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Manaan was an aquatic planet in the Pyrshak system. It was home to the Selkath, an amphibious species. The planet was completely covered in water and was the only known source of the medicinal substance kolto in the galaxy. Controlled by the Rakata during pre-Republic history, it became independent following the collapse of their Infinite Empire. In the years leading up to and during the Jedi Civil War, kolto was so important to the galaxy that the Selkath were able to use their monopoly to enforce their policy of neutrality and autonomy. The only above-surface settlement on Manaan was the floating Ahto City. During the Jedi Civil War, both the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic attempted to get an upper hand in the war by creating secret deals that would give them more kolto. Ultimately, however, the Selkath banned the Sith from Manaan for trying to overthrow the government.
When kolto was replaced in favor of bacta, the Republic abandoned Manaan, and the Selkath left Ahto City for their ancient cities in the depths of the planet's oceans. Manaan did not have further contact with the galaxy until the Selkath were enslaved by the Galactic Empire sometime during the Galactic Civil War. Under the manipulation of Darth Vader, the Order of Shasa later overthrew their Imperial masters, only to become servants to Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. It also later became a flashpoint during the Yuuzhan Vong War.
Manaan was the second of three planets that orbited the star Pyrshak. Located in the Inner Rim portion of "the Slice," it had no moons, and the entire surface of the planet was covered with water. Ahto City served as the capital of the planet, and was the only surface city and spaceport. Since it was the only settlement accessible to offworlders, the only method of transit to the true surface of the planet was through a submersible from Ahto City.
Canyons and rifts lined the ocean floor. At least one of the major rifts, the Hrakert Rift, had deposits of kolto, which was harvested as it drifted to the surface. The Hrakert Rift was also home to a giant firaxan shark known as the Progenitor and other, smaller sharks. Deep undersea caverns also served as homes to the native aquatic species, and the sentient Selkath built their cities, deep-sea pods, far beneath the surface. Much of the underwater area of Manaan was uncharted and unknown, even to the native Selkath.
Thousands of years before the creation of the Galactic Republic, Manaan was invaded and conquered by the expanding Infinite Empire. The native Selkath were among the numerous species enslaved by the Rakata, and their language was among several spoken by an ancient droid that Revan encountered many millennia later. Some Selkath slaves were sent off-world to places such as Dantooine and Lehon. As slaves, they were used to construct large structures across the Rakatan empire, including temples and the Star Forge. When their empire began to collapse, however, the Rakata abandoned Manaan. By the Jedi Civil War, the only known evidence the Rakata left behind on the planet was an incomplete Star Map in the Hrakert Rift on the ocean floor.
Jedi civil warEdit
Manaan was rediscovered by the broader galactic community by the beginning of the Great Manifest Period, which began in 20,000 BBY. By the time of the Jedi Civil War, Manaan had established itself as one of the most important planets in the galaxy. As the sole provider of kolto, Manaan's resources were in high demand. In order to serve the needs of non-Selkath visitors, the Selkath built Ahto City, which was so large that it could be seen from orbit. Since kolto was in high demand during the war—due to its powerful healing properties—Manaan's entire economy revolved around its exportation. During the years prior to the Mandalorian Wars, Manaan's main client was the Galactic Republic, though Manaan itself was not a member of the Republic. Instead, Manaan adopted a state of neutrality. As the Jedi Civil War began, the Selkath established a series of laws to preserve their neutrality, sovereignty, and protection. Both the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire had to abide by these laws, or risk full kolto sanctions. If any faction decided to invade the planet, the Selkath threatened to destroy the kolto supply.
Despite the laws, both the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic were constantly looking for ways to gain the advantage. A few of the Selkath recognized the potential consequences of a Sith victory and made a secret deal with the Republic, allowing them to build their own kolto harvesting base on the ocean floor. Unfortunately, the location chosen for the station was the Hrakert Rift, and the Progenitor was not pleased by the invasion of her territory. Through what was described as a telepathic scream, she drove the Selkath in the base and the firaxan sharks outside the base insane, and they attacked and killed nearly all of the Republic personnel. The operation was a disaster, and for some time the Republic Embassy did not know what had happened.
When Revan arrived in Ahto City in search of the ancient Star Map, he was asked by Roland Wann to investigate the facility. In his exploration of the station Revan discovered that the kolto harvesters were what had disturbed the giant firaxa. He needed to get past the Progenitor if he planned to uncover the Star Map, so he weighed his options. He decided to destroy the harvesters, rather than risk tainting the kolto by trying to poison the creature. This plan worked and the Progenitor swam aside, allowing Revan to pass. The Republic lost its harvesters, but the kolto supply was safe and the Selkath commended Revan for his actions.
As the Jedi Civil War ended, Ahto City opened up to the galactic movement to give refuge to those displaced by the war. With sporadic wars and conflict, the Selkath established the Order of Shasa, a Force-sensitive cult, to protect them from invasion. The Order of Shasa continued to exist even through the Galactic Civil War.
In the years after the Jedi Civil War, Manaan continued to extract kolto, but the supply mysteriously started to decline. As a result, the price of kolto sky-rocketed and the galaxy abandoned kolto in favor of a new healing agent: bacta. The new competition forced the Selkath to lower their prices, resulting in the collapse of the Manaan economy. This disrupted interstellar relationships and commerce. The decline of the kolto market meant the Selkath were forced to work much harder to re-establish themselves in the galactic arena. The Selkath attempted to join the Galactic Republic at this time, but corruption and complex interests barred the aquatic world from entering the interstellar union.
During the Great Galactic War, the Selkath attempted to maintain their neutrality as a supplier of kolto to all who would buy. But the reconstituted Sith Empire refused to accept their neutral stance, and destroyed Manaan's surface cities. The Selkath fled beneath the oceans in a mass exodus from the surface. Later when war reemerged, the Selkath built the Mercantile Plaza, their first surface city and kolto distribution center since the bombardment. The Selkath once again extended their offer of neutrality and gave both the Sith Empire and The Republic a kolto trade agreement and a presence on Manaan.
Despite their claim to neutrality, Manaan was a key planet in the later Republic-aligned Rift Alliance, with Shuuru as its representative. Originally separatist, Manaan, along with the rest of the Rift Alliance, was brought to be Republic supporting status by the Jedi Master known as the Barsen'thor, though its trading with the Sith Empire continued. At some point later, Ahto City was rebuilt as a surface city once more, with a specific mercantile district where both Republic and Imperial dignitaries can access. Due to the advanced medical technology and secrecy, Manaan became one of the key staging points for the Revanites, as Colonel Rian Darok, Sith Lord Darth Arkous and the Selkath Gorima performed experiments to build an "Infinite Army" using Rakata technology. This work was done in an underwater facility, which was later destroyed by Arkous and Darok.
Ahto City was eventually abandoned by the Selkath some time after the New Sith Wars, and they returned to their underwater cities beneath the surface. Due to Manaan's isolation, the Selkath began to grow primitive, warring as rival factions.
Nevertheless, kolto continued to be exported from Manaan. It would continue to be used even through the years of the Galactic Civil War, though it was considered less effective than bacta, but offered a cheaper alternative.
Galactic empire and beyondEdit
When the Galactic Empire was formed, Emperor Palpatine understood Manaan's potential, and sent an assault force to conquer the planet. The force consisted of thousands of aquatic assault stormtroopers and two Star Destroyers. Many Selkath were frightened by the Imperial force and surrendered. Just to be on the "safe" side, the Imperial forces released a huge deposit of orbital depth charges, which destroyed numerous undersea cities, forcing the Selkath to the surface. Once in Ahto City, the Empire enslaved the Selkath, and crushed any resistance.
The Empire built a huge luxury resort in Ahto City, and the Selkath were made to serve the rich Human guests. The kolto was exploited by the Empire, and by the time the Empire withdrew, most of the kolto had been taken by the Imperial Army. Industrial pollution also tainted Manaan's blue skies and clear waters. Finally, the Order of Shasa could not hide any longer. The Order was secretly manipulated by Darth Vader, and under his guidance overthrew the Empire's forces. In return for his help, Vader commanded the Shasans to swear loyalty to him and Palpatine. Vader also instructed several Selkath in the ways of the dark side of the Force.
By around 25 ABY, the population of Manaan had swelled to over 100 billion beings, although the area of space around the planet was only scarcely populated. Yet ultimately, Manaan became another flashpoint in a galactic war. As the Yuuzhan Vong War erupted across the galaxy, Manaan fell under siege. During the conflict between the invading Yuuzhan Vong and the New Republic, both the Yuuzhan Vong and the Ailon Nova Guard attacked the planet.