CurbStompBattle: The Yevethan Genocide. The Yevethan fleet utterly obliterates the populations of over a dozen worlds in one swift attack, losing only ''one starfighter'' in the process. Reversed at the end, see HoistByHisOwnPetard below.
* CyanidePill: Recon X-wings are equipped with a joystick device that both purges the computer memory, sets a self-destruct to a deadman switch, and has a poison needle for the pilot to commit suicide rather than avoid capture. One pilot delays this long enough for [[TakingYouWithMe his self-destruct to damage the Yevethan corvette that captures him]].
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** For its release date it was pretty dark and edgier than any previous EU works- the language is rougher (Han gets to drop both a "son of a bitch" and a "bastard" on the Yevetha's leadership, and neither expression had been used in the EU before this), the violence is more graphic (the first EU decapitation that actually contained blood, as well as a [[{{Gorn}} very descriptive]] evisceration), and Akanah is asked whether she ever had sex in hyperspace (the first use of the word "sex" in the EU that was referring to action rather than gender).
** Two words: ''Castration knife.''
* ADayInTheLimelight: Chewbacca vanishes for the second book and the reader might think [=McDowell=] was simply quietly getting rid of him due to not knowing how to write him, the way many other EU authors do. But then he returns to have a major role in the last book, bringing his whole family with him [[spoiler:to save Han, and even gets dialogue]]!
* DeusExitMachina: Luke. And the Droids go off with Lando on ''their'' own storyline. Subverted with Chewbacca as previously noted.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Nil Spaar's quick capture of the Imperial Garrison in the prologue. [[WhamLine And what he says and does immediately afterwards]].
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Despite being an unredeemable asshole in every other respect Nil Spaar demonstrates genuine affection for his first consort, even going so far as to order her chambers kept forever unoccupied in her memory.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Some of the Imperial troops manning the Yevetha-based shipyards (and later counter-enslaved by the Yevetha) were working on advanced research projects to do with hyperspace, to see if it were possible to launch a weapon pod into hyperspace and have it come out on its own. They concluded it was impossible and the pod would be lost in hyperspace forever. [[spoiler:So guess where they fire Nil Spaar in a pod when they regain control of their ships at the end of the third book]].
* FourStarBadass: Etahn A'baht, the newly appointed leader of the Fifth Fleet. Even Admiral Ackbar admits A'baht is a better strategist at conventional warfare than he is, as most Rebel commanders were used to guerilla tactics, but A'baht was used to ''fighting''.
** A'baht's backstory involves him being in charge of around 80 ships defending his home system's independence against the Imperial Navy. [[DavidVersusGoliath He manages to hold the Empire at bay without assistance while being heavily outgunned and outnumbered.]]
** Then there's a small scene where A'baht, waiting for court martial, whiles away time by doing extremely difficult callisthenics in his quarters.
* FrictionlessReentry: Averted, leading to a RedShirt Moment in ''Before the Storm''. During the live-fire exercise in chapter one, one of the Fifth Battle Group's fleet tenders drops out of hyperspace too late to decelerate and breaks up upon striking a planet's atmosphere, killing its crew of six.
* GadgeteerGenius: Aside from their obsession with honour and blood purity, this is the Yevetha's other [[PlanetOfHats hat]], with them presented as being capable of duplicating and improving the Imperial technology they were exposed to when they were slave workers in the shipyards. An interesting {{Foil}} to the Yuuzhan Vong.
* GenesisEffect[=/=]NewEden: [[spoiler:Although the Teljkon Vagabond is a TimeCapsule [[FlingALightIntoTheFuture meant to preserve the Qella's culture and history]], its true and ultimate purpose is to create one of these, once their home planet had recovered enough from its Ice Age that it could be restored.]]
* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: After three books of waiting for a chance, [[spoiler:Plat Mallar]] finally gets to participate in the final battle, and [[HeroicSacrifice saves a New Republic cruiser from destruction]] by [[RammingAlwaysWorks ramming]] an enemy bomber. However, he'd used a starfighter belonging to the cruiser's captain, so no one knows it was he who did it.
* GuyInBack: The K-Wings are configured as such in this series. This was among the details that was retconned; the final design ended up with the pilot and bombardier side by side and added a pair of defensive gunners.
* HiddenDepths: When he was first introduced in ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'', Admiral Drayson was portrayed as [[ObstructiveBureaucrat a stuffy bureaucrat who lacks creativity]] and, in a space battle[[note]]versus [[BigBad Grand Admiral Thrawn]] ''himself''[[/note]], is "[[OvershadowedByAwesome merely competent.]]" Here, his expertise is revealed to be intelligence work, and was installed as the head of an "unofficial" organization by his fellow Chandrilan, [[BigGood Mon Mothma]]. And he's ''good'' at it, [[TookALevelInBadass scarily so]].[[note]]His background in other works includes him in charge of a shipping (not ''[[{{Shipping}} that]]'' kind) business and commander of Chandrila's equivalent to the CoastGuard, where he had to deal with smugglers, requiring him to handle both military and intelligence work, albeit only on a system-wide scale as opposed to a galactic scale. His failure to obtain the ''Katana'' fleet might very well have been a CareerBuildingBlunder.[[/note]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: In the prologue, Nil Spaar captures the Imperial Garrison at N'Zoth when they were ordered to evacuate. During the final battle, [[spoiler: the last remnants of that garrison use a slave routine to complete the evacuation mid-battle... taking the Flagship and Nil Spaar with them!]]
* HoldYourHippogriffs: The aforementioned 'wild bantha chase'.
* InMyLanguageThatSoundsLike: Inverted; Etahn A'baht's subordinates nickname him "Eating-A-Boat".
* JustifiedTitle: The trilogy's title refers to Black Sword Command, the Imperial fleet assigned to the Koornacht Cluster which was not accounted for by New Republic Intelligence at the start of the series. The Yevetha had captured it during their uprising and made it the core of their navy.
* KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter:
** In the live-fire exercise in the intro, the Fifth Battle Group face a moon-mounted hypervelocity gun, a weapon that fires super-accelerated solid ammunition rather than the more common energy weapons in ''Franchise/StarWars''.
** One of the attack missions during the war also sees the K-wings outfitted with kinetic weapons rather than lasers.
* LastOfHisKind: Plat Mallar is the only known survivor from Polneye, the largest of the worlds that fell victim to the Yevethan Genocide and the only one able to put up a fight, but still utterly annihilated.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: The books were written in 1996, so anybody reading the trilogy today knows that [[spoiler:Luke's search for his mother really is a [[RuleOfThree wild bantha chase]] from the moment her supposed name is revealed]].
* LukeIAmYourFather: Replace father with mother, and deconstruct. [[spoiler: Though Nashira exists, she was only a passing teacher to Akanah[[note]]who later abandoned her[[/note]] who lost a son and a daughter to the Emperor[[note]]; which makes her just as likely to be Mara Jade's mother as to be Luke's[[/note]]. Akanah just put a wrong pair of two together.]]
* MasterRace: The Yevetha.
* MauveShirt: [=McDowell=] loves to do this with his soldiers, particularly Tuketu and Skids, the trilogy's equivalent of Wedge.
* MightyGlacier: The K-Wing, a two-man heavy bomber introduced in this series and designed to replace the [[MasterOfNone obsolete Y-Wing]] and aging B-Wing. Slower than the [[MasterOfAll E-Wing]] or [[JackOfAllStats X-Wing]], but in the words of one of their pilots in ''The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels'':
--> '''Miranda Doni:''' We're the heavy hitters. When you need a command bridge leveled or a convoy of tanks wiped out, the K-wings get the call.
* NamedAfterTheirPlanet: Notably averted with the Yevetha, who come from the planet N'zoth.
* NewPowersAsThePlotDemands:
** [=McDowell=] gave Luke super-construction powers (with intense concentration and lots of meditation). Not only was he able to find the shattered, scattered, buried remains of his father's fortress and reassemble them in midair with the Force, he was able to make broken edges fuse and shuffle the mineral content to build a tower out of those remains, and then he was able to resculpt the stone at will and play with light and gravity inside. All other EU material tends to ignore this power.
** Another example of this is Luke using the Force to mess with people's perceptions when he wants to disguise himself, in an example of WeWillNotUseStageMakeupInTheFuture. Creator/TimothyZahn delivered a direct TakeThat to both of these powers in ''Literature/HandOfThrawn'' and came up with an in-universe {{Retcon}} for why Luke was stupid to use them and Yoda never would (basically, they're so unnecessarily showy and power-consuming that they drown out your deeper perceptions of the Force and cut you off from your sense of morality).
* NoSuchAgency: These books introduce Alpha Blue, the New Republic's super-secret intelligence group that goes above and beyond the official military New Republic Intelligence (NRI). It would later reappear in the NewJediOrder books.
* PlanetLooters: The stated reason for the Yevethan genocide is so they can have the depopulated planets for their own use.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Not like the Wookiees, this PWR is evil.
--> '''[[spoiler: Nil Spaar]]''': Your wars are decided by the death of a tenth of a population, a third of an army. Then the defeated surrender their honor and the victors surrender their advantage. This is called being civilized. The Yevetha are not civilized, General. It would be a mistake to deal with us as though we were.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Admiral Ackbar gives a memorable one to an ObstructiveBureaucrat ''and'' his supervisor regarding Plat Mallar's application to join the New Republic military. The bureaucrats are reluctant to approve it because Polneye was legally an Imperial planet, so Mallar is an Imperial citizen despite the Imperial Remnant having completely ignored his homeworld for years.
-->'''Ackbar''': Bureaucratic nonsense. Whatever happened to taking the measure of a man's courage, his honor--the fight in him, and the reasons in his heart. [[NotSoDifferent Do they all have to be as stamped-and-pressed alike as stormtroopers to get your approval]]? Get out.
--->''(bureaucrat flees)''
-->'''Supervisor''': Admiral, we could certainly reconsider the application if you could just give us the context for your concern--\\
'''Ackbar''': The context. It's not enough that a man is willing to put on a uniform and fight alongside people he's never met, just because he shares an ideal with them--no, his offer must come from the right context, and his school papers must be in order, and his arms not too long, and his blood type stocked in the combat medivacs. How things have changed. I can remember when we were glad for anyone willing to fight beside us.\\
'''Supervisor''': Admiral--there have to be standards--\\
'''Ackbar''': Major, ask yourself how many of the everyday heroes of the Rebellion--not just the names everyone knows--would have qualified to fight for their freedom under your rules. And then ask yourself if that answer doesn't make you look just a bit like a [[HoldYourHippogriffs dewback's cloaca]].
** Just for reference, among the heroes Ackbar speaks of are Biggs Darklighter[[note]]Luke's old friend from Tatooine, an Imperial Military Academy graduate who jumped ship to join up, and [[HeroicSacrifice died covering Luke during the trench run]][[/note]], Tycho Celchu[[note]]an Alderaanian pilot who defected after Alderaan and, at the time of ''BFC'', is the commanding officer of [[ComicBook/XWingSeries Rogue Squadron]][[/note]], and Crix Madine[[note]]an Imperial Intelligence officer who defected to the Rebels and helped mastermind the theft of the shuttle ''Tydirium'' for the Endor operation[[/note]].
* RecycledInSpace:
** The main plot is very much that of a Creator/TomClancy-style political/military techno-thriller InSpace. Arguably a lot of the continuity issues with the books stem from the fact that this didn't mesh well with the status quo of the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse.
** In particular, the Yevetha are reminiscent of how the Imperial Japanese were viewed by American eyes in UsefulNotes/WW2: their obsession with honour, refusal to surrender, and their ability to rapidly understand and copy technology from a more technologically advanced enemy (in this case the Empire).
* {{Retcon}}: Quite a lot of the books were obsoleted by later decisions in ordering the Expanded Universe chronology, though this mostly isn't [=Kube-McDowell=]'s fault as it was still very vague when he wrote the books:
** There is said to be no single Imperial government anymore, only minor warlords, and the Republic has been officially at peace for nearly three years. ''[[Literature/TheCallistaTrilogy Darksaber]]''[[note]]Set four years prior to this series and published in 1995 (versus Before The Storm's 1996)[[/note]] introduced the idea of a continuing Imperial Remnant and later books have the Republic still fighting it throughout the timeframe of this book. Ironically enough, the formation of the controversial Fifth Fleet would have been justified better by a unified Imperium. [[spoiler:And in a Double-Irony, the Yevetha actually ''create'' the fiction of a "Grand Imperial Union" to justify the presence of the (by-then discovered) Imperial Ships in ''Tyrant's Test''.]]
** When the Yevetha are revealed to have an ''Executor''-class star dreadnaught, it's said that the Republic has nothing of the same size to counter it with. The later ''ComicBook/XWingSeries'' introduced the SSD ''Lusankya'', which the Republic captured in ''The Bacta War'' and had combat-ready by the end of [[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy the war with Grand Admiral Thrawn]].
** The government of the New Republic is described in detail, but bears no resemblance to what appears in books either before or since. In fairness, this is a problem with pretty much every EU book from this era. An example from the ''Movie'' Canon: the latter-released ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' has Senators representing multi-world hegemonies similar to the Duskhan League, the recognition of which versus its twelve constituent worlds individually was seen as a major diplomatic concern for The Republic.[[note]]Granted, several of said multi-world hegemonies banded together to oppose the Republic in [[Film/AttackOfTheClones the later]] [[Film/RevengeOfTheSith prequels]], which might have inspired a policy change on that point.[[/note]]
** The depiction of the K-Wing bomber is [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/BTL-S8_K-wing_assault_starfighter#Source_discrepancies very different]] from its finalized design in ''The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels''. Among other things it is stated to have no armaments apart from its ordnance hardpoints. The ''Essential Guide'' added a pair of light turbolaser turrets.
* {{Robosexual}}: Sex droids are briefly mentioned. This is apparently a common thing with Kube-[=McDowell=].
* ScaryDogmaticAliens: The SWEU tends to have three broad categories which enemies fall into: 1) Imperials, 2) Sith, and 3) evil alien hordes. Guess which one this is. The Yevetha specifically fall under the Nazi Aliens variety.
* SelfHealingPhlebotinum: The Qellan ghost ship is made of a self-healing metallic material called laminanium.
* SequelHook: [[spoiler:The slave-rigged Imperial fleet at the end automatically flees into hyperspace towards Byss]]. Unfortunately, this was never followed up on (the most it gets is a footnote in ''The New Essential Chronology'' about the [[spoiler:SSD ''Intimidator'' being found destroyed at one point, and the rest of the fleet either defecting to the Republic or joining the Imperial Remnant]].
* SingleGenderRace: A [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal single-sex sect]], subverted because they allow men in.
* SlaveRace: Tarkin enslaved the Yevetha. On top of destroying Alderaan and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking cheating on his wife]].
* SpheroidDropship: The Yevetha's thrustships are spherical, based on the surface area argument quoted on the trope page.
* StatusQuoIsGod: These books attempt to move on from the status quo by suggesting technological evolution, saying X-wings have become outdated and even Luke now flies an E-wing, and introducing a whole host of new ships. This is ignored by later books, though there are sometimes justifications used, like an upgraded model of X-wing being produced so it regains supremacy.
* SuperDrowningSkills: Ayddar Nylykerka, being a Tammarian, a race from a planet with no surface water and who have a fear of being immersed in it. Despite this he attempts to swim through the water surrounding Admiral Ackbar's dwelling to get in, which convinces Ackbar that what he's telling him must be of vital importance.
* ThemeNaming: The Yevetha rename all the Imperial ships to "X of Yevetha", such as Purity, Pride, Beauty, etc.
* ThirdLineSomeWaiting: In the second installment, each of the main plots occupy their own third of the book with no real interaction, so, e.g., you don't know ''why'' Lando's group is getting ships recalled to Coruscant until you read Leia's third near the end. In fact, Lando's plotline becomes so disconnected from the main events that the third book labels ''his'' chapters as "Interludes", with one Interlude following two mainline chapters.
* TimeCapsule: The Teljkon Vagabond turns out to be this for the extinct Qella [[spoiler:and so much more]].
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: Nil Spaar manages to maintain this for a while.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Chewbacca's son Lumpy accompanies the crew of the Millennium Falcon so he can prove himself to his father.
* WoundedGazelleGambit: The Yevethans do this in order to throw off suspicion of them while allowing them to purge a number of Deep Core systems of their native populations when they destroy an unarmed survey ship but accuse Leia of warmongering to make the New Republic turn inward to deal with this "issue". Fortunately soon the galaxy sees their true colors.
* XDaysSince: The Republic has a counter saying how many days the galaxy has been at peace. In a poignant scene, they are ordered to take it down when the fight with the Yevetha begins. This doesn't fit with the later timescale of the ExpandedUniverse, but it's a nice idea.
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