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Alzoc III was the third world in the Alzoc system of the Outer Rim Territories. It was a frozen world, dominated by arctic tundra and frozen wastes. This limited the amount of wildlife on the surface. The sole sentient species native to the planet was the Talz. Tall bipeds covered in gray-white fur, they were notable for their four eyes, an adaption to dazzling sunlight reflected off snow.
While the planet was sporadically visited during the reign of the Galactic Republic, its major introduction to galactic society was through Imperial scouts. Discovering a world rich with natural resources and an available work force, the Empire secretly enslaved the planet, conscripting the natives to work in large mines. The extracted ore was then shipped off to Imperial shipyards; the valuable Alzoc Pearl was also collected. The Imperials only withdrew from the planet after the Battle of Endor as part of widespread consolidation of forces. The New Republic later discovered records of the planet and established contact.
The planet was twice revisited by Imperial elements in 12 ABY. The Eye of Palpatine, a rogue battlemoon, stopped there to collect long-absent stormtroopers, before continuing on to Belsavis. That year, the Empire Reborn also established a base on the planet, which was infiltrated by New Republic Intelligence Service agents Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors.
Alzoc III was a frozen planet, with snow and ice dominating its surface. It was covered in vast frozen wastelands, bisected by a number of deep valleys and mountain ranges. Frigid gales swept the planet, often resulting in snow storms. The Valley of Blizzards was particularly notable for this phenomenon. A number of frozen lakes also covered the surface. During the daylight hours, sunlight reflected from the snow fields could be blinding, capable of burning the retinas of many species. Nights on the moonless planet reached the other extreme, blanketed in darkness.
Aside from the sentient Talz, there was virtually no wildlife on the planet. The Snow slug was the only species readily visible on the planet's surface; a slug with large teeth, it ploughed through the snowfields with its mouth open, catching prey in its cavelike mouth and leaving a trail of melted snow in its wake. Imperial bioengineers considered using the snow slug as part of an experiment to create bioweapons, but the project produced no results. A second animal native to Alzoc was the torsk. The t'landa Til Teroenza was known to possess a sculpture of a torsk carved from lapis. During the Imperial occupation of the planet, shaak were introduced to the planet as livestock. They were reared by a Food Commissioner who managed supplies on the planet.
Little is known of the flora on the planet, apart from a species of fir tree that grew sparsely over the planet. The orphan Muftak, born on the desert world of Tatooine, had recurring dreams of his homeworld which he believed to be a form of genetic memories. These dream-memories contained images of rich and lush jungles, with huge bell-shaped flowers of all colors hanging from the foliage. Within the depths of these flowers, reservoirs of rich nectar formed. In his dreams, this liquid was full of marvelous rippling flavors, drunk by the Talz through their proboscis. While these dream-memories did not correlate to the environment of Alzoc III during his lifetime, it is possible they reflected an earlier period in the planet's history.
Little is known of the early history of Alzoc III. Around 30,000 BBY, the planet was ruled the Rakata which dominated much of the galaxy through their interstellar Infinite Empire. With the collapse of the Empire five thousands later, the Rakatans retreated to their homeworld, leaving little trace as to how and why they left.
The earliest off-world sighting of a Talz was in 3,993 BBY on the planet Korriban. During this same period, a Talz worked as a member of the Jedi Covenant's Shadows. The world was also visited by the Yuuzhan Vong as part of their early reconnaissance around 29 BBY; a number of the natives were taken captive for experimentation by the extra-galactic invaders. Prior to the rise of the Empire, some Talz lived and traveled off-world, with individuals living on Maramere, Lamaredd, Questal, and Esseles, where Bama Vook worked as a test pilot for Trinkatta Starships. A sizable community of Talz also lived on Orto Plutonia, coming into conflict with the Pantorans from the orbiting moon. Perhaps the most notable off-world Talz during this period was the Jedi Knight Foul Moudama, though few knew of his origins. He fought as a General in the Clone Wars and was killed while protecting the Supreme Chancellor.
During the Clone Wars, the planet was considered to be in the territory controlled by a Hutt crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure. Following the Battle of Ryloth, Alzoc temporarily became a point of interest for both sides of the conflict. The bounty hunter Cad Bane had stolen a Gravitic Core of a new Separatist superweapon in the orbit above planet, leaving the Munificent-class star frigate that was carrying it to be hit by an explosion of another one. The frigate crashed on Alzoc, where the gravitic core had created a gravity anomaly, causing the wreckage to float in the air near the crash site alongside ice debris. Shortly thereafter, Jabba had informed the Galactic Republic of the CIS activity near the planet, hoping to punish the Separatist for passing through his territory without payment. The Jedi High Council had dispatched Jedi Masters Aayla Secura and Luminara Unduli to investigate the report.
Accompanied by a detachment of Grand Army of the Republic led by clone marshal commander CC-5052 and senior clone commander CC-1004, two Jedi had arrived at Alzoc, dispatching several All Terrain Tactical Enforcers to the planet's surface. However, by that time the crash site was already visited by a Confederate assassin Asajj Ventress, the Dark Acolyte of Count Dooku. In order to keep the new gravitic weapon a secret, Dooku ordered his agent to destroy any evidence of the incident and allow no witness to be left alive. When the Republic forces arrived at the crash cite, both Jedi and the clone troopers were stunned by the view of huge masses of ice and numerous starship parts floating freely in the air and decided to investigate the vessel. They were engaged by many battle droids dispatched by Ventress to keep the Jedi occupied, while she had set the remainings of the ship for self-destruct. After finding the ship's data recorder, the Republic forces were able to uncover the record of the ship's last moments, learning about the existence of the gravitic weapon. Preparing to abandon the doomed vessel, the Jedi were ambushed by the Rattataki assassin. After a brief duel, two Jedi Masters have overpowered the Dark Acolyte, trapping her under the bulk of ice and preparing to report the results of their mission to the Jedi Council.
While Imperial scouts discovered the planet sometime before 18 BBY, they found that the majority of the Talz were unaware of galactic civilization. Their society was a primitive one, making use of simple tools to build shelters from the cold. Realizing the potential untapped labor force represented by the Talz, the discovery was never listed on the Galactic Registry, in order to circumvent Senate regulations regarding the treatment of primitive peoples. Instead the Empire enslaved the species, with the indirect aid of the professional Quarren slaver Borun Call. They then set up huge mines, putting the Talz to work in unforgiving conditions. In addition to ores shipped off to major shipyards, Imperials also found valuable Alzoc Pearls on the planet. Obo Rin, an Imperial sentientologist, characterized their presence as protective, citing the need to prevent offworlders enslaving the primitive species. In actuality, the Empire kept the planet off limits and banned the Talz from leaving their world in order to keep a monopoly on this resource. To further this end, the Empire offered a 5,000 credit bounty for the capture or execution of any Talz found offworld.
The Talz suffered greatly under Imperial occupation and were worked to death in the mines with minimum rations. This situation was alleviated for a short period under the supervision of Imperial officer Pter Thanas. Calculating that overall efficiency would increase if the Talz were supplied more food, he increased their food allotment. Profits did improve, and the Talz returned his generosity by saving his life when he almost fell down the mines. However, six months later, his reforms were reversed by a new colonel. When a Talz headman asked for a return to the additional rations, the colonel ordered his village destroyed. Despite Thanas's refusal, the village was destroyed, and Thanas was shipped off to Bakura for his impertinence.
Despite their best efforts to keep Alzoc III isolated from the galaxy, the Imperials were not entirely successful. The criminal Zann Consortium became aware of the planet and attempted to extort the Imperial Food Commissioner there, in order to gain access to the planet's profits. A number of Talz also escaped the planet, finding refuge in fringe communities such as the Artists' High Commune on Mrlssi, on frontier worlds such as Feriae Junction and Tandankin, or by taking advantage of Imperial-free zones such as The Wheel casino and Void Station. Not all the escaped Talz chose to lay low, some chosing instead to fight the Galactic Empire. One joined the Rebel Alliance as a fighter pilot in 3 ABY, while another sought to bring rebellion to his home world. He managed to convince a group of adventurers to return with him to Alzoc III and lead a revolt. Those he recruited had to contend not only with the Imperial presence, but also with Talz collaborators; some of the natives chose to work with the Imperials in keeping their species under control, in exchange for special favors. Gar, in particular, resisted the adventurers attempts at insurgency. While this attempted revolution was ultimately unsuccessful, the Talz finally got their freedom shortly after the Battle of Endor; due to the massive defeat there, Imperial leaders consolidated their forces throughout the galaxy, withdrawing them from many Outer Rim holdings, including Alzoc III.
It was not until 7 ABY that the New Republic Senate discovered mention of the planet in secret corporate files. Rediscovering the planet, the New Republic introduced the Talz to many other species. Mining continued on the planet under New Republic supervision, with the Talz taking ownership of the mines. They began to develop a system of trade with offworlders, although they interacted with their trading partners guardedly. Talz leaving their world was still rare during this period, although some did so. Some of these travelers were captured by the Imperial warlord Zsinj for use in his experiments. His scientists pumped the beings full of chemicals in order to stimulate their rage centers. One such individual was released by Castin Donn and killed a number of his tormentors before being killed himself.
In 12 ABY, the planet was visited by the Eye of Palpatine, an Imperial battlemoon, which had been dormant for 30 years. Originally commissioned by Emperor Palpatine in order to destroy a Jedi enclave on Belsavis, the battlemoon had been disabled by the Jedi Knight Callista Ming before it could be activated. When it was restarted by the dark Jedi Irek Ismaren, it carried out its programming written years earlier, which included clandestinely gathering an aggregate of two stormtrooper companies from a number of Outer Rim worlds where they had been stationed decades earlier. Unable to find the long absent stormtroopers, the Eye of Palpatine took whatever bipeds it could find. As such, when it stopped at Alzoc III, it took a number of Talz aboard, attempting to indoctrinate them as stormtroopers. The battlemoon was prevented from completing its mission by the Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and two of his trainees, who had also been conscripted by the starship while stranded on Pzob. Skywalker managed to evacuate all the inhabitants off the starship, with aid from the Talz, before one of his companions self-destructed it. Skywalker later ensured the Talz were returned to Alzoc III.
The ice planet was again visited by Imperial-aligned forces when the Empire Reborn, a splinter movement, established a small outpost there. The movement was led by former Procurator of Justice, Lord Hethrir, who while in office had overseen extensive slaving operations throughout the galaxy. It is possible that it was in this capacity that he established a presence on the ice planet. Rumors of the Imperial activities there reached Mon Mothma, head of the New Republic Intelligence Service. She hired the mercenaries Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors to investigate; posing as cargo haulers delivering goods in their starship, the Raven's Claw, Katarn infiltrated the base from within one of the cargo containers. However, the Imperial forces became aware of his activity, and took Ors captive; she had landed the Raven's Claw in another hangar bay to wait for Kyle. Despite the outpost being defended by stormtroopers, probe droids, and lightsaber wielding members of the Reborn (warriors artificially imbued with The Force), Katarn, a former Jedi himself, was able to rescue Ors and escape the base. It is likely it was later destroyed by a proper New Republic force.
As Alzoc III became more established in the galaxy, new opportunities opened up for the Talz. One youngling went on to train at the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4 among such Jedi luminaries as Jaina Solo and Lowbacca. Aj Koenes would train as a water specialist, later working for the Senate Select Committee for Refugees (SELCORE) in terraforming Duro during the Yuuzhan Vong War. Talz also traveled to worlds such as Phaeda, Vaynai, and Lok.
The sole sentient species of Alzoc III was the Talz, tall fur covered bipeds. Averaging 2 meters in height, the species was very strong, and this, combined with the large claws on their hands, made them appear fierce to other species. The Talz were well adapted to their planet, with a thick covering of white and gray fur to insulate them from the cold. Their most distinctive feature was the four eyes on their head. This too, was an adaptation to their planet. The smaller pair was used during the day when sunlight reflected intensely off the snowfields. The larger pair was reserved for the deep darkness of night, when the moonless sky supplied virtually no light. A small proboscis extended from underneath their eyes.
Despite their fearsome appearance, the Talz were peaceful individuals. Their irenic nature made them particularly pliable to Imperial control. Acting counter to their nature caused high levels of stress, often resulting in psychosomatic illnesses. Talz society revolved around extensive family and extended family ties, which ensured resources were redistributed to ensure the wider good. They spoke the language Talzzi, and when later introduced to galactic society could understand Basic, but were unable to speak it due to the shape of their proboscis. This inability could be overcome by the use of vocabulators or protocol droids.
The Galactic Empire established huge mines on Alzoc III in order to extract the vast virgin ore deposits on the planet. The open pits bored deeply through the red rocky soil of Alzoc III, cutting into its crust. These mines were equipped with mechanical conveyors to carry out the ore, but the Talz slave miners that worked there never emerged from the pits. They were worked until they were injured or died, a frequent occurrence as the mines had no medical care or safety precautions. In order to replace deceased or incapacitated miners, the Imperials periodically pushed young Talz over the edge of the pits. Their thick fur was considered enough to limit the damage sustained from such falls. The mines were abandoned by the Imperials when they retreated from the planet.
The Empire Reborn outpost was a broad multi-storied structure with a number of outlying towers around a small circular landing pad. In addition to this, it also contained at least two other interior hangar bays. It was protected by a large deflector shield generator housed within a three story tall circular chamber. The outpost was manned by a number of Imperial officers and stormtroopers, as well as Viper probe droids. At least one member of the Reborn was stationed there when Kyle Katarn infiltrated the outpost.
The Talz first appeared in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope but were not given a homeworld until Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races, published by West End Games (June 1989). The planet subsequently appeared in a number of other reference books, including the Essential Guides and Wizards of the Coast products. The planet itself was first visited in the demo of Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (later included in the Nintendo GameCube and Xbox full versions of the game as an unlockable level), and was again visited in the video game Star Wars: Empire at War, its expansion Forces of Corruption and the video game Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes. However, the Star Wars: Empire at War mission involves the Empire defeating a large Rebel fleet at the planet, with the option of destroying the planet with the Death Star. Accordingly, elements of this mission are non-canon as they conflict with existing continuity. The Alzoc III mission in Forces of Corruption is an optional side quest in the Zann Consortium campaign.
As alluded to earlier in the Description section, in Play It Again, Figrin D'An: The Tale of Muftak and Kabe (August 1995), from an early age the orphan Muftak experienced vivid dreams of his homeworld as a lush jungle world. His friend Momaw Nadon, an Ithorian botanist, assured him these were "[r]acial memories, no doubt, to guide you when you emerge from your cocoon." These dreams did not fit with the established terrain in Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races. This difference was later retconned by Daniel Wallace in The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons, where it was stated that Muftak "imagined" the terrain of the planet, and that "no one had the knowledge to correct him." The extent of the misconception that went uncorrected is not clear. It could be that the memories corresponded to an earlier time in the evolution of the Talz, and are no longer accurate. Alternatively, Muftak may have seen these plants outdoors. It is known that some ice planets had different ecosystems within underground grottoes, such as Hoth (seen here), and so the dreams could have been misinterpreted in this manner. The most recent orbital depiction of Alzoc III from the New Essential Guide to Alien Species (October 2006) shows large swaths of green on the planet, also suggesting the planet may not be uniformly frozen.