Low Concept

Starkiller Base: The Contractor Memos

Building a system-destroying, sun-draining superweapon is a big project.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
“It’s going to cost how much?”

© 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved.

To: Ralph Xizor, Xizor Construction Systems
From: Colonel Humpty Hux, First Order
23 Vaderuary IY48

Mr. Xizor,

Congratulations! Your proposal to construct Starkiller Base for the First Order has been selected from a group of very competitive bids. The committee and Supreme Leader were pleased with your assurances of cost-consciousness, as well as your clever maximization of closet space within the living quarters.

One thing I noticed, though – while your designs fulfill our request for a superweapon capable of destroying multiple planets within a single system, your schematics include an easily-accessible, centralized reactor core. As you’ll recall, that particular design flaw has been a real Achilles’ heel for previous superweapons, and we’d hate to see a third Imperial base destroyed thanks to a lucky shot from some resistance pilot. I’m sure you understand how embarrassing that would be! So I’d ask that you submit new designs that eliminate this feature.

Thank you, additionally, for the shipment of Gamorreans that arrived just prior to the selection. Spit-roasted, they were much appreciated by everyone on the committee, though of course that did not affect our contractor decision in any way.

All best, hail Supreme Leader,
Colonel Hux

* * *

To: Ralph Xizor, Xizor Construction Systems
From: High Colonel Humpty Hux, First Order
4 Palpatineber IY49

Mr. Xizor,

While of course everyone here in the First Order wishes we were further along in construction, we understand that designing a base capable of draining a star’s energy in 20 minutes is a Herculean task. The new plans look very nice; I’m especially pleased you’ve incorporated landscaping into the area around the cannon’s mouth, though of course those 4,000-year-old evergreens will be obliterated the first time we fire the weapon. Nonetheless, it’s that kind of attention to detail that led us to pick your firm.

I think we’re ready to sign off, but for one sticking point: While I’m glad we’re no longer powered by a weak reactor core capable of being destroyed by a single proton torpedo, I question whether we actually need ship-sized access to the base’s interior at all? Of course we plan to park our Star Destroyers on the planet’s surface, so the multiple tunnels you’ve designed into the base, all twice the width of an X-wing fighter, seem both unnecessary and dangerous. I think we can scotch that aspect of the plans and then move forward.

Sincerely and hail Supreme Leader,
High Colonel Hux

 * * *

To: Ralph Xizor, Xizor Construction Systems
From: Brigadier Humpty Hux, First Order
15 Dookuary IY50


Thank you for your congratulations on my promotion and for the lovely gift basket. It was a most orderly arrangement of muja fruit, and I will enjoy juicing them to make a sauce for my space waffles.

My underlings tell me you are upset about our veto of your exterior design for the aboveground command center. I made your case to Supreme Leader that the proposed concentric red and white circles on the roof represent the radiation of Dark Side power from the center (Supreme Leader) outward to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, but he noted that from above the design looks like a bull’s eye. I must admit he’s correct. Let’s please do paint it over – perhaps just basic black?

Best wishes, all hail Supreme Leader,

* * *

To: Ralph Xizor, Xizor Construction Systems
From: Major General Hux, First Order
7 Sithtember IY51

Mr. Xizor,

I apologize for my outburst on the comm screen this morning. I’m under a lot of pressure these days, and to be perfectly frank, your cost overruns and delays are not helping my standing with Supreme Leader. I’ve been promoted again, but that’s mostly because the previous Major General was Force-choked by Kylo Ren. So you’ll understand that your news that Starkiller Base will not be finished until IY53 was unwelcome to be sure.

One source of the delays, of course, is your addition of design elements that seem to ignore the hard realities of securing a superweapon in wartime. Once again I find myself requesting the elimination of features that might put our young, nameless stormtroopers at risk. First of all, a sarlacc pit is not an appropriate use of space in the recreation building; just in the past week FG-2781, LD-2101, and Second Lieutenant Blux have fallen in. Please relocate the sarlacc; those soldiers can find a new definition of pain and suffering as they’re digested for a thousand years somewhere else.

Furthermore, the “ventilation shaft” you’ve built on the planet’s dark side is an absurd security risk. It is six kilometers in diameter and runs all the way into the planet’s core. This is an ice planet; it does not need further ventilation. Literally an entire fleet could fly into that shaft and blow the planet up from the inside. That’s unacceptable. Fill it with cement.

Finally, I simply don’t understand why none of the doors have locks. Please install locks on all the doors.

Hail Supreme Leader,
Major General Hux

* * *

To: Ralph Xizor, Xizor Construction Systems
From: Major General Hux, First Order
14 Sithtember IY51

It has come to my attention that there are self-destruct buttons in every room of the base. Please remove them immediately. At most there should be one self-destruct button, in the command center, and I’m not convinced even that is necessary.


* * *

To: Ralph Xizor, Xizor Construction Systems
From: Lieutenant General Hux, First Order
7 Maulch IY52

Look, Xizor, I’ll be blunt. This construction has taken a lot out of me. I have thousands of abducted children to train into stormtroopers, and yet I find myself spending valuable time putting out fires four years after you were awarded the bid. (Sometimes actual fires; why are your carpenter droids equipped with flamethrowers again?)

But we’re stuck with each other. So I’d like you to step up and take responsibility for getting this station online by the promised IY53 date. Supreme Leader will not be pleased if there are further delays, and while I admit it would give me a certain grim satisfaction to see you and everyone at Xizor Construction ripped to pieces with a single wave of Supreme Leader’s powerful hand, I know that could slow the process down even further.

So let’s solve this final issue once and for all. I understand that every planet-sized base needs an oscillator. Otherwise, how will we oscillate? In a perfect world, the oscillator wouldn’t be a weak spot whose destruction could cause the implosion of the entire planet. But I don’t live in a perfect world, Xizor. I live on an unnamed ice planet in the Unknown Regions, a frigid and barren waste without even a racquetball court. (I distinctly recall requesting an officers’ racquetball court. What the hell happened there?)

I also understand that it’s too late to put the oscillator underground, where it could be protected from attack. So we’re stuck with it where it is. But I think we can both agree that there is no need for the oscillator to feature, on its roof, a warning sign in letters 200 meters high, reading DANGER: DAMAGE TO OSCILLATOR COULD CAUSE ENTIRE PLANET TO IMPLODE in all eleven primary galactic languages. So let’s eliminate that and call it a day, shall we?

All hail, etc.,

* * *

To: Ralph Xizor, Xizor Construction Systems
From: General Hux, First Order
23 Empirenuary IY53

Mr. Xizor,

Happy Empire Day to you and yours at Xizor Construction.

It’s been a long, hard road, but we made it! We’re cutting the ribbon on Starkiller Base next week and I hope you’ll be here to celebrate with us. There will be canapés, blue milk, and a jizz band. Also, we’re planning the utter destruction of the Hosnian System, including the worthless Senate and its dithering members. Should be quite a day!

I’ll also be saying a few words, of course, and after all we’ve been through it would be nice to be able to introduce you to everyone, especially Kylo Ren, and thank you for all your hard work.

Let us know when you’ll arrive and we’ll deactivate the shields for you. By the way, your design of the shields to bar only objects traveling at sub-light speed was very smart; that design tweak saved us thousands, not to mention a full day of construction. As you noted: What kind of moof milker is going to approach a planet at light speed? No one, that’s who.

See you next week, I hope, and hail Supreme Leader,
General Hux