Star Wars: The High Republic has finally revealed the power and importance of a pivotal device that almost secured the Empire's victory in the Galactic Civil War (aka the "Age of Rebellion" in the New Star Wars timeline). That artifact is none other than the "Path Engine," a device that affects hyperspace travel. The Path Engine was introduced in the current arc of Marvel's Doctor Aphra (vol. 2) comic series - in a story arc that's fittingly titled "Book II: The Engine Job". In the Age of Rebellion, the Path Engine is touted as a device that can turn the tide of the Galactic Civil War - but in Star Wars: The High Republic - Light of the Jedi, we find out why...
Spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic - Light of the Jedi Follow!
Star Wars: The High Republic is set 200+ years before the Age of Rebellion, at a time when the Jedi Order is arguably at its strongest, supporting a flourishing Republic. The focus of The High Republic's first arc is the Jedi opening the Starlight Beacon station in the Outer Rim Territories - a milestone event that's interrupted by a major disaster in hyperspace, that threatens the entire region. While various Jedi factions jump into action to protect and save innocents, they aren't quite prepared for a new enemy to strike in the middle of calamity: The Nihil, one of the new villains of the Star Wars Universe.
The Nihil are an entire society of space marauders, who live by a pirate's code: respect strength, and plunder all you can. However, the new High Republic novel Light of the Jedi reveals that the Nihil have at least one piece of technology more advanced than what most people expect from mere pirates. When The Nihil and The "Eye" of The Nihil, Marchion Ro, unleashes a Nihil fleet of ships against a squadron of Jedi in their Vector ships, and then activates the Path Engine in the heat of battle.
The Path Engine allows Nihil ships to make short-burst hyperspace jumps, allowing them to appear and disappear in a flash during battle. The resulting chaos results in one Jedi Master being killed in the battle with the Nihil ships. As it stands now, the Nihil and their Pathe Engine tech are one of the biggest threats to the Jedi of The High Republic. Not at all hard to see why the Path Engine would have given The Empire and Palpatine the needed edge to annihilate the universe - if not for Doctor Aphra, of course.
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