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Literature / The Black Fleet Crisis
aka: Black Fleet Crisis

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The Black Fleet Crisis is a 1996 Star Wars Legends novel trilogy, 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 Military Science Fiction books in the SWEU, with great attention paid to ships and their positioning.

Luke Skywalker shirks his responsibilities to go on a 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 bantha hunt, chasing after a wandering ship called the Teljlkon Vagabond which ends up being as essential to the plot as Luke's mother.

Tropes featured in this work include:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: 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.
  • Action Prologue: Before the Storm opens with Gen. Etahn A'baht leading the Fifth Battle Group on a live-fire exercise.
  • Actual Pacifist: The Fallanassi are so incredibly anti-violence that they won't defend themselves or anyone else, consider anyone who does fight at all to be dangerous and deluded at the least, and act like wariness is a moral outrage on par with assault. The books dealt with a Fallanassi member telling Luke Skywalker that his mother was another member of the sect and repeatedly chewing him out and telling him that he's as bad as Vader to use violence (first upon him killing some Imperial agents to protect her). Luke stands around, taking it, because he half-believed her and wanted to hear about his mother. However considering this was after his turn to the Dark Side and during the period Luke was still very much "Must use Force for everything, no matter how trivial or invasive!" (like wiping memories from innocents...)? Well, let's face it. She was on to something, as Mara pointed out to him years later. Of course, they apparently have no problem with lying to Luke about his mother. Because of their beliefs, they see the Yevetha (who committed genocides) and New Republic (trying to stop them) as evil on the same level, as both use violence.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Yevethans don't have a single prison, jail or stockade in their society. All their crimes are punished with a beating (if minor) or death. One official expresses astonishment that other species keep criminals around living, and agrees with Han's remark that this cuts down on expenditures (he didn't realize it was sarcastic).
  • Always Chaotic Evil: 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).
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Yevetha have their brains in their thoraxes, which are also protected by thick bone. They also have auditory cells on their temples. On their wrists they have retractable dewclaws that could shoot out and surprise opponents unaware of them, extending a foot in length. They can also tolerate much greater g-forces than Humans.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Yevetha reproduce by the females laying eggs called "birth casks". They are external wombs, placing in special birthing chambers and fed fresh blood that gets absorbed through their shells. Any children which stayed in their eggs past birth are called "nestings". In most cases mothers are the ones to provide them blood, however it could come from any Yevetha. Other Yevetha are sacrificed to provide blood, or did so voluntarily (as this was considered a high honor when done for higher-ranking families).
  • Bizarre Alien Sexes: Yevetha have a fairly rare neuter sex along with male and female.
  • Boring, but Practical: In the prologue A'baht's K-Wings are armed with unguided freefall bombs that are nonetheless extremely effective.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Straight from The Star Wars Holiday Special, it's Lumpy!
    • A blink and you’ll miss it cameo that allows Admiral Drayson to declare war against the Yevetha is a journalist named Cindel, all grown up after leaving Endor.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Unusually, for once this is completely averted, which puts the reader's perspective into civilian craft without the support of massive interstellar corporations, governments, militaries, or criminal syndicates. These ships are slow, have about as many creature comforts as a minivan, and are regulated enough that any trip would require some planning. Other sources mention that many citizens of the galaxy never see the other side of their own planets, let alone anything beyond the stars. Many characters have noted that visiting hundreds of worlds really means setting down in a spaceport, exchanging cargo, grabbing a bite, and then heading out. In short, interstellar travel may be abundant, but it is not casual let alone comfortable to anyone below the elite, which happens to include all the protagonists. It's also even established that civilian ships must normally abide by flight control that prevents them going very fast, and must enter a planet slowly for safety. Luke chafes initially at this, having grown used to miltiary exemptions which allow faster speeds.
  • Closest Thing We Got: When the Yevethans attack Polneye, there are several TIE fighters available for the colony's defense, but the planet has no standing airforce, and consequently, the only pilots available to fly the fighters are a retired combat veteran, and the teacher and students from Plat Mallar's university engineering course, who flew the fighters as a training exercise (but have never fired the cannons before). Plat is both the only one to score a kill against the invaders and the only pilot to avoid being shot down.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Early in the first book, Leia mentions all the villains from the previous books, and it had just been one after another there for years.
    • At the end of the third book, the computer-controlled Imperial fleet automatically sets course for Byss, the Emperor's secret secondary capital in the Deep Core from Dark Empire.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: At the end Nil Spaar is put in a pod and launched into hyperspace. Even if he doesn't crash into anything, he will surely suffocate after a few hours.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: 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 Hoist by His Own Petard below.
  • Cyanide Pill: 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 his self-destruct to damage the Yevethan corvette that captures him.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • 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 very descriptive evisceration), and Akanah is asked whether she's ever had sex in hyperspace (the first use of the word "sex" in the EU that was referring to action rather than physiology).
    • Two words: castration knife.
  • A Day in the Limelight: 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 to save Han, and even gets dialogue!
  • Dehumanization: The Yevetha view and refer to all other species uniformly as "vermin", treating them as such, i.e. they exterminate any within "their" home star cluster, as it's viewed as a contamination of the sacred All.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Luke's quest to find his mother removes him from the main plot during Shield. And the Droids go off with Lando on their own storyline. Subverted with Chewbacca as previously noted.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Nil Spaar's quick capture of the Imperial Garrison in the prologue.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Despite being an irredeemable 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.
    • Later, he is also heartbroken and enraged after the Wookies kill many unborn children of his (not actually knowing what they are), vowing revenge on them.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Say what you will about him, Nil Spaar does not budge an inch while being cast into hyperspace to slow death, showing only contempt and pride.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Yevetha live in a highly stratified hierarchical society with many different castes. A member of a lower-ranked caste cannot rise higher. However, those from higher castes can also be "demoted" into lower ones for failures. The killing of an inferior from a lower-ranked caste is not considered murder, only killing a superior from a higher caste. Such "dominance killings" were common if subordinates failed in their duties (along with suicide as penance).
  • Fate Worse than Death: 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 while in hyperspace and have it come out on its own. They concluded it was impossible and the pod would be lost in hyperspace forever. Just as entering hyperspace requires a hyperdrive, so does exiting it. So guess where they fire Nil Spaar in a pod when they regain control of their ships at the end of the third book.
    Sil Sorannan: I don't know how long you will survive there. I do know that you will die there. Die slowly.
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: The Yevetha find the very existence of aliens living in their home Koornacht Cluster, even on other planets posing no threat to them, as an intolerable blight. Because of this (along with wanting every planet in the Cluster to colonize themselves) they commit genocide by exterminating them all (except for one survivor).
  • Final Solution: The Yevetha launch a genocidal campaign against all non-Yevetha in the Koornacht Cluster, which they claim is to prevent these people doing the same (there's no evidence they actually planned anything).
  • Forced to Watch: Exploited. Leia and the government end up with a video of Han's beating. Leia parlays this into destroying any sympathy for the Yevetha to secure a declaration of war against the Duskhan League.
  • Four-Star Badass:
    • 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 guerrilla 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. He managed 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 calisthenics in his quarters.
  • Frictionless Reentry: Averted, leading to a Red Shirt 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.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Aside from their obsession with honor and blood purity, this is the Yevetha's other 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 (who later wipe out most of the Yevetha).
  • Genesis Effect/New Eden: Although the Teljkon Vagabond is a Time Capsule 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.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: After three books of waiting for a chance, Plat Mallar finally gets to participate in the final battle, and saves a New Republic cruiser from destruction by 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.
  • Guy in Back: 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Some of the Fallanassi taken captive by the Yevetha used their powers to make illusions so other captives could escape, remaining behind and maintaining them so their guards wouldn't know. Later, most die when the Yevethan ships they remain on are destroyed in battle.
  • Hidden Depths: When he was first introduced in The Thrawn Trilogy, Admiral Drayson was portrayed as a stuffy bureaucrat who lacks creativity and, in a space battle,note  is "merely competent." Here, his expertise is revealed to be intelligence work, and he was installed as the head of an "unofficial" organization by his fellow Chandrilan, Mon Mothma. And he's good at it, scarily so.note 
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the prologue, Nil Spaar captures the Imperial garrison at N'Zoth when they were ordered to evacuate. During the final battle, the last remnants of that garrison use a slave routine to complete the evacuation mid-battle... taking the flagship and Nil Spaar with them!
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: The aforementioned 'wild bantha chase'.
  • Human Shield: The Yevetha hold hostages from the colonists they attacked and have them broadcast to the New Republic ships, pleading for their lives because if the Yevethan ships were fired on they'll die too. It works, as enough New Republic ships hesitate or don't fire to give the Yevethan fleet an advantage.
  • Idiot Ball: Nil Spaar is able to portray Leia as an aggressor and has sympathizers in the New Republic senate trying to force her resignation. In spite of this, he manages to screw it up when he kidnaps and tortures Han Solo (who was sent to investigate him) and sends Leia a film of it, which she shows to the senate and completely destroys support for the Yevetha.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: Inverted; Etahn A'baht's subordinates nickname him "Eating-A-Boat".
  • Just Following Orders: Davith Sconn, an ex-Imperial Navy officer in prison for massacring people who didn't pay their taxes, defends this by citing the fact he was under orders by the Grand Moff and complains that no one mentions that, as if it's an excuse. However, he also makes it clear this wasn't immoral in his mind, orders or not.
  • Justified Title: 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.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better:
    • 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 Star Wars.
    • One of the attack missions during the war also sees the K-wings outfitted with kinetic weapons rather than lasers.
  • Last of His Kind: 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.
  • Last Stand: The Yevetha refuse to surrender. Instead, they all fight to the death at N'Zoth, even when it's clear they can't win. General A'baht, commander of the New Republic fleet facing them, is shaken by this, saying he never before encountered an enemy doing so. Previously, their leader Nil Spaar warned the New Republic they would do this.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The books were written in 1996, so anybody reading the trilogy today knows that Luke's search for his mother really is a wild bantha chase from the moment her supposed name is revealed.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Replace father with mother, and deconstruct. Though Nashira exists, she was only a passing teacher to Akanahnote  who lost a son and a daughter to the Emperor.note  Akanah just put a wrong pair of two together.
  • Made a Slave: The Yevetha were enslaved under the Empire for their high level of technical skills. After rising up, they then enslaved the Imperial personnel who weren't killed. Later they also enslave colonists from other planets in their home star cluster (with most slaughtered).
  • Master of Illusion:
    • The Fallanassi are very skilled at illusions, even to the point of hiding an entire temple by creating the façade of its being just ruins. It can also make them invisible by merging with the background. They're even capable of making an entire illusionary fleet appear, which is used to help the New Republic win against the Yevetha.
    • Luke uses the Force to manipulate other people's minds and make himself look like a completely different person. Akanah, one of the aforementioned Fallanassi, disapproves of this as it's affecting them mentally, which is a form of coercion to her (as a pacifist, she condemns that).
  • Master Race: The Yevetha view themselves as this, with all other species being simply "alien vermin".
  • Mauve Shirt: McDowell loves to do this with his soldiers, particularly Tuketu and Skids, the trilogy's equivalent of Wedge.
  • Mighty Glacier: The K-Wing, a two-man heavy bomber introduced in this series and designed to replace the obsolete Y-Wing and aging B-Wing. Slower than the E-Wing or 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.
  • The Millstone: Senator Peramis comes from a world that suffered greatly under the Empire and thinks the New Republic is slowly becoming the Empire's equivalent by arming itself. His blind adherence to keeping the New Republic lightly armed and out of any conflict leads him to being manipulated by Nil Spaar into blocking Leia's every attempt to put a stop to the Yevethan-led genocidal war. When his opinion ends up being ignored, he actively aids in the kidnapping of Han Solo (to stop Solo from taking command of the fleet sent to stop the Yevetha).
  • Missing Mom: Luke's missing mother, who until this had only been briefly mentioned with no clear information, is the subject of a B plot as he's told by a woman he can find out more about her, then tries to with her help. It was just a lie by Akanah, and goes nowhere.
  • Named After Their Planet: Notably averted with the Yevetha, who come from the planet N'zoth.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands:
    • 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 We Will Not Use Stage Makeup In The Future. Timothy Zahn delivered a direct Take That! to both of these powers in Hand of Thrawn 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).
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Poor Han is beaten nearly to death during his captivity by Nil Spaar. Spaar unwisely sends video of this to Leia, who shows it to the Senate and destroys all sympathy for them in one fell swoop.
  • No Such Agency: 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 New Jedi Order books.
  • One-Gender Race: The Fallanassi are a single-sex sect of Force users (only women).
  • Parental Abandonment: Akanah's father left to seek wealth in her childhood so he could support Akanah and her mother, but never returned. She later finds out he's a drug user, with the fungus he's addicted to having destroyed his memories, and thus he doesn't even remember her, devastating Akanah. Her mother abandoned her later, and Akanah seeks her for years. She never finds her though.
  • Planet Looters: The stated reason for the Yevetha's genocides of other species in the area is so they can have the depopulated planets for their own use.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Nil Spaar acts like Leia has been the aggressor in their conflict and he pulls it off for some time, given that the New Republic populace has been enjoying peace so they don't want to have another war. He capitalizes on Leia's political opponents using this, and the widespread suspicion toward her due to being Darth Vader's child.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Borsk Fey'lya actually supports Leia when a no confidence vote is held against her. However it's pointed out that this because the Senator who started it did so prematurely, and that Fey'lya knew it would lose. Supporting that would damage his political career, but waiting for the perfect moment to file one against her could make it.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Not like the Wookiees, this PWR is evil.
    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.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Admiral Ackbar gives a memorable one to an Obstructive Bureaucrat 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. 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 dewback's cloaca.
    • Just for reference, among the heroes Ackbar speaks of are Biggs Darklighter,note  Tycho Celchu,note  and Crix Madine.note 
  • Recycled In Space:
    • The main plot is very much that of a Tom Clancy-style political/military techno-thriller In Space. 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 Star Wars Expanded Universe.
    • In particular, the Yevetha are reminiscent of how the Imperial Japanese were viewed by American eyes in WW2: their obsession with honor, refusal to surrender, and their ability to rapidly understand and copy technology from a more technologically advanced enemy (in this case the Empire), not to mention their rapid and violent colonial expansionism and racist tendencies. Just to hammer the metaphor home, some official art of the Yevetha gives them yellowish skin and almond-shaped eyes.
  • 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. Darksabernote  introduced the idea of a continuing Imperial Remnant and later books have the Republic still fighting it throughout the timeframe of this book. Ironically, the formation of the controversial Fifth Fleet would have been better justified by a unified Imperium. 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.
    • Indeed, the heart-wrenching moment where Ackbar orders a sign declaring proudly how long it's been since the Republic had a military conflict taken down as the Republic prepares for war with the Yevetha loses a little of its punch when you realize that there are plenty of conflicts in the time frame offered (over a thousand days), established by later works.
    • 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 X-Wing Series introduced the SSD Lusankya, which the Republic captured in The Bacta War and had combat-ready by the end of 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 later-released The Phantom Menace 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 
    • The depiction of the K-Wing bomber is 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, as well as changing the two-man cockpit from a Guy in Back seating arrangement to a side-by-side one.
  • Royal Mess: The head of state in the Yevethan Duskhan League is the Viceroy, a title that denotes a person who rules territory subordinate to a monarch. However, there is no one higher, and Viceroys are basically absolute monarchs.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Star Wars Legends EU 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 variety, believing they're the Master Race with an extreme xenophobia toward all other species, which causes them to engage in multiple genocides against those who have settled in their home star cluster. However, they also fit in the Conquistator variety too as they're motivated by wanting their worlds for themselves besides this.
  • Self-Healing Phlebotinum: The Qellan ghost ship is made of a self-healing metallic material called laminanium.
  • Sequel Hook: 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 SSD Intimidator being found abandoned and damaged beyond repair at one point, and the rest of the fleet either defecting to the Republic or joining the Imperial Remnant.
  • Sex Bot: Sex droids are briefly mentioned. This is apparently a common thing with Kube-McDowell.
  • Sins of the Father: Leia and Luke are objects of suspicion by some politicians in the New Republic due to being Darth Vader's children, even with having done all they could in defeating him (plus the Empire as a whole).
  • Slave Liberation:
    • The Yevetha were enslaved by the Empire in shipyards built over their homeworld, under the jurisdiction of Black Sword Command (hence the title of the series). Eight months after the Battle of Endor, they revolted en masse and massacred and enslaved their captors.
    • The Fallanassi captured by the Yevetha used their powers to make illusions that let other captives escape, though they remained behind to maintain these so the guards wouldn't know.
    • The Imperial prisoners in Yevetha custody worked for them on the captured ships, surreptitiously implanting a slave circuit (the name being ironic is noted) to gain control later, rising up and freeing themselves then absconding with the Black Sword Command in its entirety.
  • Slave Race: Tarkin had enslaved the Yevetha, on top of destroying Alderaan and cheating on his wife, turning them into this (like the Wookies) to use as slave labor since the Yevetha had extreme technical skills which they found useful in building starships.
  • Sole Survivor: Plat Mallar is the only person to survive the attack on Polneye by the Yevetha. He's the only survivor from their Purge of all non-Yevethan colonists in Koornacht Cluster as well.
  • Spheroid Dropship: The Yevetha's thrustships are spherical, based on the surface area argument quoted on the trope page.
  • Status Quo Is God: 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.
  • Suicide Attack:
    • Some of the Yevethan starfighters launch themselves against New Republic ships in suicide runs at the Battle of N'Zoth.
    • Plat Mallar does this as well, ramming a Yevethan ship with his fighter that was intending to do the same against the cruiser he'd launched from.
  • Super Drowning Skills: 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.
  • Theme Naming: The Yevetha rename all the Imperial ships to "X of Yevetha", such as Purity, Pride, Beauty, etc.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: 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.
  • Time Capsule: The Teljkon Vagabond turns out to be this for the extinct Qella and so much more.
  • The Unfought: The eponymous "Black Fleet", an assortment of ex-Imperial ships including eight Imperial-class star destroyers and the super star destroyer Intimdator that were captured by the Yevetha when they revolted against the Empire after Endor, is built up as a major obstacle for the New Republic's offensive. The ships are stolen in an uprising by Imperial POWs enslaved by the Yevetha just as Etahn A'Baht enters the N'zoth system, with the Imps wishing A'Baht the best of luck finishing off the Yevetha before leaving for the Deep Core with Nil Spaar and much of the Yevetha high command as their prisoners.
  • Villain of Another Story: Imperial warlod Foga Brill runs a territory with shocking amounts of graft, and warship captains who openly subject their crews to Bad Boss threats, beatings, and occasional rapes, but he remains offscreen. His only other appearances are in sourcebooks, and his warships only appear in the most self-contained of the three plotlines.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Nil Spaar manages to maintain this for a while, playing at being the victim of New Republic aggression toward his people.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Chewbacca's son Lumpy accompanies the crew of the Millennium Falcon so he can prove himself to his father.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It is never shown what happens to the boarding party from the Gorath in Lando's plotline after they abandon their efforts to board the Teljikon Vagabond in order to try to provide aid to anyone left alive on their ship (which is unlikely to save many, if any, people given the scope of their injuires) and wait for help from another warship that unknown to them may not be able to track the route they took.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: 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.
  • X Days Since: 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 Expanded Universe, but it's a nice idea.

Alternative Title(s): Black Fleet Crisis