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550 Kph (atmosphere)
- "The Basilisk war droid is the epitome of weapon technology. State of the art weaponry, armor, and maneuverability."
The Basilisk war droid resembled a mechanical cross between a Zalorian rock-lion and a Karran beetle, standing on its six legs, two clawed, powerful front legs, and four smaller hind legs—at a height that varied from 2.98 meters upward to five meters, depending upon the model. The Basilisk's droid brain gave it a, animal-like self-awareness of a semi-sentient degree, and though they could operate independently, the war droids most often took the role of loyal mounts to direction-giving riders, and had to be powered up or shut down externally in a process that took seconds. Basilisk droids formed powerful empathetic relationships with their riders, and were known to howl as if in pain when their rider was killed.
The bodies of Basilisk droids were heavily armored and often colored in shades of green, though others were known to display hues of gray, or red with gold. The Mandalorian riders, who controlled the beast-like droids from armored saddles atop the Basilisks, were known to garnish their mounts with an assortment of their personal weaponry strapped to the droid's body, including axes, swords, and flashpistols. The war droid's open combat models were, themselves, armed with a powerful array of artillery: pulse-wave cannons and auto-firing laser cannons, shatter-missile launchers, and concussion missile launchers with a four-missile payload that could all be found on or under the armored plates of Basilisks. At the droid's nose resided the Basilisk's primary weapon, a cluster of shockwave generator rods that together could form a burst of plasma capable of ripping through the hulls of starships. Even the droid's heavy claws that adorned it's two front legs, used mostly as landing struts or for walking on the ground, could be used for brawling, crushing obstacles, or tearing open the body of an opponent. Basilisk droids often carried a pair of deployable space mines, and war droids could also tow volatile atomic compression bombs between them, catapulting the nuclear bomb into an enemy ship or space station.
Mandalorian tinkering eventually spawned countless customized variants of the Basilisk, such as the two-seated bomber, which accommodated both a pilot and gunner, while the designated stealth configuration bore lighter armament and supplementary engines. Later models departed dramatically from the original droid's design, incorporating closed cockpits and larger S-foils, virtually eliminating the droid's animalistic appearance in favor of a form more similar to that of a starship.
Method of operation
Basilisk droids could operate effectively on the ground, in the air, or in the vacuum of space, and sensor clusters located at the fore and aft of the war droid allowed the Basilisk to detect threats from all directions. On the ground, Basilisk droids were typically slow and lumbering, but could move at faster speeds when required. In aerial combat, the Basilisk's rear armored wing plates typically tucked against their bodies while at rest would lift up to expose a set of high-boost engines that allowed the Basilisk droid to fly at high speed. However, while the war droid could reach great speeds, especially during bombing runs, it was slow to turn, weighted down by its heavy armor, and without stabilizer fins, a Basilisk in flight was hard to control.
- "In 4,017 BBY, Crusaders appeared in the Core Worlds, waging war against the inhabitants of Basilisk. Overrun, the Basiliskans seeded their own world with toxins to deny it to the Crusaders who abandoned it but took numerous Lagartoz War Dragons, Basilisk warships, and war droids for their own use."
- ―Vilnau Teupt
The Basilisk war droids were first created by the Basiliskan race, a technologically minded reptilian people from the Core World planet Basilisk. In 4,017 BBY, the Mandalorian Crusaders under the command of Mandalore the Indomitable launched an assault on Basilisk. The Basiliskans were overwhelmed by the Mandalorian Taung warriors, but rather than allow the invaders to claim their world, the arrogant Basiliskans poisoned their own planet in order to deny it to the Crusaders. Their actions succeeded in ensuring the Mandalorians abandoned the toxic world, but not before looting countless Basilisk war droids, along with numerous Basiliskan warships and Lagartoz War Dragons.
- "Time was when Mando'ade rode war droids into deep space, no fancy hulls, raw vacuum that far from your shebs. That's how we won an empire."
- ―Ram Zerimar
With the Basilisk war droids under their command, the Mandalorian Crusaders conquered Kuar, and raided the borders of Krath space near the Empress Teta system. There, the Mandalorians came into conflict with the fallen Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma: Qel-Droma and Mandalore the Indomitable agreed to a challenge of single combat to take place on Kuar. Amidst the duel, Mandalore the Indomitable mounted his Basilisk war droid in combat against Qel-Droma, only to be defeated and forced on his honor to swear loyalty to the recently anointed Sith Lord. In service to Qel-Droma and his Sith Master, Exar Kun, the Mandalorians under Indomitable rode their Basilisk war droids into battle in an attack on Foerost that allowed them to claim the fleet of vessels being constructed at the planet's shipyards. Shortly thereafter, the Mandalorian Crusaders' Basilisk riders were part of Qel-Droma's assault on the galactic capital world of Coruscant. Though the Mandalorians were ordered to retreat following the false declaration of Qel-Droma's death, they struck at Onderon atop their Basilisk droids, intent to conquer the world for Qel-Droma when they learned he had indeed survived. During the fighting at Onderon, however, a Galactic Republic frigate opened fire on Mandalore the Indomitable's war droid, leaving the Mandalorian leader to crash on Onderon's moon, Dxun, where he perished at the hands of the indigenous beasts. Upon finding the ceremonial Mask of Mandalore, Mandalore the Indomitable was replaced by a new warrior as the Mandalorian leader. Although the Great Sith War ended soon after, the new Mandalore had his own plans for the Mandalorians and their Basilisk droids.
The Mandalorian Wars
- "The doors opened in front of me and the air was sucked out of the drop bay, scattering crystals of frozen vapor across my path. I can't describe what it feels like to look directly down at a world, falling continuously as you circle it, with barely fifteen centimeters of armor plate protecting you. When the magnetic locks disengaged on my droid I plunged out of the drop bay towards the battle that waited below."
- ―Canderous Ordo speaking to Revan
Mandalore the Ultimate set out to challenge the Republic and conquer the known Galaxy in what became known as the Mandalorian Wars. Mandalorian warriors astride Basilisk droid mounts assaulted Althir, and devastated Cathar, massacaring the Cathar populace, before moving on to conquer Flashpoint. At the battle at Vanquo, Basilisk droids took part in the orbital fighting, with one droid latching onto a Republic Aurek-class tactical strikefighter and tearing the canopy from the vessel with its claws. By this point in time, the Mandalorians had established a number of Basilisk war droid variants, and a large number of the droids took part in the Mandalorian Invasion of Taris, with many patrolling the skies of Taris during the Neo-Crusader occupation.
War droids fought alongside the Mandalorians again at Onderon and Dxun, while several Basilisks and their riders fell victim to the Rakghoul outbreak on Jebble. At Essien, at least a dozen Basilisk droids were part of the Neo-Crusader forces intent on taking the planet. During the fighting, the war droid flown by Ko Sornell was shot down, though she and her son Gheedor were saved from the Republic Army by the pacifistic Jedi Zayne Carrick. A squadron of Basilisk droids were carried aboard the Kandosii-type dreadnaught Parjai, headed for the planet Dantooine when the Mandalorian Knights targeted the Jedi Enclave there. At Duro, the Neo-Crusaders struck with numerous Basilisk droids, raining them down on the orbiting cities in a manner similar to meteors, and war droids fought under Cassus Fett at Jaga's Cluster.
End of an era
The Mandalorian Wars came to an end with the Battle of Malachor V, where Mandalore the Ultimate was killed by the Jedi Knight Revan, and the Mandalorian fleet was devastated over Malachor V by the superweapon known as the Mass Shadow Generator. In victory, Revan commanded that the Mandalorians disarm, and even destroy their Basilisk droids. However, not all obeyed the terms Revan set down, and kept their war droids in secret, the Mandalorians of Clan Ordo and Clan Jendri were two such groups who refused to give up their loyal mounts. While searching for the Mask of Mandalore, which was taken and hidden by Revan following his defeat of Mandalore the Ultimate, several clans including Jendri and Ordo traveled to the Outer Rim world of Rekkiad, bringing their Basilisks with them. The Basilisk droids belonging to Clan Ordo assisted in transporting heavy cargo across the frozen, ice-covered surface of Rekkiad, before being forced into a skirmish with the Basilisk riders of Clan Jendri, when Ordo's members crossed into the territory Clan Jendri had established. However, Jendri possessed only four war droids in comparison to Ordo's six, and the battle turned in Clan Ordo's favor as the members of Clan Jendri retreated with their Basilisks. Clan Ordo succeeded in recovering Mandalore's Mask from Rekkiad, and Canderous Ordo went on to become Mandalore the Preserver.
Fate of a legend
By the time of the Great Galactic War, Basilisk war droids were all but extinct. Now only a handful remain, some are still maintained by the odd Mandalorian, but most are deactivated and are kept in private collections. While a couple are behind transparisteel cabnets in museums. The disappearance of the Basilisk, while it is a tragedy, has truly made the Galaxy a safer place.