The Battle of Naboo
Last revised: 2000.07.27
Objective: Maintain control of Naboo. In order to accomplish this goal, it is necessary to prevent the Viceroy's capture by eliminating any attackers encroaching on Theed.
Several hundred Gungan warriors, armed with energy spheres.
Two Jedi knights.
Several dozen Naboo palace guards.
The mighty Jar-Jar Binks.
One squadron of Naboo starfighters.
One bad-ass Sith Lord.
One TradeFed battleship in orbit (two miles wide, torus configuration, converted from a freighter).
Hundreds of battle droids, including infantry, officers, and droidekas.
Dozens of repulsorlift tanks.
The Trade Federation committed numerous grievous errors during this battle, such as:
Removing the entire blockade, leaving only a single droid control ship. This meant that they couldn't shunt control to another control ship after the first ship was destroyed.
Not evacuating the palace at the onset of the battle. If the Viceroy had immediately boarded a starship, he could have escaped.
Not issuing "shoot to kill" orders to the battle droids guarding the palace. If the battle droids had simply killed Amidala and her guards instead of capturing them and bringing them to the throne room, the Viceroy would never have been captured.
As a result of TradeFed incompetence (which was not surprising, given that they were businessmen with no military training), the entire battle came down to a ridiculous shootout inside the throne room.
In the bowels of Theed's subterranean power plant, Darth Maul terminated Qui-Gon Jinn easily. He was then killed in turn by a lucky move on the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi. This battle seems to have no effect on the overall outcome, but if Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon hadn't fought Darth Maul, he would have torn through the Naboo like wildfires through New Mexico, quickly ending their bid to capture the Viceroy.
In space, Anakin Skywalker was able to enter the ship at a fortuitous moment when its shields dropped to launch more fighters, and he destroyed it from within by damaging the main reactor.
Outside Theed, the skirmish went predictably, with the battle droids swiftly overpowering the Gungans before being rendered inert by the destruction of the droid control ship. The shutdown of the droid army seems of little importance once the Viceroy is captured, but a fully functional droid army could have stormed the palace in an effort to retake the Viceroy.
The battle was a disaster for the Trade Federation, mostly because of a series of astoundingly bad decisions.
Could the Federation have succeeded where the Trade Federation failed?
First, we must define their assets. They would have no Sith Lord, or battle droids, or repulsorlift tanks, so we would replace Darth Maul with a Federation commando, and we would replace the droid army with Federation ground troops. The droid control ship would be replaced by an orbiting starship.
Since the Naboo and Gungan attackers had almost no resources, it is doubtful that they would have sensor jamming equipment or anything else which could interfere with transporters. As a result, unless the huge subterranean power plant created too much interference, an orbiting starship could have simply transported the Viceroy into orbit, thus eliminating the possibility of his capture.
At this point, Amidala's only option would be to hope that her royal starfighters would be able to disable a Federation starship. Their weapons were useless against the TradeFed battleship's shields, and although a comparatively miniscule Federation ship would probably have weaker shields, it would still most likely be able to deal with a handful of starfighters, particularly starfighters that were designed for air shows rather than military action.
Naturally, it goes without saying that a Federation commando would be easily killed by a pair of Jedi Knights.
Some Trekkies whine that I should use Data instead of a Federation commando, even though I never use Sith Lords or any other special characters when the Empire is the visiting team. I'm inclined to ignore them, but they're quite insistent, so I would like to point out that it would make no difference in this case. Data's reflexes and speed may be superhuman, but Jedi reflexes and speed are supernatural. We've never seen Data run as quickly as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan did inside the TradeFed battleship, or jump fifty feet up into the air as Obi-Wan did inside the Theed power plant. We've seen him drop down fifty feet, but it's easier to go down than up. As for Data's reflexes, they may be fast, but even the fastest reflexes in the universe won't let him see things before they happen, the way a Jedi can. And of course, on top of his deficiencies in strength, speed, and reflexes, he would have to deal with telekinesis, the final nail in his coffin. The Jedi control non-living matter more easily than human beings so they could probably manipulate him like a puppet, much as Armus once did.
Flip side: how would the Federation fare in place of the Naboo?
First, we must define their assets. Instead of two Jedi Knights, they would have a pair of Federation commandoes, and instead of Naboo starfighters they would presumably have runabouts or Peregrine fighters. Instead of a heavy landspeeder-mounted blaster, they would have to make do with a mortar. In general, they would be limited to minimal resources, just as the Naboo were. The palace attack would consist of a handful of soldiers, just as the original attack did.
Without a starship or any heavy equipment, they would presumably be limited to small hand weapons, just as the Naboo were.
It goes without saying that Darth Maul would easily slaughter any two (or twenty) commandoes in the Federation, regardless of who they are. At this point, he would be free to butcher the rest of the attack squad, thus ending their hopes of capturing the Viceroy.
Maul didn't show up until after the starfighters had already left the hangar, so they would still be able to attack the droid control ship. However, it is doubtful that a squadron of Federation fighters would have any more success against a TradeFed battleship than the original Naboo fighters did. Moreover, it doesn't matter either way because the Viceroy would be able to simply call for another droid army (hence Amidala's desire to capture him in the original battle).
Conclusions: The Federation's transporter technology, coupled with minimal resources on the part of the Naboo, would have probably given them an easy victory in place of the Trade Federation (although it should be noted that the Trade Federation also should have won easily, but for the Viceroy's stupidity). However, a small squad of Federation infantrymen would have been slaughtered by Darth Maul if they attempted to duplicate the Naboo attack on the palace. I would give the Federation 1 for 2 in this battle.
Ted Collins, Jonathan Boyd, E1701 and others for bringing the Trekkie "You should have used Data!" whine to my attention.